Willie Clancy Summer School: Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare

One word sums up the Willie Clancy Summer School experience – and that is, wonderful!

There are fewer better opportunities available to fully embrace and participate in Irish culture than this week long camp.

Celebrated in honour of the extraordinary musician Willie Clancy, the school has developed into a major traditional Irish music, song and dance event and this year marks its 45th year, taking place between Saturday July 1st and Sunday July 9th 2017.

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The primary focus is on the listening experience and the course is conducted in a relaxed atmosphere, where students interact with masters of the traditional arts. Instrument and dance classes, lectures, workshops, recitals, and céilithe will be in full flow all through the week and tourists are more than welcome to attend and participate.

The school has attracted thousands of students and followers of Irish traditional music from all over the world. On average, 40% of the annual student attendance comes from overseas, with representation from over 30 countries, including the USA, Australia, Japan, Western Europe, Canada, Brazil, the UK and Russia.

The workshops and classes train musicians and singers in the art of traditional Irish music and are designed for people of all ages and ability.

One of the other main attractions of the school are the many times the extraordinary musicians break into impromptu songs which can happen at any place, day or night, in the streets, classes and especially the local pubs!

Visitors are also encouraged to participate in the traditional céilithe. Cèilidhs are a uniquely Gaelic event and a must for those to get a taste of Irish culture and Irish “trad” music. Cèilidhs have historically held an important role in Irish life as they often facilitated courting and prospects of marriage for young people are still an important and popular social outlet in rural parts of Ireland

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Cèilidh music may be provided by an assortment of fiddle, flute, tin whistle, accordion, bodhrán, hammered dulcimer and in more recent times also drums, guitar, mandolin, bouzouki and electric bass guitar. The music is cheerful and lively, consisting of mainly of jigs, reels, hornpipes, polkas, slip-jigs and waltzes.

Michael Dorgan

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