Friday, 27 March 2015

Clare County Library launches Singers and Songs of Clare from the Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Clare County Library has launched its online Singers and Songs of County Clare from the Carroll Mackenzie Collection project, featuring over 400 songs from over 40 Clare singers, collected by Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie in London and west Clare over a period of 40 years, with transcriptions of song lyrics accompanying each recording, and various playlists for easy listening. The project is also enhanced by the addition of articles on singers and the song tradition in County Clare.

Speaking about the importance of this new service, Helen Walsh, Clare County Librarian, says that “the public library service in County Clare offers a wide range of music for lending throughout the county, and has offered a very strong traditional music collection in its branch library in Miltown Malbay for many years. This new addition to the website demonstrates the library service’s continuing commitment to preserving and promoting the rich musical traditions of County Clare.”

In September 2012, Clare County Library launched the first part of its online "Music of Clare" section on the library website, featuring a selection of traditional Irish tunes commonly associated with County Clare, where people could listen to traditional tunes associated with County Clare, played by musicians who are from the county or who have lived in it for many years. Also included were transcriptions of the featured tunes, to help people learn the basic notes of the featured tunes.

“Shortly after launching the traditional Irish music project, we received a phone call from Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie offering us a collection of recordings they had made of Irish singers from the early 1970s to the present day”, said Anthony Edwards, Senior Executive Librarian and manager of the project. “Of course we had no idea of the huge extent of their collection, begun in the singers’ clubs of London and continued in the cottages of west Clare. From the enormous collection of files covering songs, music, stories and folklore we selected just over 400 songs sung by Clare singers, and did transcriptions of the song lyrics to accompany each recording, and developed various playlists for easy listening also.”

Launching the project in Ennistymon Courthouse Gallery, Cllr. Pat Hayes, Chair of Clare County Council’s Cultural, Arts, Community, Recreation and Amenity Services Strategic Policy Committee, thanked Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie on behalf of the people of Clare for their generosity in making their life’s work available to the library, and the library staff for making such wonderful use of the material. “The Singers and Songs of County Clare project re-enforces Clare County Council’s strong commitment to the arts and culture of Clare“, he added.

Featured singers include Martin Reidy (1901-1985) from Tullaghaboy, “a solitary bachelor eking out a living on his mountain farm after his parents had departed this world and the other members of the family had scattered to the four winds”; Michael ‘Straighty’ Flanagan (1893-1987) from Inagh, who was photographed by American photographer Dorothea Lange in the 1950s; and Tom Lenihan (1905-1990) from Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay, whose memory was such that “on a number of occasions, after a little probing, he faultlessly remembered and sang a song which he said he had not sung for some 40 years or more and had forgotten he ever knew”.

The project is also enhanced by the addition of articles on singers and the song tradition, and by the inclusion of some of the all-too-few video recordings of Clare singers available on Youtube. Singers and Songs of County Clare from the Carroll Mackenzie Collection is now live on Clare County Library’s website at

Images above show (from top and left to right): Martin Reidy; Tom Lenihan; Junior Crehan, Ollie Conway and John Joe Healy; and Siney Crotty, Straighty Flanagan and Martin Reidy. All photos courtesy of Pat Mackenzie.

Tom Lenihan from Miltown Malbay at the Kilrush Fleadh in 1967, singing "Stick To The Cratur". Tom also called the song "Paddy's Panacea". Posted on Youtube on the 5th of April 2008 by clarebannerman.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Kilfenora Céilí Band - Little Bird

The Kilfenora Céilí Band playing Little Bird, composed by Tim Edey. Posted on Youtube on the 14th of March 2015 by CorkOpera House.

