Category Archives: County Clare

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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Martin Doyle Features On Slowcoast

Nick Hand with his trusty cycle.

Nick Hand with his trusty cycle.

A leisurely bicycle tour around the coasts of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland – what better way to see the sights, get a feel for the land and meet the locals! Many have done it but Bristolian Nick Hand has taken the process a couple of steps further. He is interviewing and photographing inspiring people that he meets during his travels and creating soundslides which he posts on his aptly named website, Slowcoast.

In his own words Nick is “…talking to the artisans that I meet, people who have a passion and have developed and honed a skill.” The result is a very inspiring library of soundslides that cover a wide range of people, lifestyles and landscapes. During his travels Nick is also raising money for the Parkinson’s Disease Society through sponsorship.

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A Gift From Cathal McConnell

Willie Clancy playing the pipes.

Willie Clancy playing the pipes.

With the Willie Clancy Summer School happening at Miltown Malbay in the County Clare each year, the middle of summer becomes a busy time for Martin Doyle. There is a steady stream of visitors to his house near Liscannor and, when he gets a chance, Martin heads into Miltown Malbay to socialise and catch a session or two. Flutes to deliver, orders to take – the busy life of an artisan flute maker!

During the Willie Clancy, Miltown Malbay is packed with hundreds of visitors, musicians, singers and dancers, young and old, from all over Ireland, Scotland and further afield. Standing room only! Traditional music flows like the water in the rivers and streams of Ireland and a unique traditional culture lives, breathes and is propagated during this ‘gathering of the clan’.

Cathal McConnell

Cathal McConnell (photo credit*)

One visitor Martin had the opportunity to welcome into his home this year was the renowned flute player, tin whistler and singer Cathal McConnell, who gifted to Martin a copy of his latest CD, Auld Springs Gies Nae Price. Needless to say, Martin was thrilled at Cathal’s kind gesture. Auld Springs Gies Nae Price is a joint effort between Cathal McConnell and Duncan Wood. A multi-instrumentalist musician, artist and author, Duncan Wood hails from the North East of Scotland and plays fiddle on the album.

Like most developed flute players, it is probably a safe bet that Cathal has more than one flute in his quiver. If that is the case, we know that at least one of them is the Martin Doyle C flute as it features in one of the tracks on Auld Springs Gies Nae Price and with Cathal on the CDs jacket photos. The track in question (track eight) comprises two lovely airs, The Fairy Strain and The Hon Mrs Maule of Panmure’s Favourite, and is introduced in the CDs accompanying booklet thus:

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Introducing The Aiki Céilí Band

Double bass (Frank Healy) and flute (Martin Doyle) in action.

Double bass (Frank Healy) and flute (Martin Doyle) in action.

As recently posted on this weblog, Martin Doyle featured on a radio programme called The Music Tree. As the The Music Tree is about the Mpingo (African Blackwood) tree and its popular timber that is used extensively for the production of woodwind instruments, one of the requirements for the programme was some Irish traditional music that was predominated by the Irish flute. This task fell upon Martin Doyle to organise.

Asides from making great Irish flutes, Martin is also an Aikido instructor who offers classes at the town hall in Liscannor, County Clare – the Aikido group is known as Clare Aikikai. One of the many wonderful aspects of the County Clare is that music is an integral part of the culture there – musicians, singers and story tellers abound in Clare as they do all over the west of Ireland. And so it is with Martin’s Aikido group. Four of the members are strong traditional musicians so Martin got them together after an Aikido session one evening and they recorded a very nice piece of traditional music – and The Aiki Céilí Band was born!

The Aiki Céilí Band consists of Martin Doyle (flute), Éamon McCarthy (flute), Frank Healy (double bass) and Gabrielle Cappachione (guitar). Featured on The Music Tree documentary, the piece consists of two reels and can also be listened to here: The Aiki Céilí Band – Flute Music »

Aikido Classes With Martin Doyle

Martin Doyle has just published a new website that introduces his Aikido classes to the world via the internet.

Clare Aikikai

Clare Aikikai – Aikido classes with Martin Doyle in Liscannor, County Clare, Ireland.

Martin Doyle first became interested in Aikido in 1987 at the recommendation of a friend and is now a nidan (2nd Dan (rank)) Aikido instructor – or sensei (teacher) in Japanese. He offers twice weekly Aikido classes for adults and children at Liscannor, County Clare.

Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba as a synthesis of his martial studies, philosophy, and religious beliefs. Aikido is often translated as “the Way of unifying (with) life energy” or as “the Way of harmonious spirit.” Ueshiba’s goal was to create an art that practitioners could use to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury. Read more: Aikido »

For more information about Martin Doyle’s aikido classes in Liscannor, visit: Clare Aikikai »

Doyle Flute Featured On Flutewise

Flutewise article - click to see a larger version.

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.