Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy 2021

Sráid na Cathrach, Co. an Chláir  3ú Iúil - 11ú Iúil.

The 49th Willie Clancy Summer School, Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare, Ireland. Saturday 3rd July to Sunday 11th July, 2021.

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.

Organising Committee

Harry Hughes (Administrator)

086 877 3747

Eamon McGivney

tel. 065 708 7417 or 087 950 0006

Séamus Ó Rócháin

tel. 087 926 4256

Deirdre Comber


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.

John Dwyer and Paddy Jones tributes

Two renowned masters of fiddle playing have died recently, John Dwyer and Paddy Jones. You can read the tributes to John here and to Paddy here.

Paddy Jones

John Dwyer

Coronavirus Notice from Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy

Due the outbreak of the pandemic, taking into account the necessary restrictions in place at the time and the advice of the HSE, it was decided, regretfully, that the summer school programme would not run in 2020. The planned 2020 programme will remain on this site and it is intended to form the basis of the 2021 summer school programme.





Virtual Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy 2020


After having to cancel the normal programme due to Covid-19 restrictions, the 48th annual Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy materialised virtually from the 6th to the 10th July. The 2020 school was confined to online tuition and did not have the normal complementary menu of recitals, lectures, concerts and céilithe for which SSWC is noted.


However,  the online tuition was complemented by an impressive display of online archival material comprising highlights of past recitals  from Willie Clancy Weeks over the past four decades. Audiences were introduced to, and reacquainted with, personalities, events and places from past summer schools.  The exercise proved to be an enlightening experience for younger people and a nostalgic trip for older attendees. This ambitious project was curated by the Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA).


The ITMA Project for SSWC 2020

Coinciding with the week of the virtual school ITMA relayed the concerts and lectures recorded by them of the 2019 summer school. You can see these and the recitals highlights on ITMA's YouTube page. It has also  produced a Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy Tribute/Retrospective Documentary which will stream on the same page on the 18th July. This features a broad spectrum of voices on the role of SSWC in Irish traditional culture. And on 17th July viewers will have an opportunity to see highlights from  Duchas an Cheoil/The Scope of Irish Music  Course which has been an integral component of SSWC since 1986.


In effect, SSWC has a comprehensive online presence in 2020 because the ITMA material came on stream in mid June and continues until late July.


SSWC acknowledges the enthusiasm, dedication and expertise with which the Director and Staff of ITMA delved into their vast archive and selected appropriate video and audio clips to produce an informative and entertaining series of highlights from past summer schools and a reflective tribute to the school and its ethos. They did a first-class job in a tight time frame.


Thanks to Liam O’ Connor, Director ITMA and staff: Grace Toland, Maeve Gebruers, Alan Woods, Brian Doyle, Iarfhlaith Ó Domhnaill, Treasa Harkin, Róisín Conlon and Eileen Doyle. And thanks also to those who were commissioned by ITMA to do the remote filming and preparation of material for parts of this project: Liam O’ Brien, Gerry Hegarty, Sean O’ Malley and Maitiú Ó Casaide.


Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy—The 2020 Administrative Team

The 48th summer school was possible because of the dedication and expertise of our tutors and IT team. The administrative staff rose to the challenge and effectively accomplished the tasks on hand.

The school normally has a large administrative /stewarding staff but in these Covid-stricken times we operated with a smaller staff centred around IT expertise.  David McDermott established and directed  the IT infrastructure which made SSWC 2020 possible and Aideen Comber managed the virtual office.  Tony Kearns and Teresa Morrissey kept the information flow on websites and social media, and Marion Brody managed Garda Vetting.  The Moderating Team of Teresa Morrissey, Helen Malone,  Annmarie Meaney, Róisín O’Sullivan, Lorraine O’ Loughlin, Tara Comber and  Paul McGrattan  were on stand-by to monitor classes and assist tutors and students.  These people enabled a focused learning in a virtual environment.


The 2020 Tutorial Team

The tutorial team came to the Zoom teaching as enthusiastically as if they were in the usual  classrooms. They adapted to the new realities. The number of students who took part in the online classes and workshops was in excess of one thousand - a similar number, in fact, to that attending the summer schools of recent years - and the staff and tutors worked hard to ensure that every student was well catered for. Responses from students and parents indicate a high level of satisfaction with  tutors and teaching methodologies, and general comments from the traditional music community suggest that SSWC online was a successful experiment. Many thanks to all the tutors who took part in the online tuition programme.


Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy and Na Píobairí Uilleann

SSWC and NPU have cooperated in promoting uilleann piping since 1974. NPU curates the piping classes at the summer school and this year they organised the classes online. NPU staff Fionntan Byrne, Anne-Marie Bell and Clara Gruenfeld monitored the classes, and Archivist Emmett Gill produced the series of NPU photos and videos from the summer school.

