Category Archives: County Clare

Martin Doyle Interviewed on The West Wind

The Willie Clancy Summer School

The Willie Clancy Summer School, Milltown Malbay, County Clare, Ireland.

July in Ireland means many things to many people, no doubt. It’s mid-summer for one thing and the sun brings welcome warmth to the land, so there must be some joy in most hearts. For the Irish traditional music fraternity though, July means only one thing: the annual Willie Clancy Summer School which is held in Milltown Malbay, County Clare.

For a week or so each July, the small coastal town near Spanish Point is swamped with music teachers, students, aficionados and keen lovers of the great Irish music tradition for master classes, music sessions, concerts and all that comes with such activities. Milltown Malbay is synonymous with the famed Clare musician Willie Clancy (1918—1973) who was a great exponent of the uilleann pipes specifically and Irish traditional music in general.

July and the Willie Clancy also means a busy time for the local instrument makers like Martin Doyle. Being a flute maker of renowned, he also attracts a fair bit of attention during the Willie Clancy without even leaving his property near Liscannor. The path to his home and workshop is well trodden each July with requests for flute purchases, orders and repairs. Old friendships are renewed and new ones forged over a cup of tea, some chin-wag and and, no doubt, a tune or two.

Claire Keville

Musician, music teacher and broadcaster Claire Keville.

A local radio station, Clare FM, is one of the foremost promoters of traditional Irish music broadcasting in Ireland today. They have a popular programme called The West Wind which has been interviewing all sorts of people who are involved in the Willy Clancy week. Musician, music teacher and broadcaster Claire Keville was live on The Clare FM Cruiser in Milltown Malbay on July the 4th where she interviewed Martin Doyle and his good friend Ronan Browne who is a renowned piper from Conamara in County Galway.

The two friends feature at the beginning of Claire’s set of interviews for that day. They talk about Martin’s flute making, and Martin and Ronan play a couple of tunes together on their Martin Doyle flutes. Well worth a listen, as is the rest of the programme. Click the play button below to hear the show …

November 2016 Music Picks

To celebrate the Irish mid-autumn, we feature two video clips that have recently captured Martin Doyle‘s ear. The first is a video of Barbara Maria Willi (harpsichord) and Jana Semerádová (flute) performing a JS Bach Andante composition. Martin is a big fan of Jana’s flute playing and was very pleased to met her at the 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music in September, 2015.

The second is a video clip of the legendary Ronan Browne playing Uilleann Pipes. Martin and Ronan enjoy a friendship that goes back many years and they also share a mutual appreciation for each other as musicians. Martin recently commented that “Ronan’s music is as as honest as you’ll find”. Here’s Ronan’s latest video clip which was recorded in Annagh in the County Clare.

The full version of this video, which includes Ronan’s introduction in Gaeilge, can be viewed here: HUP MILLTOWN Ronan Browne »

Much thanks to Jana and Ronan for their efforts and integrity – it’s a privilege to hear this music.

Eimear And Martin Playing Tunes

Irish flautist Eimear McGeown has just returned to Ireland from the Budapest Flute Academy in Hungary and she stopped in for a quick visit with Martin Doyle at his workshop in the County Clare today. As is often the case when musicians get together, one thing led to another and this took place…

Playing a few tunes with Martin Doyle Flutes in his workshop on his new style of Irish flutes. This one is boxwood, they're going to be great starter flutes…

Posted by Eimear McGeown – Flute on Thursday, 31 March 2016

The tunes are Tom Ward’s Downfall and Anderson’s – both reels.

Ambulating Kiwis Visit Martin Doyle

Martin Doyle gets his fair share of visitors to his home and workshop in County Clare and they come from near and far. This week saw a small group of intrepid Kiwis pop in for a ‘cuppa and a chat’. Nearing the conclusion of a two week walking tour through the west of Ireland, the happy and hardy group were spending a couple of days in the area with visits to local artisans, walking the Burren and a night on Inis Meáin (one of the Aran Islands). Martin and his assistant Gwenn Frin were delighted to receive the guests who hailed from New Zealand, the US and Canada.

Walking tour leader Rachel Ryan (back left) and members of the group with Martin Doyle (back centre) and Gwenn Frin (back right) among a forest of wooden flutes at Martin's workshop in County Clare.

Walking tour leader Rachel Ryan (back left) and members of the group with Martin Doyle (back centre) and Gwenn Frin (back right) among a forest of wooden flutes at Martin’s workshop in County Clare.

The tours are led by County Limerick native Rachel Ryan who has lived in Nelson, New Zealand, since 1980. Each year Rachel and her team guide walking tours of west Ireland and also take visitors to New Zealand on walking tours throughout the beautiful Tasman District in the north-western region of New Zealand’s South Island.

