Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy 2020

The 48th Willie Clancy Summer School, Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare, Ireland. Saturday 4th July to Sunday 12th July, 2020.

Sráid na Cathrach, Co. an Chláir  4ú Iúil - 12ú Iúil.

Brendan McGlinchey (1940-2020)


Fiddle player Brendan McGlinchey was born in Armagh city and lived most of his life in England.  He was well known on the Irish traditional music scene in London in the 1960s and 1970s and played with people like Bobby Casey, Roger Sherlock,  P.J.Crotty and Joe Burke, among many other talented musicians. He made his presence felt on the music scene at an early age, winning numerous titles at feiseanna and fleadhanna.  Broadcaster Ciarán Mac Mathúna recorded him playing solo at the 1956 Ennis Fleadh and he joined the famous Malachy Sweeney Céilí Band in the late 1950s when he was 15 years old.   Later, when Johnny Pickering left Malachy Sweeney and set up his own céilí band, Brendan joined the Pickering band and played with them for many years. His competitive career reached its zenith in 1964 at the All-Ireland in Clones when  he won the Champion of Champions competition.

Brendan chatting with Vincent Griffin, July 2004.

Brendan McGlinchey, July 1995.

In the mid-1970s Brendan withdrew from the London music scene for a period but in the early 1990s returned to active participation.  In 1993 he began tutoring at the Willie Clancy Summer School.  He had not been to Miltown Malbay since his time with Malachy Sweeney and recalled playing at Tom Malone’s Hall (the Market House) on Main Street, and all the band staying overnight in Malone’s house. His return to Miltown was a happy occasion and he quickly settled into teaching and a new generation came to appreciate his abilities as a performer and teacher. He officially opened the 2004 summer school.


During the 1990s and into the 2000s he was much in demand as performer, tutor and adjudicator at  fleadhanna,  summer schools and festivals. He was recognised by his peers as an accomplished composer and some of his tunes, such as Splendid Isolation, The Floating Crowbar and Sweeney’s Buttermilk, have become part of the musical tradition.


Our sympathies to his widow Margaret and his three children, Sarah, Helen and Mary Ann.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.

Brendan McGlinchey, July 2003.

All photos: Tony Kearns

© Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy 2020   Website: Tony Kearns