The NPU tutors were:

Mikie Smyth, Caoimhín Ó Fearghail, Mickey Dunne, Mick O’Brien, Louise Mulcahy, Gay McKeon, Seán McKeon, Jim Wenham, Brian McNamara, Nollaig Mac Carthaigh, Benedict Koehler.

Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy and RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta

The committee wish to thank the management and staff of Raidió na Gaeltachta for their excellent help and support leading up to and during the running of the on line Summer School in 2020. The notice was short but yet so much research and background work was done to make it all such a huge success under the circumstances.

There has been a lengthy relationship between Raidió na Gaeltachta and SSWC since the school’s beginnings in 1973, a relationship which is highly valued by all.


Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy online events

Following the cancellation of the 48th Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy (SSWC), plans were announced by The Irish Traditional Music Archive / Taisce Cheol Dúchais Éireann (ITMA)  for a programme of online events to commemorate the school around the time that the summer school would have been held.


ITMA and SSWC were very proud to work together to fill the void, by making the richness of the ITMA Field Recording Archive available to all. Three distinct projects were shared online:


10 programmes of selected highlights from SSWC Recitals.

A 'live' stream of the 2019 SSWC Recitals, Concerts, Tribute event and Lectures.

A reflective tribute to Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy.


Firstly, ITMA staff were busy curating a series of 10 programmes of selected highlights from recordings made at the instrumental, song and dance recitals over the years.


Secondly, from 4th  to 12th July 2020 ITMA streamed online all the official events recorded by ITMA at SSWC in 2019. These were scheduled daily to mirror the actual Summer School programme as it happened last year. For example, on Monday, 6 July, the Harp Recital was streamed from 5 pm. This was followed by the Fiddle Recital at 8 pm.


Thirdly, ITMA has curated an online tribute reflecting on the Summer School’s history, ethos, development and hopes for the future. This programme will be made available online from 18 July 2020. In addition to highlighted audio-visual material from past summer schools, it will feature the work of photographer Tony Kearns who has been documenting events at SSWC since the early 1990s. The aim is to capture a variety of perspectives from the traditional arts community, and to reflect on and articulate what makes Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy so special to so many people. More information is available from ITMA here.


These three strands are available on ITMA's YouTube page


Raidió na Gaeltachta began recording the first year and has created an invaluable audio archive and it is planned that they will share selected highlights as part of the programme of online events.

Peter Mackey

The accomplished fiddle player, who died  in 2019, was a tutor at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy for over forty years and influenced a generation of fiddle players who benefited from his precise instructions, enthusiasm for the music, and patient coaching. You can read an appreciation of the man and his music here.

Photo: Tony Kearns

Ben Lennon and Brendan McGlinchey

In recent times two renowned masters of fiddle playing, Ben Lennon and Brendan McGlinchey, have died. You can read the Summer School's tribute to Ben here and to Brendan here.

Ben Lennon

Brendan McGlinchey

Comhghairdeas/Congratulations to all 2020 TG4 Gradam Ceoil winners.

The links with Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy are significant in that two of the recipients are long-time tutors at the summer school: Laoise Kelly, Ceoltóir na Bliana/Musician of the Year, and Josephine Marsh, Gradam an Chumadóra/Composer Award.  Lillis Ó Laoire,  Amhránaí na Bliana/ Singer of the Year,  has often performed and lectured at the school, and Sharon Howley, Ceoltóir Óg/ Young Musician of the Year, performs with the Kilfenora Céilí Band at the Marquee céilithe every year.


 Séamus Connolly is properly recognised in the Gradam Saoil /Lifetime Achievement Award, as is Ned Kelly in obtaining the Gradam Comaoine/Outstanding Contribution Award.


Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy joins in the tributes to these outstanding artists who have made - and are making - important contributions to the traditional music and song heritage.

Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy congratulates NPU

Congratulations to Na Píobairí Uilleann on having Uilleann Piping listed on UNESCO’S Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Since its foundation in 1968 Na Píobairí Uilleann has been promoting  the study and practice of this versatile instrument.  There are now uilleann pipers worldwide and  the  distinctive sound of the uilleann pipes is intrinsically part of Irish cultural  identity.


Congratulations also to the National Folklore Collection at University College Dublin where the Irish Folklore Commission’s collection of 1935-1970 has been inscribed into the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in recognition of its outstanding universal value to culture. The 1935-1970 collection forms the core of the National Folklore Collection, an Institute recognised as one of Europe’s largest archives of oral tradition and cultural history.

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.

Go to the Galleries Pages to see more images from the past four decades of Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy.


© Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy 2020   Logo photo: Éamon McGivney