Clare, Irish Music and Dance
County Clare has long been considered the heartland of traditional Irish music in Ireland. Names such as Tulla Ceili Band and Kilfenora Ceili Band, Micho Russell of Doolin, Martin Hayes, Sharon Shannon, Willie Keane, Elizabeth Crotty, Paddy Canny and Willie Clancy readily spring to mind. Music, singing, dancing and story telling have always formed the fabric of this community. In a time when television wasn’t dominant in houses as it is nowadays, people had to make their own entertainment and they went to their neighbours’ houses, where they told each other stories by the open fire and played music and danced. Music was also an integral part of all gatherings; wakes and weddings, fairs, sporting events and crossroad dances.
There was always a great emphasis placed on the passing on of local traditions, folklore and tunes. Most of the great musicians in County Clare are notable in the amount of time they dedicated to teaching, and this is why County Clare has such an abundance of songs, folklore, dances and tunes. This tradition carries on today; the Willie Clancy Summer School and Feakle Music Festival among other festivals promote the learning and sharing of Irish music and song as well as recognising some of the talent that is to be found locally.
With such a rich musical history and wealth of musicians it’s no wonder that today, in County Clare there is music to be found in abundance from festivals to pub sessions.