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Lectures, Seminars and Tribute
Venue: Community Centre for all events.

Dé Sathairn 6ú Iúil - Saturday 6th July

8.00 pm - Oscailt Oifigiúil/Official Opening by Peter Browne, renowned uilleann pipes player and former RTÉ presenter and producer.


8.30 pm - Breandán Breathnach Memorial Lecture: Uilleann pipers and piping in Clare and Dublin 1930 - 1973. 

Presented by Gay McKeon, CEO, and Emmett Gill, Archivist, Na Píobairí Uilleann.

Dé Luain 8ú Iúil - Monday 8th July

3.00 pm - Lecture: An exploration of  the social and artistic context of Irish traditional music in early 20th century New York City.

Presented by Chelsey Zimmerman, researcher in Irish traditional music studies.

Dé Máirt 9ú Iúil - Tuesday 9th July 3.00 pm

A Tribute to The Tulla Céilí Band. More details to be announced in due course.

Dé Céadaoin 10ú Iúil - Wednesday 10th July


3.00 pm - Lecture: Ireland and Quebec: Connections and intersections through traditional music.

Presented by Professor Kate Bevan-Baker.

Gay McKeon

Déardaoin 11ú Iúil - Thursday 11th July 2.30 pm

Lecture: "With the banjo on my side": The life and times of Margaret Barry.

Presented by Alan Woods, Artistic Liaison Officer, Irish Traditional Music Archive.

Dé Sathairn 13ú Iúil - Saturday 13th July 2.30 pm

Music and Song from Miltown: Sound recordings of the 1960s.

Presented by Peter Shepheard & Jimmy Hutchison, Scottish traditional singers, collectors and festival organisers.

Lecture information

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Summer School opening by Peter Browne

Renowned  uilleann piper Peter Browne will open the 52nd Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy on Saturday 6th July, 2024 at 8pm.

Peter Browne is an uilleann piper who worked in RTÉ Radio as a presenter and producer, mainly in traditional music programmes, and for the past number of years has taught slow airs at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy. In his early years, his family spent summer holidays in Miltown Malbay and they were good friends with Willie Clancy who was good enough at the time to pass on piping tunes and tips to Peter. He was a big influence on Peter's piping.

Breandán Breathnach Memorial Lecture 

Uilleann pipers and piping in Clare and Dublin 1930 - 1973

Gay McKeon and Emmett Gill

Gay McKeon took an interest in uilleann piping in the 1960s under the tutelage of Leo Rowsome at the Piper’s Club on Thomas Street in Dublin’s city centre.


Since the mid 1970’s Gay has toured and recorded extensively including contributions to piping compilation albums The Piper’s Rock and The Ace and Deuce of Piping Vol. 2. He published  two solo albums, Irish Piping Tradition  (1997), The Turning of the Geese (2019), and a trio CD, The Dusty Miller, with his sons Conor and Seán (2005). Whilst living in London in the mid-1970s Gay recorded Music from West Clare and Galway, with Bobby Casey, Raymond Roland, John Roe, and Liam Farrell.  


He has taught piping for over 50 years at both The Pipers’ Club in Thomas Street and Na Píobairí Uilleann, and has established piping classes at many locations throughout Ireland. In addition to teaching at schools and festivals in Ireland and internationally, Gay has performed on three volumes of the acclaimed tutor series The Art of Uilleann Piping. He has also devised, produced and directed publications including The Pipers Choice and Traveller Piper DVD series and numerous CD recordings, including three volumes of recordings of young emerging pipers. Gay has spearheaded many educational projects: the establishment of the NPU PipeCraft pipemaking training centre, the filming of leading uilleann pipemakers, forging partnerships with Music Generation, Child Vision and many other organisations to establish outreach tuition programmes. Gay worked with Joe Doyle to ensure that Music for the Irish Pipes and Pipers Choice Music Collection were published.


As CEO of Na Píobairí Uilleann, Gay has worked to achieve a major expansion of the NPU Pipes on Loan and Scholarship Schemes, the funding for and restoration of 15 Henrietta Street, and securing UNESCO recognition for uilleann piping. He established a regular series of performances and lectures including Session with the Pipers, Notes and Narratives, Ceol sa Chlub and International Uilleann Piping Day. He has produced traditional music concerts including Piperlink, the annual Ace and Deuce of Piping and the Sound of Ireland concerts.  He also played a leading role in securing funding for Na Píobairí Uilleann’s Sound of Ireland Centre. Prior to becoming CEO of NPU Gay worked on a voluntary basis with the organisation, serving as a board member and as an officer in roles including Treasurer and Chairman.


