Martin has been making simple system Irish flutes since the early 1980s and his first batch of Baroque flutes were crafted in 2000. Modelling his Baroque flutes on an eighteenth century Rottenburgh flute design, Martin has made several batches since and generally uses either boxwood or African Blackwood.
Martin Doyle Baroque Flute made of Boxwood
The 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music is being held at The Model in Sligo and Martin Doyle’s Flute Maker Workshop begins at 11 am on Saturday September the 26th.
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 sporting a well earned All-Ireland trophy and her Martin Doyle flute.
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…
From left: Ronan Browne (Uilleann pipes), Siobhán Armstrong (harp) and Róisín Elsafty (sean-nós singer).
This trio presents the scintillating voice of one of Ireland’s finest Conamara singers, Róisín Elsafty together with the very rare and meltingly beautiful sound of the medieval Irish harp, played by Ireland’s foremost historical harper, Siobhán Armstrong, woven with the diverse colours of Ronan Browne’s flutes, whistles and 170-year-old pipes. From sparkling songs to harp laments and old pipes “pieces”, we are given a glimpse of the unique sound of early Ireland. Róisín performs evocative unaccompanied songs in the florid Conamara style, together with achingly beautiful 17th and 18th century Irish harpers’ songs with harp and flute accompaniment.
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
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.
Martin Doyle receives the 2011 RDS Crafts Competition Award (Musical Instruments category).
Martin Doyle has just received the honour of being awarded first prize in the ‘Musical Instruments’ category of the 2011 RDS National Crafts Competition. The award was for a nine key flute made of cocus wood that Martin finished in April.
Martin drove from County Clare to Dublin with his apprentice Gwenn Frin on Wednesday to accept the award and they were joined at the RDS ceremony by Martin’s long-time friend and Aikido teacher Sean MacRuairi (John Rogers).
Martin Doyle has previously entered his flutes in two craft competitions winning major awards on both occasions. He was awarded the Crafts Council of Ireland Medal in 1985 (with an eight key flute made from African Blackwood) and the prestigious RDS California Gold Medal (overall winner) in 1993 (also with an eight key flute made from African Blackwood). Delighted by the encouragement of winning this years award, Martin had this to say:
Art in Action is a three-day arts and crafts festival held every June Bank Holiday Weekend. Top artists and craftspeople from many different disciplines are invited to set up studios, stalls and workshops to demonstrate their work and skills live. Over a hundred craft, fine, liberal and performing artists demonstrate and sell their art to the public. An extensive range of children and adult art classes are also available, all set in the lovely house and grounds of Townley Hall near Drogheda in County Louth, Ireland. Art in Action is affiliated to the John Scottus School.
Art in Action is organised and staffed by the School of Philosophy, an educational charity in Dublin (CHY 5791). Everyone who contributes to the organisation and staffing of the event does so entirely on a voluntary basis and without payment of any kind. This is at the core of the ethos of Art in Action and contributes to its unique atmosphere – about which both visitors and artists frequently comment.
A music session in full swing at Martin Doyle’s stand during Art in Action 2010.
Martin Doyle and Gwenn Frin at the 2010 World Harmony Run launch in Dublin.
Sri Chinmoy at the 2006 USA World Harmony Run launch in New York.
Founded by global peace visionary Sri Chinmoy in 1987, the World Harmony Run is the world’s largest torch relay for international friendship and has passed through over 120 countries since its inception. In conjunction with Dublin European Capital of Sport 2010, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Emer Costello, launched the event in a gala ceremony in Dublin’s City Hall at 12pm.
From Dublin, an international team of runners began a 24,000 km journey that will last seven months and travel through forty-nine European countries, finishing in Moscow in September. At the same time, another Asian run will begin in Japan and travel westward through South Korea, China, Mongolia and all the former Soviet states to also finish in Moscow at the same time in September – a unique link between East and West spanning over 36,000kms!
Ludwig von Beethoven and Elizabeth Petcu – hearing lose a challenge, but not an impairment.
And what of the Elizabeth Petcu / Ludwig von Beethoven connection? Well, there appear to be common threads running through both lives. Sure they don’t share the same age, address, flute maker or historical gravitas, but they do share a passion for music – the universal language. Ludwig composed his own music of course, and Elizabeth has performed many of these creations over the span of her professional career.
They also share a similar adversity. Elizabeth Petcu suffers from a condition known as otosclerosis, which is the most common cause of progressive deafness in young adults. Some consider otosclerosis to be the most likely cause of Beethoven’s deafness. Whatever the case, it is well documented that Beethoven went on composing despite near complete deafness. In Elizabeth’s case too, when her hearing impediment forced her into retirement from the RTE, she has kept up with her practice and performs wherever she can with an enduring energy, cheerfulness and enthusiasm that is fuelled by a great love for sharing her gift of music with others. Composers must compose, performers must perform. Audiences, large or small, receive the fruit of this wonderful synthesis.