Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy 2020

The 48th Willie Clancy Summer School, Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare, Ireland. Saturday 4th July to Sunday 12th July, 2020.

Sráid na Cathrach, Co. an Chláir  4ú Iúil - 12ú Iúil.

Peter Mackey (1935-2019)


Peter Mackey, a native of Mullaghbawn, Co Armagh, was a primary teacher by profession, an accomplished fiddler, a founding member of the Armagh Pipers Club, and a lifelong promoter of Irish music and culture.


Peter valued the company and experience of older musicians and from the 1950s onwards was a regular visitor to Miltown Malbay and became friends with  Willie Clancy, Martin Talty,  Jimmy Ward,  Junior Crehan and other local musicians.  His knowledge of Clare traditional music developed in these years and it was no surprise that he became one of the first fiddle tutors at the newly established summer school in 1973. He taught at the school for over forty years and influenced a generation of fiddle players who benefited from his precise instructions, enthusiasm for the music, and patient coaching. Many young fiddle players sought his advice outside the classroom and he was always generous in giving his time and sharing knowledge.

Peter Mackey, Central Hotel, July 1994.

Peter Mackey and John Kelly in their fiddle classroom, July 1994.

Over the years he was part of a familiar team of musicians who often played afternoon sessions in Cleary’s and Queally’s on the Ennis Road - pubs no longer functioning, sadly - and later in the evening performed at the Central Hotel. Peter, John Kelly (Senior), his sons, John and James, Joe Ryan, Bobby Casey and Kathleen Smith were the anchor group in many memorable sessions during summer school week. It was in the interludes of the music, when the instruments were rested, that Peter gave full rein to his store of anecdotes and wry sense of humour.


He will be fondly remembered for his music, dedicated teaching, and good company.


Our sympathies to his wife, Patricia, son Conor, and the extended family.


Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Peter Mackey playing for students in the fiddle school, July 2012.

Peter Mackey, July 2010.

All photos: Tony Kearns

© Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy 2020   Website: Tony Kearns