Born in Caherconlish in County Limerick on the west coast of Ireland, Nóirín began to take singing lessons at the tender age of seven and studied music at University College Cork with her speciality being religious music. Although also known as a sean-nós singer and writer, her spiritual songs have been a spark of inspiration for so many. Sinéad O’Connor, who collaborated with Nóirín in 2004 said, “Nóirín is my biggest influence and heroine in music,” something that people consider Nóirín to be in their own lives; Ní Riain has, so gently, helped thousands through her music and gentle encouragement of life.
As a young girl, Nóirín used to visit Glenstal Abbey on a regular basis, singing and listening to the Gregorian Chant of the monks, something that she herself is now renowned for. Ní Riain has performed at many events that other spiritual musicians can only dream of, including 1989′s International Peace Gathering in Costa Rica, introducing His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama. She went on to perform for His Holiness a third and fourth time upon his visit to Ireland in 2011, a feat known by only a handful of living artists.
Nóirín has been a great force in music since the day she released her début album, ‘Seinn Aililiú’ in 1978 under the famous Gael Linn label. Some of her early recordings have recently been remastered, one of the essentials being ‘Caoineadh na Maighdine’, or ‘The Virgin’s Lament’. The first time one listens to such an album, they are guaranteed to produce a tear – the conviction in Nóirín’s voice so unique and so clear.
A theologian, musicologist and recording artist, who was awarded the first doctorate in theology from the University of Limerick, Ireland, she has written several books including her autobiography:Listen With the Ear of the Heart and Theosony: A Theology of Listening.
She has presented workshops all over the world and her work is very much in tune with performance in the ritual space. Furthermore, she, along with her family, offers marvellous transformative pilgrimages to her places of sanctuary in Ireland each summer.
Nóirín, in July 2017, was ordained an Inter-Faith minister in London and now has embarked upon a new role of spiritual counsellor and celebrant of rituals, blessings and sacred ceremonies. With her two gifted sons, with whom she has recorded 3 albums, Nóirín weaves a magic spell of transformation and transfiguration around all who choose to and are priviledged to attend.