Emmett Gill began piping in the 1980s at the London Pipers’ Club in Camden Town with teachers Billy Browne and John Murphy. He has regularly taught for Na Píobairí Uilleann and has worked full-time for the organisation since 2013. Emmett has made two CDs, The Mountain Groves (2007) and The Rookery (2012), a duet with fiddle player Jesse Smith,  and also appeared on Volume 2 of the Piper's Choice series. In 2006, Emmett established the ‘Oldtime Records’ label with Gerry Clarke. The label has to date released eight CDs of historic recordings of Irish music, including ground-breaking projects focused on women in Irish music and on accordion player Peter Conlon. He has co-produced many publications for Na Píobairí Uilleann including  Mná na bPíob Vol.1 and Tom Ennis: The Master Pipers Vol.5. Emmett is a regular piping tutor at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy and has performed and taught at piping events in Ireland, Europe and the Americas.

For fifty years Na Píobairí Uilleann and Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy have worked together to successfully promote uilleann piping. The origins of this long-running partnership can be traced right back to the 1930s. This talk will look at a number of musicians from Clare and Dublin who through their shared interest and enthusiasm for Irish music revitalised interest in uilleann piping.

This lecture will be presented on Saturday 6th July at 8.30 pm.

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Emmett Gill

Gay McKeon

An Exploration of  the Social and Artistic Context  of Irish Traditional Music in  early 20th century New York City

Chelsey Zimmerman


Chelsey Zimmerman is a United States-based educator, flutist, and doctoral scholar at the University of Limerick. Initially classically-trained, her interest in Irish traditional music began when she met Irish musicians while living in Florida. After starting to play Irish traditional music, she decided to take playing and studying the music more seriously. In 2019, Chelsey moved to Ireland and completed a Master of Arts in Irish Music Studies at the University of Limerick. She later began her PhD research through the same institution, which explores the engagement of early 20th century Irish traditional recording artists with the social and historical context of New York City and the impact it had on their music. Chelsey is currently based in Connecticut, where she teaches secondary-level music, lectures in Irish music at Sacred Heart University, and is active member of the Irish music scene in the Northeastern United States.


This talk will discuss the setting of Irish traditional music in early 20th century New York City. The lecture will give an overview of the lives of famous Irish recording artists, such as James Morrison, Michael Coleman, and the Flanagan Brothers, while emphasizing the performance spaces and events in which traditional music was played.  The relocation of Irish music to New York compelled adaptations in its performance practice. It also signified a shift within the cultural and socio-economic status of Irish Americans. Using the work of Irish music scholars and historical documentation in archival newspapers, this lecture will describe the marketing of traditional music in creating a perceptibly Irish, yet distinctly American-influenced, aesthetic within music venues in New York City. It will also consider the cultural significance of Irish music venues in Irish America and outline the types of events at which Irish musicians would have performed outside of the dance hall, such as pub sessions, concerts, and excursions.

This lecture will be presented on Monday 8th July at 3.00 pm.

Tribute to the Tulla Céilí Band

The Tribute will take place on Tuesday 9th July at 3.00pm. Further details to be announced.

Ireland and Quebec: connections and intersections through traditional music

Kate Bevan-Baker

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Born in Newfoundland, Canada, Kate Bevan-Baker is an award-winning fiddler, classical violinist and singer. She has been playing violin since the age of four and thrives on a variety of musical styles from Celtic to jazz and classical. She holds violin performance degrees from Memorial and McGill Universities, a Graduate Certificate in University Teaching, and a PhD specializing in Irish music from Concordia University. Balancing a career as a professional musician and part-time professor at Concordia and McGill Universities, Kate boasts an impressive list of national and international performances, recordings, presentations and lectures. Her performance career has taken her across Canada, Europe, Russia, and China, and she has toured with many ensembles and orchestras. Most recently, Kate was among the recipients of a Prix Opus (Quebec) for the recording and live performance Baratin d’Marins with La Nef (2022), and was nominated for Instrumental Group of the Year at the 2022 Canadian Folk Music Awards (Bùmarang), and is currently nominated for Instrumental Group of the Year at the 2024 Canadian Folk Music Awards with her fiddle duo, Archetype Trad.


