The Schoolmaster’s House

By Mike McHale

Five comments

McHale on flute and tin whistle; Mary Coogan (of Cherish the Ladies fame) on guitar. The name of the album refers both to the occupation of McHale’s father, one of his strongest influences growing up, and to his current status as a teacher of the music.

Mike is from Tulsk, Co. Roscommon. He won the Senior All-Ireland Tin Whistle competition and Connaught Flute Championship in 1958. He was also a founding member of the Killina Ceili Band and stayed with them until he moved to the US in 1959. He was inducted into the Traditional Irish Music HOF in 2000. He now currently resides in upstate NY, and very notably is one of the most beloved and popular teachers at the Catskills Irish Arts Week. Mike is full of energy, and seeing him smiling and bouncing with the music is one of the fondest images I have of my experience this past summer in the Catskills.

As far as the album is concerned, it’s honestly not something I probably would have truly appreciated when I first started playing Irish music. In other words, there’s nothing flashy about the playing or the recording. It’s just really really good Irish music played by two wonderful musicians. It’s also one of those recordings that is fairly easy to learn from. Tunes are played at a nice pace, and there is no modern synth or anything like that to mask the tunes. The music is simply there, and for that I can now really appreciate this album.

Thanks to Jason

I for one am grateful that Jason submitted this album. I have hoped to find a recording of Mike McHale for several years now since I sat and listened to him playing at the Shamrock House Ceili in East Durham. He has a wonderful style that is not just laid back but full of energy and dynamics missing from many new(old) players (I include myself here). I couldn’t make it to the festival this year but plan to be there next year, in his class.WB

Copies of the Schoolmaster’s House - Mike McHale, Catskills

Copies of Mike’s CD can be obtained from www.ossianusa.com - well worth buying, but then I’m a tad biased!!

The schoolmasters house

I notice the reference to Mc Glynns and Killina and Tulsk Co Roscommon.

By any chance are these linked to the old schoolmasters house in Killina on the Tulsk to Boyle
road and situated just beyond St Catherines Church as i know that a ceili band used to practice
in the old schoolhouse, Any information would be appreciated.

denisvallely@gmail.com