Martin has developed a connection with New Zealand since meeting his friend (and webmaster) Shardul in 2001 when Martin was still living in County Wicklow. Shardul was looking for a flute for his meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy and arrived at Martin’s workshop in Bray. For a period spanning four or five years after that, Martin made a small number of Irish flutes from native New Zealand timbers that were supplied to him by his Kiwi friend. Shardul currently lives in Nelson and met Rachel Ryan at the 2012 Race Unity Day which is organised by the Nelson Multicultural Council. One thing leads to another in this world of ours…

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Three Instrument Makers In Ennistymon

3 Instrument Makers (and their music)

3 Instrument Makers (and their music).

The west of Ireland is particularly strong in the tradition of music and County Clare is no exception being liberally blessed with gifted musicians and artisans – past, present and, no doubt, into the future. As a result, the county is host to many events that reflect, celebrate and perpetuate this living tradition of music.

One such event (which Martin Doyle is very honoured and excited to be part of) is soon to be hosted by the The Courthouse Gallery – Ennistymon. Opening from the 19th to the 26th of November, 3 Instrument Makers (and their music) is an exhibition featuring the work and music of Martin Doyle (flute), Davey Spillane (Uilleann pipes) and Paul Dooley (harp) who all live within a bulls roar of Ennistymon.

In conjunction with the year of the craft, this unique exhibition will offer the visitor a multi media experience of film, photography, audio, as well as a chance to see a display of the exquisitely crafted instruments made by each of these musicians.

Photographer Christy McNamara, well known for his photographs of traditional musicians will be collaborating in this exhibition with a series of commissioned photographs. Also included will be a short film made by Packmule Films documenting each of the musicians at work in their workshops. In conjunction with North Clare Historical Society there will be a lecture Monday 21st at 8pm by Eugene Lambe, maker of flutes and pipes, collector of tunes and stories from Kinvara in the County Galway. This exhibition will be held in the old courthouse building in Ennistymon which has been beautifully renovated into a new art space.

Read more: 3 Instrument Makers (and their music) »

Details will no doubt be posted on the The Courthouse Gallery website »

Conversations on the Coast

In September of 2010, Bristolian Nick Hand visited Martin Doyle at his workshop in Clare. After recording a conversation with Martin and taking a raft of photographs in Martin’s workshop, Nick created a ‘soundslide’ that has been included on his Slowcoast website – one of dozens of inspirational soundslides that he has created during his cycle tours around the coastal regions of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

Conversations on the Coast – by Nick Hand

Conversations on the Coast – by Nick Hand

Nick has just released Conversations on the Coast – a beautifully presented hardcover publication offering a selection of twenty stories and photography from the Slowcoast project.

Conversations on the Coast brings together artists and craftspeople from around the British Isles who talk about their work, their life and their passion.

“What I love most about this book is the humility of actually quite ordinary artisans chosen by chance as they came into focus on one man’s remarkable journey around the coast. What we learn is that when you take the time to look, even the apparently straight forward lives of a bicycle repairer, hat maker or basket weaver are driven by passion and a deep seated love for their work. It is inspirational.” – Robin Wood, Chair of The Heritage Crafts Association.

Nick Hand’s visit with Martin Doyle has been included in the book and Martin was delighted to receive a copy by post this week.

Nick Hand cycled his way through some beautiful landscapes and interviewed some very interesting souls.

Nick Hand cycled his way through some beautiful landscapes and interviewed some very interesting souls.

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Website Gets Facelift And Joe Makes Music

Martin Doyle’s Website Gets A Facelift

It has to happen every now and then… spring cleaning that is. And in New Zealand, where Martin Doyle’s webmaster lives, it is spring – so the timing is perfect. The southern spring has sprung and Martin Doyle has a new website – well, a new template at least. Same content pretty much, with some minor additions and the odd little tweak here and there – a facelift in effect.

The new-look website for Martin Doyle Flutes.

The new-look website for Martin Doyle Flutes.

So a little celebration is in order and what better way to celebrate than with a tune …

Joe Doyle Makes Music

Joe Doyle

Joe Doyle playing tunes in the orchard.

Recently added to the Martin Doyle’s flute music page is a lovely piece composed by Martin’s son Joe Doyle. Joe was out in the garden at his father’s home in County Clare a couple of weeks back, ‘playing around’ with his recently acquired Martin Doyle rosewood D flute, when a tune drifted through the music-rich ether of Clare and manifested itself through Joe and his flute. Joe dedicated the tune to his father by naming it ‘The Flute Maker Martin Doyle’ (‘by the flute maker’s son’, as Joe quipped) and recorded it later that day.

Posted On YouTube – September 2012

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