This presentation will highlight the folk music traditions of Ireland and Quebec, Canada. Using specific musical examples, this talk will focus on both the similarities and distinct aspects of each musical tradition. Irish immigrants to Canada brought their traditional music, songs and dance with them, and it has had a profound impact on the traditional soundscapes in Canada. Looking at Quebec in particular, Kate will examine what aspects of Irish traditional music have influenced the repertoire that is played and sung in Quebec today. Musical examples from both sides of the Atlantic ocean will be explored, from lilting to instrumental tunes, as well as traditional dance styles. 

This lecture will be presented on Wednesday 10th July at 3.00 pm.

"With the banjo on my side": The life and times of Margaret Barry

Alan Woods

This lecture will be presented by Alan Woods, Artistic Liaison Officer, Irish Traditional Music Archive, on

Thursday 11th July at 2.30 pm. More details to follow in due course.

Music and Song from Miltown: Sound recordings of the 1960s

Peter Shepheard & Jimmy Hutchison

Peter Shepheard is an acknowledged authority on folk song. Originally from Stroud in Gloucestershire, he was a founder member of the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland (TMSA) in the mid 1960s while still a student at the University of St Andrews, studying for a BSc in Zoology. His contacts with the Scottish traveller traditions of the Stewarts of Blairgowrie and Jeannie Robertson’s family in Aberdeen, led to exploration of the traveller tradition and extensive song collecting in Ireland and England as well as Scotland. After graduating he specialised in neurophysiology and animal behaviour, obtaining his PhD from St Andrews in 1969. For the next three years he had research fellowships in Canada, firstly with the Canadian Fisheries Research Board in New Brunswick and then at the University of Guelph before returning to Glasgow University in 1972. His enthusiasm as a singer and collector resulted in the creation of Springthyme Records in 1973 specialising in the release of traditional music and songs.

He is himself a fine singer and melodeon player, with a song repertoire that includes many songs from his own collecting, and he has recorded two albums as part of a trio with Tom Spiers and Arthur Watson. He has presented lectures and workshops - based on his song and music collecting - on ballad repertoire, traditional singing style, song repertoire among the Romany gypsies of Gloucestershire and among the Scottish travelling and farming communities in Fife, Tayside and Aberdeenshire.


Jimmy Hutchison was born at Frobost, on the Isle of South Uist. His mother was from the island, his father from Glasgow. There he lived until the age of ten when the family moved to Perth. He was raised bi-lingual, speaking both Gaelic and English.

He has by trade been a joiner but folk song has been a major influence, learning the songs of great source singers like Jeannie Robertson, Jimmie McBeath and the Stewarts of Blair. He was at the Traditional Music and Song Association’s very first festival in 1966 in Blairgowrie and was the first winner of the Willie Scott Cup for men’s traditional singing when the festival introduced competitions in 1969. Forty seven years later he won the same cup at the 2016 Kirriemuir festival. That same year he appeared in the line up of the 2016 Celtic Connections opening concert, The Carrying Stream, a celebration of fifty years of the TMSA, singing to over two thousand people in a sold out Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

Ten years ago Jimmy decided to revive his interest in weaving and converted his joiner shop into Newburgh Handloom Weavers, reviving the old style of tweed and blanket production, once a huge industry in his native Uist and across Scotland.


Sixty years ago in August 1964 two young folk enthusiasts came from St Andrews in Scotland to the Clare Fleadh in Scarriff. With a small tape recorder in hand they recorded music in the bars, at the song competitions, and traveller singers in the streets. There they met Ciarán Mac Mathúna who enticed them down to Miltown Malbay where they spent many hours – usually in Tom Queally's Bar – recording singers and musicians, including Willie Clancy, Seán Mac Donnacha, Joe Cuneen, Terry Wilson, Seán Keane, Mick Flynn, Tim Lyons and Jimmy Ward, among many others. Pete and Jimmy will talk of those times and play audio clips of some of the singers and musicians they recorded. Their visit to the Fleadh and to Miltown Malbay led them in 1966 to run the first Blairgowrie Traditional Festival in Perthshire, and that led a year later to the forming of the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland (TMSA). Competitions started in Blairgowrie in 1969 and are still held - now in Kirriemuir - and TMSA festivals and events are held throughout Scotland.

This lecture will be presented on Saturday 13th July at 2.30 pm.

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