Dúchas an Cheoil—The Scope Of Irish Music—at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy

Dúchas an Cheoil—The Scope Of Irish Music—at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy

I’ve just arrived back from this year’s Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy. It was lovely to meet up with some of you and play some tunes—always nice to put faces to names!


I really enjoyed myself this year. I hadn’t been in fifteen(!) years, so it was lovely to get back.

Reading through the discussions here, the general consensus is that town gets pretty crazy in the evening, and all the sessions are packed and fast. That’s true, but there was enough to enjoy in the daytime that I didn’t mind that too much. I came across some lovely sessions:

An E-flat fiddle session out the back of Friel’s with Claire Egan was really nice (the tunes were played at a really nice pace).

A sunny afternoon session in the back of Clery’s (the Blondes):

And there were some gems in the evening too, like when the Mooneys took over Hillery’s:

But mostly I spent my evenings at the recitals, which were uniformly excellent: fiddle the first night, flute and whistle the next, piping the night after that, and dancing the next night.

I have to say that some of my favourite sessions were the ones full of kids. Like this young flute player in the Players Club who was in her element:

Or this amazing piper who gave the most wonderful rendition of The Gold Ring while we were having dinner in The Yard:

And this group of youngsters in the Bellbridge were just amazing:

There weren’t any mandolin classes, and while I could’ve probably gone to the banjo classes, I decided to check out the week long series called Dúchas an Cheoil—the Scope of Irish Music, led by Paddy Glackin and Cathal Goan. I was very glad I did—it was excellent!

Over the course of the week, we covered the history of Irish singing, playing, and dancing. There was a real emphasis on listening, and there were some fantastic archival recordings played for us. Best of all, there were guests who joined us almost every day. So we had Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill singing, and the likes of Noel Hill, Cormac de Barra and Pádraic Mac Mathúna playing and chatting. It was really quite something!

They run this every year at Willie Clancy week and I highly recommend checking it out (especially if there aren’t any classes for your particular instrument). It’s thought-provoking and illuminating.

Has anyone else attended Dúchas an Cheoil? I’d love to hear what you thought of it.

And if you were at Willie Clancy week this year, I’d love to hear how you got on.

Re: Dúchas an Cheoil—The Scope Of Irish Music—at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy

Thanks for the pictures; never been, nice to get a sense of it vicariously.

Re: Dúchas an Cheoil—The Scope Of Irish Music—at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy

I met with three friends over the weekend at the Leinster Fleadh who were hanging by the proverbial thread after the week above in Milltown. Nothing but 5-star reports of the craic but “Vegas Rules” limit the stories shared. I’ve never been to Willie Week… but I’m now booked in 2020 through to 2050. See you next year.

Re: Dúchas an Cheoil—The Scope Of Irish Music—at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy

I had the most amazing time , the weather was fabulous and the moon over the bay as we sessioned through the night was an experience not to be missed . Although I live round the corner I actually camped out on the beach and enjoyed swimming in the sea sunbathing and sessions till dawn every night nearly ! I can’t be doing the pub thing of an evening , not my scene at all . Fast I like but the roaring drunks can drown out the tunes ! If you can’t hear the piper or banjo player …. the crowd could tone it down a bit …… so outside. The back of blonds and Michael A s were more my thing . Fresh air and tunes with old friends and new . It’s always such a delight meeting random people , so gentle . See you next year
Great to meet you Jeremy after all these years here. Cheers

Re: Dúchas an Cheoil—The Scope Of Irish Music—at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy

Great to meet you too, Will!

And yes, the evenings were definitely on the wild side. Apart from going to the evening recitals, I didn’t stick around much in town—I was staying out in Spanish Point (mind you, it was pretty crazy in the Armada and the Bellbridge of an evening too).

Re: Dúchas an Cheoil—The Scope Of Irish Music—at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy

For some reason there was a lack of street sessions , back in the day , when the sun shined , there would be several sessions up and down the street , better for the parents with kids , and creates a good vibe . Perhaps it’s because there were so many little kids busking!! I saw the sweetest thing , three little ones and I mean seriously small , not much bigger than a 4 or 5 I’d say or younger , playing fiddles together on the street . Lovely and some of those other bigger kids busking were playing really well , the next generation is assured !!
Didn’t get to do half the things I’d have liked to !! was a full week , only one of me . 🙂

Re: Dúchas an Cheoil—The Scope Of Irish Music—at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy

I didn’t attend Dúchas an Cheoil but did get to the fiddle recital - an amazing range of styles and tunes. This year was my fourth time attending Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy and it only gets better each year. I attend the fiddle classes and always take away something new, whether it’s new (to me) tunes or techniques. The one thing guaranteed is that I’ll make new friends and meet some old ones! I had two memorable sessions, the first in Tom Malones with some members of this site, (lovely to meet you all) and the second in the back yard of Clery’s. Sometimes it all just comes together and the result is magic. I never cease to be amazed that total strangers from different parts of the world can just sit down together and bond through music.
I tend to go to the afternoon sessions and leave town by about 8pm, as it gets very crowded and messy by then. Aside from the music, I cycled a lot and swam at Spanish Point - a lovely week all in all.

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