Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy 2018

The 46th Willie Clancy Summer School, Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare, Ireland. Saturday 7th July to Sunday 15th July, 2018.

Sráid na Cathrach, Co. an Chláir  7ú Iúil - 15ú Iúil.




A joint initiative, involving Blas International Summer School of Irish Traditional Music and Dance  and Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy,  was  launched on the 30th November 2016 at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance by Nicholas Carolan, Director Emeritus of the Irish Traditional Music Archive.


The Blas Summer School (19th - 30th June 2017), located in the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at  the University  of Limerick, is linking up with Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy  to offer students an  opportunity to extend their immersion in traditional music studies by enrolling in the Dúchas an Cheoil/ Scope of Irish Traditional Music  course at the Willie Clancy School (1st - 9th  July 2017)  This collaboration will offer students an accredited programme based at the University of Limerick and the Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay.


This initiative will enable students to earn University accreditation worth 3 undergraduate credits (6 ECTS credits). Students wishing to pursue accreditation will be required to complete both the second week of Blas and the Scope of Irish Traditional Music Course at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy.


For more information on this Blas-Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy  accredited programme and application forms, please visit Or contact  Pamela Cotter, Director, Blas International Summer School of Irish Traditional Music and Dance, Irish World Academy, University of Limerick. Email:   Tel: +353 61 202653



Over the past forty years the Willie Clancy Summer School has attracted thousands of students and followers of Irish traditional music from all over the world.  On average,  40% of the annual student attendance comes from overseas, with representation from over 30 countries, including the USA, Australia, Japan, Western Europe, Canada, Brazil, the UK and Russia.  Dúchas an Cheoil / The Scope of Irish Traditional Music course has been part of  Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy since 1986 and is directed by tutor-coordinators Paddy Glackin and Cathal Goan.  This six-day course introduces students to the essentials of Irish traditional music, song and dance, and fosters an awareness of the social, cultural and historical context in which the largest part of this musical tradition was created. The primary focus is on the listening experience and the course is conducted in a relaxed atmosphere where students interact with masters of the traditional arts. Many leading traditional singers, dancers and musicians have been guest performers at Dúchas an Cheoil over the years, and the student cohort reflects the international character of Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy.


More details on the SCOPE of IRISH MUSIC course are on the Workshops page. Contact or



Now approaching its 21st anniversary this international school of Irish traditional music and dance attracts students from all over the world who are typically musicians, singers and dancers,  already familiar with the Irish traditions,  who want to extend their technique, repertoire and knowledge therein. Blas acts as an incubator, and forms a space in which to improve musicianship, song, or dance technique, and to learn more about the stylistic, social and historic content of these traditions in a familiar educational campus setting.  It is an internationally accredited school and takes place for two weeks each June at the UL campus.

Dúchas an Cheoil/The Scope of Irish Traditional Music Tutors.


Paddy Glackin, a native of Dublin, is a noted fiddle player and exponent of the Donegal style of fiddle music, a tradition inherited  from his Donegal father.  He  has released a number of  solo albums,   collaborated  on  several  albums with leading traditional musicians, and  been involved in various seminal groups such as the Bothy Band, Ceoltóirí Laighean, LAPD, and, more recently, Usher’s Island. From 1980 to 1985 he served as Traditional Music Officer with the Arts Council.  His professional career was with RTÉ Radio where he worked as a producer, presenter and editor. He is currently on the Board of the Arts Council of  Ireland.


Cathal Goan, a native of Belfast, has a particular interest in the Irish language song tradition.  He  began his professional career with RTÉ, the national radio and television broadcaster, and was the first Director of the newly established Telefís na Gaeilge (TG4)  and later  Director-General of RTÉ.   In 2011 he was appointed Adjunct-Professor in the School of Irish Language, Celtic Studies, Irish Folklore and Linguistics at University College Dublin. He served  as chairman of the Irish Traditional Music Archive  and holds an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Ulster in recognition of his services to the Irish language and to broadcasting in Ireland.

Cathal Goan and Paddy Glackin.

Photo: Tony Kearns.

Pamela Cotter, Director of Blas at the University of Limerick.


