Welcome to the official website of Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy, The Willie Clancy Summer School, a major traditional Irish music, song and dance event held annually in Miltown Malbay, County Clare, Ireland with instrument and dance classes, lectures, workshops, recitals and céilithe all through the week.
Harry Hughes (Administrator) tel. 086 877 3747
Éamon McGivney tel. 065 708 7417 or 087 950 0006
Séamus Ó Rócháin tel. 087 926 4256
Deirdre Comber tel. 087-673 5172
and the coordinators of classes/workshops and venue managers.
The Willie Clancy Summer School is an Irish registered charity.
To read or download the School's Child Welfare and Safeguarding Policy please click here.
SCOIL SAMHRAIDH WILLIE CLANCY 2022 - SSWC@50
The 50th Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy: this significant date was marked by the return of a full summer school to the communities associated with the event: Miltown Malbay, Mullagh, Quilty and Spanish Point.
The Covid crisis necessitated a hiatus of two years during which the summer school functioned virtually via Zoom and other platforms, thereby maintained crucial links with tutors, students and followers. But the real event was what everyone waited for and that was run successfully from 2nd to 10th July 2022.
Please note that all information on this site pertains to the 2022 summer school. We will be updating the site with info for the 2023 summer school from early next year.
Seán Garvey - Artist and Friend (1952-2022)
We sit on a bench in the back room of Islandbridge Rowing Club in West Dublin, in the mid-seventies. Seán Garvey and Phil Callery present a folk club here every Friday night and contribute handsomely with their unaccompanied songs. It has been a successful night and, as we share a pint over relaxed conversation, Seán leans in and in that deep voice of his he talks of what the songs and singing mean to him. And through that hoarse whisper I can see and hear his love for this wonderful art form, reaching back in time and digging deep within himself to produce melody and words that are beautiful, personal, passionate, resonant and unique.
I have known Seán since 1962 when our family moved from Ballinskelligs to Cahersiveen. We shared a primary and secondary education in the CBS, street games in the estates of St. Joseph's Terrace and Marian Place, football and soccer in a green area known as the Avenue and competitive football with St. Mary's Football Club. I listened and admired his singing at the ballad sessions in Billy Murphy's and J P O'Neill's pubs in Cahersiveen and throughout the Iveragh peninsula.
But it was in Dublin that we began to share our love of music and song through meeting regularly and singing in the various pubs and music pubs like O'Donoghue's in Merrion Row, Slattery's in Capel Street, and Club Conradh na Gaeilge in Harcourt Street. In 1979, when Dónal de Barra and I founded Góilín Singers Club, Seán became a regular visitor and contributor on most Thursday nights in Thomas House. His passion for singing, his repertoire of songs in both Irish and English, and his engaging conversation and mischievous sense of humour enthralled us all and always left us wanting more.
Seán Garvey singing at the graveside tribute to Willie Clancy during Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy 2011. Photo: Tony Kearns.
Seán was a multi-instrumentalist and loved to play fiddle, flute and bouzouki in particular. He was an exceptionally skilled guitar soloist and accompanist. His two albums of music and song, Ón dTalamh Amach (Out of the Ground) and The Bonny Bunch of Roses speak for themselves in the high quality of songs and singing, musical accompaniment and background notes on each song. One night at the Mountshannon Arts Festival in East Clare he shared the stage with Martin Hayes, Martin's dad P Joe Hayes, and poet Cathal Ó Searcaigh. Seán was at his best that night and I was glad that Pat Costello and I were able to record the concert for Clare FM Radio. When he came to sing The Bonny Bunch of Roses the room was stillled, his voice capturing every nuance of lyric, melody and meaning. Thankfully it can be heard on the eponymous album. Equally at home in both the Irish and English song tradition, his wonderful rendition of An Bonnán Buí (The Yellow Bittern) is also worthy of special mention.
Seán loved his visits to Clare, and to Miltown Malbay in particular, and in our regular monthly lengthy conversations he always enquired about the musical happenings and personalities of the area. He was a regular visitor to Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy and in more recent years the late Seán Corcoran and he presented afternoon singing workshops to students attending the Summer School. His time here teaching, performing and absorbing the musical spirit of West Clare were some of his most contented moments.
Our paths have continuously crossed for over sixty years, from Cahersiveen to Dublin and from Connemara to Clare. In February each year for Éigse na Brídeoige, in his beloved Iveragh peninsula, his was always my first port of call and we concluded each Éigse sharing alternate verses of The Boys of Barr na Sráide. That presence on stage will be deeply missed this coming year, as will the voice, the smile, and the hand grasped in friendship and in song. But the memories of a dear friend, constant companion and a gifted singer will remain constant.
To his sons Seán Óg and Eoghan, his partner Laoise, and to his family and numerous friends, we extend our deepest sympathies.
Ar dheis Dé go rabh a anam uasal ceolmhar.
Tim Dennehy June 2022
Mick Hand RIP
It is with great sadness that we at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy have learned of the death of an old friend and colleague, Mick Hand. He coordinated the flute classes and presented the whistle and flute recitals at the Summer School for many years, and left us all with fond memories of a genial companion and a great story-teller, with many anecdotes about musicians and events.
He was a talented and versatile musician and tutor; he ensured that students were given every opportunity to realise their full potential as musicians. He worked hard to promote musical standards in the classroom but, out of class, fully enjoyed the relaxed informal sessions with his many friends; he was always a welcome guest at all the sessions of the Willie Clancy Week.
We extend our sympathies to Noreen and all his family.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.
Noreen O'Donoghue, Mick Hand and Seán Potts onstage during Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy 2007. Photo: Tony Kearns.
