Willie Keane ...


Willie Keane born in Doonbeg County Clare in 1927 gained his celebrity with the Mullagh Set which he danced throughout Ireland and won many competitions for. As his fame grew he became a great promoter of set dancing, he began appearing on television shows and went on to tour American with the best of Clare’s traditional musicians. At home in Clare he passed on his skills, regularly teaching set dancing at the Willie Clancy Summer School.

He learnt set dancing from his neighbours, growing up they would visits each others houses in the evenings and play music and dance to entertain themselves. It was with fellow Doonbeg man Antony Talty that he danced the Mullagh Set. He also practiced a lot alone and reportedly as a youngster used to take a shed door off its hinges to use as a stage to dance on!


Willie loved to see young people dancing and tried to encourage them whenever possible. This was evident in one of the celebratory concerts at the end of the Willie Clancy Summer School when he famously danced with seven year old Caitlin Smith from Dublin. His legacy lives on today with the rise of popularity of set dancing again in County Clare. A festival in his memory is held every October, The Willie Keane Memorial Weekend with lots of opportunities to learn set dancing but also plenty of pub sessions and entertainment.

Willie along with Clare musicians Noel Hill and Tony McMahon recorded the CD and cassette entitled Aishling í Ceoil - Music of Dreams.


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