Tag Archives: maker

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 …

Martin Doyle To Attend Sligo Festival Of Baroque Music

The Model, County SligoThe three day 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music commences on September the 25th and Martin Doyle has been invited by the festival’s organisers to attend as an artisan exhibiter and to offer a flute making workshop.

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

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.

More information here: 2015 Programme of Events »

Martin Doyle Flutes’ 30th Anniversary

Martin Doyle Flutes : 1983—2013

Martin Doyle Flutes' 30th Anniversary : 1983-2013 This year marks the 30th anniversary since Martin Doyle began his odyssey as a flute maker. No hoopla, probably not going to have a party, have put a little logo on the homepage of the website – that’s about it folks! Life goes on, flute orders come in, and Martin feels that the best way to celebrate is to carry on with the creative process that he began with and try all the time to improve his flute designs with the people who will play them in mind. This ethos has always been to the fore in his heart and mind from the outset and continues to drive him today.

A Message From Martin Doyle

Martin Doyle

“I would like to thank everyone for their support over the past thirty or so years. There are many dear friends who have been very encouraging and supportive through this process and that includes my family of course. I have also been very grateful to receive kind and encouraging comments from people all over the world who have purchased my flutes.

“I consider the act of creating instruments for musicians a privilege that cannot be understated. It is also a journey of partnership that requires the interplay and focus of both parties – the flute maker and the flute player. This has helped me to evolve and has also kept me inspired and active in the field of flute making. In my view these are sacred connections in the eternal quest for expression through the universal language that is music.

THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH! – Martin.”

A Tune To Celebrate


Tune: The Flute Maker Martin Doyle – by Joe Doyle.

The Flute Maker Martin Doyle By Joe Doyle

Here’s a lovely new tune played by Joe Doyle – a jig he composed in honour of his father, the flute maker Martin Doyle. Joe is playing a keyless Martin Doyle D flute made from Brazilian rosewood.

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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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The Flute Maker And The Cittern

As always, I was very pleased to receive a call from Martin Doyle via Skype this morning. The distance between Martin in Ireland and myself in New Zealand is very close to 12,000 miles. Skype allows us the illusion that we are sitting across the kitchen table from each other and so we chat regularly and sometimes play music to each other. Today our conversation went something like this:

“Good morning Martin.”

“Good evening Shardul – just a minute…”

… Martin disappears briefly and reappears with an instrument that I at first thought was a bouzouki …

Nikos Apollonio

Luthier and boat builder Nikos Apollonio with one of his bell citterns.

“No, it’s a cittern. Just got it. The maker, Nikos Apollonio, who is from Maine, dropped it off himself this morning and I haven’t been able to put it down since!”

Martin proceeded to play some lovely tunes on his brand spanking new cittern – a beautifully made ten string instrument with a spruce sound board, walnut body and rosewood fretboard. It looked stunning and sounded amazing! Martin commented on its quality and simplicity.

Over the years I have watched and listened to Martin sing, play whistle, Irish flute, baroque flute, concert flute, banjo, mandolin and bouzouki – now the cittern. In my opinion, he is a very good musician who plays music from his heart and soul with a real love for quality of sound.

“What attracted you to the cittern”, asks I.

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FSC Certified Blackwood Arrives

Martin Doyle has long dreamed of making flutes using timbers that have been produced in environmentally friendly and socially equitable modes. In recent years, Martin has been involved in a number of projects that have highlight a movement toward that reality and he has participated in the making of three radio documentaries highlighting the sustainable use of African BlackwoodMpingo as the valued tonewood is known in east Africa. Martin is the first flute maker to produce an Irish flute from FSC certified African Blackwood having received a small amount of the timber some months ago.

Martin Doyle with the newly arrived FSC certified African Blackwood.

Martin Doyle with the newly arrived FSC certified African Blackwood.

This week Martin received his first full shipment of FSC certified African Blackwood which prompted the following comment:

“The arrival of this timber gives us the feeling of working in a sustainable environment that is genuinely beneficial to the people of Tanzania and we are very happy to be participating in a chain of events that has a positive outcome for everyone involved. It’s a great joy!”

Martin thinks that this shipment of timber has been harvested from the sustainably managed Mpingo forests around the village of Kikoli in eastern Tanzania – an area Martin visited during his trip to Tanzania in 2009. Martin’s plan is to be using FSC certified African Blackwood exclusively from the beginning of 2012 as his present stock of material diminishes. The flutes made from the FSC certified timber will be stamped accordingly.