Pamela Cotter is a dancer, choreographer and teacher from Montreal, Quebec, Canada. In 2006 she moved to Ireland to pursue the BA in Irish Music and Dance at the University of Limerick and went on to complete the MA in Ethnomusicology at University College Cork. She is currently working on a research PhD at the University of Limerick. Pamela is also  a qualified Irish dancing teacher (T.C.R.G) with An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha and lectures on both undergraduate programmes at the Irish World Academy.

Pamela Cotter.

 Photo: Maurice Gunning.

Special Scottish Dance workshops for 2017

Three workshops teaching traditional Scottish dances will be given by Dannsa on Wednesday 5th, Thursday 6th and Friday 7th of July from 2.30pm to 4.30pm at the Mill Marquee, beside the GAA grounds. These workshops are unique to this year's Summer School and they are free to registered students and €10 per day to non-registered participants.

Scottish step-dancing workshop  - Percussive footwork - strathspeys, jigs and reels driven by some great tunes with Karen. Hard- soled shoes.

Ceilidh Dance Workshop - Come and learn some popular and some less well-known Scottish Ceilidh Dances.

Hebridean dance workshop - This style is more relaxed than Scottish Highland dancing, with the arms held lower, the knees more bent and some of the steps are similar to the footwork in Scottish step-dancing. Soft shoes with some support, e.g. light trainers.


Dannsa are from Kingussie in the Highlands of Scotland and have been celebrating the rich traditions of Scottish dance, music and Gaelic language since 1999. All this they love to share with fun, enjoyment and a sense of community and the spirit and style of Dannsa is determined by the relationship between the music, language and rhythms of the steps. For more information see

Caroline Reagh

Sandra Robertson

Karen Steven

The Irish-American Partnership & The Tommy McCarthy Memorial Scholarship


Tommy McCarthy (1929-2000), concertina player, piper, whistle player and fiddler, was born in Shyan, Kilmihil, Co Clare.  He emigrated to London in the early 1950s where he became an important figure in the Irish traditional music scene in the city and was one of the co-founders of the London Pipers Club.  On his return to Ireland in the early 1990s, he taught and played for many years at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy, becoming an influential mentor to the many students who came to the summer school. In 1996 he set a unique record at the school when he played at three of the recitals on the programme: uilleann pipes, whistle and concertina.

Tommy McCarthy.

Photo: Tony Kearns.

In 2016 the Irish-American Partnership, based in Boston, gave a substantial donation to Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy. The summer school decided to use the funding to create a scholarship programme which would commemorate Tommy McCarthy and his contribution to Irish traditional music and assist young promising musicians attend the school. An annual scholarship would be awarded to those under 18 years of age who were practising either uilleann pipes, concertina, whistle or fiddle, the instruments associated with Tommy McCarthy.


The first recipient in 2016 was piper Amy Campbell from Dublin. This year the award will go to a concertina player and the adjudication  will be handled  by a panel of well-known  concertina tutors and performers, Claire Keville of ClareFM, Jacqui McCarthy, daughter of Tommy, and Liam O’Brien, TG4 Gradam Ceoil winner, all tutors at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy.


The 2017 Tommy McCarthy Memorial Scholarship was launched on Clare FM’s West Wind programme on 11th April last.  Applications for this competition will be accepted up to the closing date of 12th May and the winner will be announced the following week on the West Wind programme. The bursary will cover tuition fees—currently €140—and meals for the week, worth approximately €160.


Applicants  must be under 18 years, studying concertina  in Co Clare,  playing for two years,   and  be nominated by their tutors. A tutor may nominate up to 3 candidates and nominations should be forwarded (with email details) to  The adjudicating panel will then contact candidates and initiate the selection process.


Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy  wishes to acknowledge the support of the management at Clare FM, the presenters of the West Wind traditional music programme and the other presenters who participated in publicising this project.

Clare FM Scholarships

The Summer School is offering a number of tuition scholarships to Clare-based under 18s who are studying traditional music in the county. The scholarships are worth €140 each and are administered through  the Clare FM traditional music programme, The West Wind. Those wishing to apply for a tuition scholarship must be recommended by their music teacher who  should then  contact the West Wind Team on Clare FM. The winners will be announced on the radio before the commencement of the School.

© Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy 2018   Website: Tony Kearns