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

The lectures, seminars and tribute listed below refer to the 2024 Summer School. We will update this list for the 2025 Summer School in early 2025.

Dé Sathairn 6ú Iúil - Saturday 6th July

8.00 pm - Oscailt Oifigiúil/Official Opening by Peter Browne, renowned uilleann piper 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, musician and doctoral researcher in Irish traditional music at the University of Limerick.

2.30 pm to 4 pm - Irish roots to Appalachian branches’, a talk / workshop exploring the cultural connections between Irish traditional music and its Appalachian off-shoots, presented by Scuffletown members Marc Carraway (guitar, slide guitar and vocals) and John Whitlow (harmonica, flute and accordion) along with Matty Metcalfe.

Venue: Mill Marquee, GAA Grounds.

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

A Tribute to The Tulla Céilí Band. The famous Clare Céilí Band performed at the first summer school in 1973 and since then has been a major attraction on the school's céilithe programmes. We celebrate this long association with an afternoon of music, song and dance.

Presented by Paula Carroll, broadcaster, oral historian and presenter of Clare FM's traditional music programme The West Wind. 

3 pm at the Community Centre. 

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.

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 & Field Recording Officer, Irish Traditional Music Archive. This lecture will feature contribution from the award winning singer/songwriter Lisa O'Neill

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

Music and Song in Miltown: Sound recordings from 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 8.30pm.

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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 3.00pm.

‘Irish roots to Appalachian branches’

The Scuffletown Trio


From Virginia to Nashville to Ireland, Scuffletown members Marc Carraway (guitar, slide guitar and vocals) and John Whitlow (harmonica, flute and accordion) have been entertaining audiences for the past 25 years. Well- known for their range of musical approaches, Scuffletown shows include traditional and original music which cuts across jazz, blues, bluegrass, Americana and world music lines, all with a special Scuffletown twist.


The popular duo will be joined by local Virginian and long-time Scuffletown partner, Matty Metcalfe, whose credentials as an artist have led to national and international tours and stages such as The Grand Old Opry, the Irish Embassy in Washington DC and The Kennedy Center.  


Scuffletown is honoured to perform at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy and they will have released an EP by then which features ‘When the Sun Shines in Galway’, a tribute to the magic and wonder they discovered during their previous tour of Ireland.

The Trio are scheduled for two performances at the school.On the afternoon of Monday the 8th of July, from 2.30pm until 4pm, they will present a talk/workshop entitled  ‘Irish roots to Appalachian branches’, exploring the cultural connections between Irish traditional music and its Appalachian off-shoots, and on the afternoon of Tuesday the 9th they will perform in the international concert from 5.30pm. Both events take place at the Mill Marquee.

Tribute to the Tulla Céilí Band

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Photo: John Kelly / The Clare Champion

On Tuesday 9th July Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy will pay tribute to the renowned Tulla Céilí Band. The band played at the first summer school in 1973 and since then has been a major attraction on the school’s céilithe programmes. And we are now delighted to mark this long-time association with an afternoon of music, song and dance and a reunion of the people and families who were so much a part of the Tulla Céilí band’s contribution to Irish traditional music and social history.  The  programme  for this special afternoon will be presented by Paula Carroll of Clare FM.


East Clare has always  had a vibrant musical tradition and the first attempt to harness local talent into céilí band format  came with the formation of  the Ballinahinch Céilí Band in 1944/45. In 1946 they regrouped as the Tulla Ceilí Band and that year won the Féile Luimnigh competition, a triumph they repeated in 1947 and 1948. This set them on the road  to Fleadh competitions at county, provincial and national levels, and All-Ireland titles in the 1950s and early 1960s, where their main rival was the North Clare Kilfenora Céilí Band.


The Tulla’s recording catalogue is impressive, spanning the 1950s to 2016, and including 78s, L.P.s, cassette tapes and CDs. They recorded for radio, made TV appearances, and toured extensively in Ireland, the UK and USA, playing at major social and cultural functions.


The Tulla's  association with Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy is not confined to playing for céilithe. Many members have been tutors at the school at various  times over the decades. Francie Donnellan, P.Joe Hayes, Paddy Canny, Seán Reid, Peadar O‘Loughlin and Martin Hayes have contributed hugely to the summer school’s  tuition programme. The band is still a major attraction at the céilithe, bringing enthusiastic set dancers to the Mill Marquee on Tuesday and Thursday nights of the Willie Clancy Week. And they are still in friendly competition with their old rivals, the Kilfenora, who have the Monday and Wednesday night slots at the Marquee.

Paula Carroll is a traditional music broadcaster and oral historian. She is a presenter of The West Wind, the traditional music strand on Clare FM, and has also made several other award-winning music series for the station. She is project manager and collector for Cuimhneamh an Chláir, the county-wide oral history project. She is also a curator of traditional music events, especially at Glór Arts Centre in Ennis.

The Tribute will take place on Tuesday 9th July at 3.00pm.

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 3.00pm.

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

Alan Woods

Alan Woods is a singer from Co. Leitrim. He works for the Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA), in Dublin. In his role as ITMA's Artist Liaison & Field Recording Officer, Alan regularly interviews musicians, singers and dancers across Ireland and also amongst the diaspora. He has produced and hosted a number of ITMA's Drawing from the Well programmes, a series in which musicians are invited to explore a musical topic of interest to them, aided by researching ITMA's archival collections. In his spare time, Alan is an organiser of the singing collective The Night Before Larry Got Stretched, which has been active in organising and promoting traditional singing in Dublin since 2012.


This lecture will discuss the life and times of the Irish singer Margaret Barry. Perhaps best known for her time travelling the roads of Ireland, to sing at fairs and football matches, before later being dubbed "The Queen of the Tinkers", Alan's talk will explore Margaret's early life and family background in Cork and her time as a travelling musician before meeting Alan Lomax and her subsequent fame which followed as Margaret lived in London and formed a partnership with the Sligo fiddler, Michael Gorman.

This lecture will be presented on Thursday 11th July at 2.30pm.

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Alan Woods

Photo: Colm  Keating

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Margaret Barry

Music and Song in Miltown: Sound recordings from 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 2.30pm.

Jimmy Hutchinson


Peter Shepheard

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