Premiere of Ómós Ceoil - 50 Bliain Faoi Bhláth
Composed by Louise Mulcahy
The internationally renowned uilleann piper and flute player Louise Mulcahy has composed a piece of music to celebrate the 50th annual Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy. Louise is an accomplished performer and tutor who has participated at many national and international festivals and events and is a flute tutor at the Willie Clancy Summer School. She comes from a noted traditional music family and regularly plays with her father, Mick, and sister, Michelle. She is currently researching the history of women in uilleann piping in the 20th century. Her research work and musical accomplishments have been widely recognised and she is the recipient of prestigious awards, such as the Arts Council Markievicz Award in 2021, named in honour of Constance Markievicz, and the Liam O’Flynn Award, sponsored by the Arts Council and the National Concert Hall, in 2022.
Louise has been coming to the Willie Clancy week since she was a child and considers the school a formative influence on her musical development.
“It is a real honour to have been commissioned by Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy to compose a new work to celebrate the 50th summer school. The new body of work ‘Ómós Ceoil – 50 Bliain Faoi Bhláth’, commemorates the outstanding contribution Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy has made to Irish traditional music since its inception in 1973. It celebrates the immensely positive influence of the school on the development of Irish traditional music, song and dance. The new work commemorates the legacy of the master uilleann piper, Willie Clancy, and the founding members: Muiris Ó Rócháin, Martin Talty, Séamus Mac Mathúna, Paddy Joe McMahon and Junior Crehan. The music honours the hugely important work of the Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy committee who work so tirelessly each year to deliver an exceptional programme of musical events. The new work celebrates the ethos of the school and the joy it brings so many people from all around the world each year.
Throughout the years, I have very special memories attending Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy with my family. The summer school has been a hugely important part of my life from a very early age. I have been inspired on multiple levels by the musicians and people I have met. I feel so fortunate to be part of the summer school each year. Like so many other people the first week of July is a very special part of my musical calendar.”
The newly commissioned work will premiere at the Community Centre in Miltown Malbay on Sunday night, July 3rd, as part of the opening concert.
A NEW PARTNERSHIP WITH CRUIT ÉIREANN / HARP IRELAND
Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy and Cruit Éireann│Harp Ireland are pleased to announce that we have established a partnership to support the rapidly developing interest in Irish harping at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy.
Cruit Éireann│Harp Ireland will be awarding a scholarship for Irish harpers to the summer school harp workshops, which have been a feature of the annual Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy since 2007 and are led by Kathleen Loughnane and supported by a line-up of renowned harper tutors.
“The harp recitals at the summer school have become a major attraction for the general public and are now considered one of the highlights of the week’s programme of events while the number of students participating has grown steadily since we began in 2007”said Harry Hughes, Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy Director. “This initiative to incentivise attendance by Irish harpers and to acknowledge the very positive work being done by both organisations is timely and we are delighted to be part of it”.
Cruit Éireann│Harp Ireland and Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy are delighted to announce that the winners of the first ever Scholarships for young harpers are Aoife Connolly from Limerick and Ciarán McKenna from Tyrone. Congratulations to Aoife and Ciarán.
"Irish harping is now firmly integrated in the Irish traditional music world and recognised and celebrated internationally because of the excellence of its harpers and its UNESCO status. We welcome this opportunity" said Aibhlín McCrann, Chair Cruit Éireann│Harp Ireland. "The collaboration between Cruit Éireann│Harp Ireland and Scoil Samhraidh Wille Clancy will ensure that harp studies and practice will remain central to the Irish traditional music heritage so effectively reflected by Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy, and it will operate to our mutual benefit" she added.
Cruit Éireann│Harp Ireland, the harp tutors, guest performers, and the organisers of Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy, are very much encouraged by the enthusiasm, commitment, and progress indicated by harpers participating at the summer school since 2007.
Further information from
COMHGHAIRDEAS/CONGRATULATIONS GRADAM CEOIL AWARDS WINNERS 2022
Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy congratulates all of the 2022 TG4 Gradam Ceoil Award Winners:
Paddy Glackin, Connie O’Connell, Sarah Ghriallais, Dolores Keane, Edwina Guckian, Diarmuid Ó Meachair, and the group Skara Brae. These prestigious awards deservedly recognise the enormous contributions these people have made to traditional Irish music, song and dance.
Many of the recipients have strong associations with Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy as tutors and performers. Fiddle player Paddy Glackin has been involved with the summer school for many years as co-presenter - with Cathal Goan - of Dúchas an Cheoil, the Scope of Irish Music, which provides a week-long immersion course in the history and evolution of the Irish traditional music heritage.
Connie O’ Connell, renowned fiddler, composer, and tutor in the Music Department, University College Cork, has mentored a generation of young aspiring fiddlers at the school, and Diarmuid Ó Meachair has recently joined the accordion tutors panel and inspires students with his unique skills and enthusiasm. Traditional singer Maighréad Ní Dhomhnaill, a founder member of the influential group Skara Brae, is also a regular and long-time performer at summer school events.
The winners are excellent ambassadors for the traditional musical heritage and Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy is delighted to share in the public recognition of their achievements.
Tributes to Larry Lynch, Joe Burke and Tony MacMahon, all of whom died in 2021, can be read here.
For a list of the Summer School's sponsors and benefactors please visit the About page.
The University of Limerick’s BLAS International Summer School of Irish Traditional Music has joined forces with Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy to promote deeper understanding and appreciation of Irish Traditional music. Click here for more information.
Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy have had a long association with the Irish Traditional Music Archive whose ITMA Field Recording team are in attendance every year to record all official events for the archive.