Place of migration
Migrated to/Born in UK

Image from the People's Museum of Limerick

Catherine Hayes was born in 1818 on Limerick's Patrick Street. She grew up in a single parent household after her father left when she was 5 years old. She was the daughter of the musician Arthur Williamson Hayes. In spite of not being raised by the man, Catherine would go on to follow in his footsteps by pursuing a career in music. 

Catherine Hayes

A picture of Catherine Hayes, an Irish opera singer. Downloaded from

Patrick Street, Limerick

A picture of Patrick Street, Limerick, Ireland. Downloaded from

By the age of 20 it was clear that Catherine was gifted with a beautiful singing voice. She began her vocal training at this time with the encouragement and financial aid of the Limerick Church of Ireland Bishop Knox. A year later she was sent to Dublin to train under the Italian composer and conductor, Antonio Sapio. While in Dublin she performed at fundraising concerts for the Rotunda hospital. The next phase of her training took her to Paris where she stayed from 1842 to 1843. She then finally completed her musical training in Milan. 

Limerick Church

A picture of Limerick Church. Downloaded from

Rotunda Hospital

A picture of Rotunda Hospital, located in Dublin, Ireland. Downloaded from

Catherine's talents took her to many new and exciting locations. After her training in Paris and Milan she went on to perform in London, Boston, Washington DC, The Hawaiian Islands, Sydney, Calcutta, and Tasmania to name but a few. In 1849 she gave a private concert to Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace. She regularly returned home to Ireland and even performed in her native Limerick city. Though her extraordinary talents took her all over the world, she never wavered in her love for her homeland. She was known for her hauntingly beautiful renditions of classic Irish ballads. 

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria's portrait, Queen of England. Downloaded from

Buckingham Palace

A picture of Buckingham Palace in London, England. Downloaded from

Catherine's extraordinary journey from poverty to stardom came to an end in 1861 when she passed away in London at the age of 42. 



Additional Information
Date of Birth 1st Jan 1818 VIEW SOURCE
Date of Death 11th Aug 1861 VIEW SOURCE


Biography Ireland VIEW SOURCE
The People's Museum of Limerick Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Irish Times Article Ireland VIEW SOURCE

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