Category Archives: Ireland

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 …

The Day We Went To Sligo

September 26 this year saw Martin Doyle attend the 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music where he had been invited to have a instrument makers stall and offer a workshop on Baroque flute making.

Martin Doyle's stall at the 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music, September 2015

Martin Doyle’s stall at the 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music, September 2015

Reflecting on the event, Martin commented that he had a wonderful time, met some lovely people and attended some excellent workshops and recitals.

Recital at the 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music

Members of the Collegium Marianum offer a recital at the 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music, September 2015

One of the people who really impressed Martin was the Czech flute player Jana Semerádová, whose Baroque flute master class and recitals Martin attended. The following is a video clip of Jana performing a concerto in G major for flute by the Italian Baroque composer and violinist Giuseppe Tartini with members of the Collegium Marianum.

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A Poem For Nuala Níc Con Iomaire – By Biddy Jenkinson

Irish poet, Biddy Jenkinson

Irish poet, Biddy Jenkinson


Martin Doyle has a page on his website entitled In Praise of Wooden Flutes which presents a poem of the same name by Martin’s friend Biddy Jenkinson. Biddy, an Irish poet, short story writer and dramatist who writes in the Irish language, also sent Martin a poem that eulogises their mutual friend Nuala Níc Con Iomaire who passed away on July 16, 2010. That poem, Nuala, is reproduced below.

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Eimear McGeown Accepts A Challenge

A wee note highlighting a Facebook post by the brilliant Irish flautist Eimear McGeown. Eimear was recently challenged by her sister Erin to participate in the ‘Trad Tune Challenge‘ which aims to raise funds for the St. Patrick’s Hospital Foundation.

For the challenge Eimear plays a lovely slow air on a recently completed keyed Irish flute made by Martin Doyle. To hear the piece, click on the image below…

Eimear McGeown

Eimear McGeown playing a slow air on a Martin Doyle keyed flute for her Trad Tune Challenge

Kathlyn Sheehy Wins Two All-Ireland Competitions

Kathlyn Sheehy is a young flute player who plays a Martin Doyle flute and won the 2012 All-Ireland Under-12 Flute Fleadh Cheoil competition in Cavan and placed second in the 2013 All-Ireland Under-12 Flute competition in Derry.

Our heartiest congratulations to Kathlyn – well done you!

Kathlyn Sheehy

Kathlyn Sheehy sporting a well earned All-Ireland trophy and her Martin Doyle flute.

Mick McConnell’s Humorous Ballad

Mick McConnell performs The Ballad of Lidl and Aldi – a cracking good yarn written by himself about retail shopping and the effects it can have on ones marriage and living conditions. Mick is Cathal McConnell‘s brother and the world is a richer place for the fact that traditional music and story telling courses through the veins of these men.

Martin’s September 2012 VidPic

Some weeks ago, Martin Doyle sent me (his webmaster) links to the two videos offered below and said, “What do you think of them?” Naturally I liked them very much and was quite impressed with the spontaneity and freedom of movement in the dancers. And the music being played for the dancers is excellent! “Sean-nós – what does that mean?” was my question to Martin. “Old style,” was his answer. So I did a little looking around…

For the uninitiated (like me), sean-nós dance is an older style of traditional solo Irish dance – the lesser known free-form solo type of dancing that many of Ireland’s older traditional musicians played for.

It is a casual dance form (as opposed to the more formal competition-oriented form of) Irish Stepdancing. “Sean Nós” in the Irish language means “old style” and refers to various activities, including sean-nós song and sean-nós dance. These less common forms of Irish dance and traditional Irish singing have been documented by folklorists and song collectors (aka ethnomusicologists), but still often form part of the traditional dance scene in Ireland.
Read more: Sean-nós dance »

The musicians in this first video clip include the renowned Irish ‘box’ (melodeon) player Johnny Connolly. Emma O’Sullivan is the dancer…

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