The Yanks play some reels at CorofinTraditional Festival 2015

The Yanks (Isaac Alderson, Dylan Foley, Dan Gurney, and Sean Earnest) performing reels at the 14th Annual Corofin Traditional Festival 2015. Posted on Youtube on the 7th of March 2015 by Niamhaines.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The Sound of a Country: Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill in India

"In December of 2014 the Irish traditional fiddle and guitar duo Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, joined Sarod player Matthew Noone on a tour of India, to play several shows as well as meet and collaborate with a host of famous Indian traditional musicians. Myles O’Reilly joined the to tour to film and edit this short film encapsulating the spirit of the journey." Posted on Youtube on the 4th of March 2015 by Myles O'Reilly.

Sharon Shannon and Alan Connor live at Celtic Colours International Festival, Canada

Blackbird, Padraig O'Keefe's and The Happy One-Step performed by Sharon Shannon and Alan Connor at the Gigging with the Galway Girl concert, Inverness Education Centre, Nova Scotia, Canada, October 18, 2014 during Celtic Colours International Festival. Posted on Youtube on the 2nd of March 2015 by Celtic Colours International Festival.

OAIM Irish Music Retreats in Ennis - Immerse yourself in the Live Irish Music scene

"OAIM Irish music retreats are held annually in the historic, market town of Ennis, County Clare. Live traditional session music is featured in many of the pubs, and we’ll guide you to the best spots to play and hear music in a town buzzing from Irish music. Aimed at improvers, the learning is intense. You have five morning sessions with your host tutor and two afternoon master classes with other masters of the tradition. Learn new tunes and more importantly gain insight into the techniques that are used to make up the Irish music sound. Take the opportunity to play your music in the pubs as we guide you to local sessions where all are most welcome to play..." Posted on Youtube on the 7th of March 2015 by irishmusicacademy with music from Kirsten Allstaff's album 'Gallowglass'.

A trip to County Clare, February 2015

"A trip to County Clare in Ireland (26-28 February 2015). Photos here:" Posted on Youtube on the 5th of March 2015 by Drew Pyke.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Ré returns for Seachtain na Gaeilge

Clare author, Ré Ó Laighléis made a most welcome return to Ennistymon and Miltown Malbay libraries to meet with classes from St. Joseph’s Secondary and Ennistymon Vocational Schools to celebrate Seachtain na Gaeilge. According to the staff of Ennistymon Library, Ré’s enthusiasm for the promotion of the Irish Language was infectious. During his lively presentations in both branches Ré held the attention of the audience entirely. He was both entertaining and openly engaging while giving students plenty of food for thought. He read extracts from some of his books stopping at crucial places in the stories to lure the reader in. The theme of his talks was "Taitneamh agus Dushlain" and according to staff in both branches neither was lacking. While Ré’s talks were scheduled for Secondary School students, many adult patrons in both libraries were also hooked by his performance.

Míle buíochas ó Leabharlann Chontae an Chláir do na múinteoirí, na daltaí agus go háirithe do Ré as ucht a bheith linn i rith na seachtainne.

World Book Day Storytime at Miltown Malbay Library

Children from “Spraoi” Montessori school celebrated World Book Day on March 5th 2015 at the Dr. Patrick J. Hillery Public Library in Miltown Malbay. Staff at the library welcomed a total of twenty-two children to two lively and animated story sessions featuring very authentic Big Bad Wolf and Three Little Pigs puppets. The children had a chance to act out their own mini-stories and finished by producing their own interpretations of the story on specially printed colouring sheets. A specially designed and decorated canvas backdrop which was kindly donated by a local library patron very much enhanced the atmosphere for the event.

Farewell to Horrid Henry

Twenty one years after we first heard of Horrid Henry and his mischievous exploits, Francesca Simon has announced she will bring the series to a close. The very last book, Horrid Henry’s Cannibal Curse due in July, will be illustrated by Tony Ross and will be made up of four stories.

Saying goodbye to Horrid Henry, Francesca Simon said “I love the stories in the final book, and it’s not as if the books will vanish from bookshelves because I’m not adding to the collection. “Horrid Henry has been a huge part of my life for more than 20 years, and I’ve loved being able to write about the imp inside us all” - The Bookseller 20.02.15.