In March 2014, Martin Doyle was visited at his home in the County Clare by Robert Harris and Finola Finlay, who is a childhood friend of Martin’s. Robert had just taken part in a concertina school with the renowned Clare musician Noel Hill in Ballyvaughan, and subsequently wrote an article about the concertina (an instrument that is colloquially known as ‘the Clareman’s Trumpet’), and the musicians and instrument makers that are sprinkled liberally throughout Clare. Robert’s article can be viewed here: The Clare Trumpet »
Martin Doyle with his childhood friend Finola Finlay at his workshop in the County Clare
Here is a video clip of Noel Hill playing two reels on the concertina (starts at about 0.55).
Martin Doyle recently sent a flute to Russia and, after some initial delays, it finally reached the hands of its new owner who kindly expressed his joy with these words:
Hello, Mr Doyle!
I finally got the flute and it is incredibly beautiful! You are an expert in beauty and the sound is perfect! I have never seen and never played a flute easier than this one. This is a work of art for me!
Lately I’ve been studying a lot about the relationship between geometry and the sound of flutes. But the strong D of this flute – a mystery to me. I do not know how you manage to do this. This flute permits me to do the impossible! Unfortunately, I don’t quite know very well English, to tell you my impressions! But, believe me, it’s endless! I have very long dreamed of a flute like this and now the dream has come true!
Martin Doyle has just received a very kind testimonial from the renowned left-handed flute player Garry Shannon after Martin finished a keyed flute for him. These are Garry’s words:
“Martin is an affable craftsman in whose workshop time means nothing. He will generously spend hours discussing his craft. Despite his laid-back manner, he will not leave you waiting years for your new instrument. I have been recommending Martin Doyle flutes to my students for many years due to their tonality, volume and after-sales service. Last year, I finally took the plunge myself and put aside my beloved flute of twenty years for a new custom-made Doyle model and I have never looked back.”
More kind comments from flute players all over the world can be viewed here: Testimonials »
About Garry Shannon
Irish flute player Garry Shannon
Garry Shannon is the eldest of a celebrated County Clare family of musicians which includes Sharon Shannon (accordion) and Mary Shannon (banjo).
Garry won the senior All-Ireland flute title in 1988 and has since played with a number of respected groups. He is a member of the legendary Kilfenora Ceili Band which is based in Kilfenora, County Clare, has recorded three solo albums, teaches flute extensively and is co-ordinator of the Irish music residential summer school Meitheal.
Read more: Profile – Garry Shannon »
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.
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…
A number of photographs have just been added to Martin Doyle’s Photostream on Flickr. They were taken by Bob Denton who has been Martin’s friend since the 1970s.
Bob Denton is a photographer and musician who plays guitar, mandolin, claw hammer banjo and tin whistle. Originally from South Africa, Bob is credited with starting the Barleycorn Music Club on Woodbridge Island, Cape Town, in 1975. He also compèred and performed at many South African Folk Festivals.
In the realm of photography, Bob worked for Deegan Photo on Leeson Street in Dublin during the early 1970s and took the photo of the Book of Kells which was used on the one and five punt notes in Ireland. He also took many of the photographs for the Doors of Dublin poster originally produced by Borde Failte.
Bob first met Martin Doyle when he moved to Bray in County Wicklow in the early 1970s. Martin, a native of Bray, had just begun to play the banjo and he and Bob would play together regularly.
Bob Denton with his trusty banjo and Doolin t-shirt! (Photo credit: Bob’s Facebook page.)
Flutewise article – click to see a larger version.
One of Martin Doyle’s recent accomplishments, an F flute made in Boxwood, was featured late last year in an article about Irish flute makers. The article is based on an answer to an email enquiry sent to the Irish flute repair expert Jon Dodd regarding recommended Irish flute makers – and was published by Flutewise magazine. From their website:
Since 1988, when Liz Goodwin (@flutewise) founded Flutewise, our organisation has provided fantastic services to young flute players, their parents and their teachers. Throughout these 25 years Flutewise has been renowned for our vast number of fun events. Ranging from small events lasting a few hours to two day events for over 1,000 young players, Flutewise events have taken place both in the UK and in countries all over the world.
The ‘F’ flute was made specially as a gift for the spiritual musician and meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy on the occasion of the Master’s 76th birthday. It was a first-of-it’s-kind for Martin Doyle and, by all accounts, a beautiful flute with exceptionally sweet tone.
Jon Dodd is an Irish and concert flute repair specialist who lives not far from Martin Doyle in Knockliscrane, Miltown Malbay, County Clare. Click on the image above to see the full article as it appeared in Flutewise. Special thanks to Liz Goodwin of Flutewise for supplying the image.