Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy 2021

Sráid na Cathrach, Co. an Chláir  3ú Iúil - 11ú Iúil.

The 49th Willie Clancy Summer School, Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare, Ireland. Saturday 3rd July to Sunday 11th July, 2021.

Paddy Jones (1947-2020)


An appreciation by Máire O'Keeffe who runs the master fiddle player class - aka 'The House of Lords' - at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy


The Sliabh Luachra fiddle player, Paddy Jones, passed away on May 30th 2020. He was a regular visitor to Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy for many years where he shared his music and knowledge with fiddle students young and old as part of the ‘House of Lords’ team.


Paddy Jones was born in Kilcusnan, Castleisland Co. Kerry in 1947. He began playing the fiddle at the age of ten years old. His teacher was the legendary Sliabh Luachra fiddle master, Pádraig O’Keeffe. As a young boy Paddy regularly walked the six miles to O’Keeffe’s house in Glountane for fiddle lessons. After three years learning from Pádraig O’Keeffe, Paddy then took lessons from Pat and Willie O’Connell from Cordal near Castleisland and was also influenced by Jack ‘The Lighthouse’ Connell from  Meendurragh, north of Ballydesmond. These fiddle players were all former pupils of Padraig O’Keeffe’s and instilled in Paddy a great love for the music of Sliabh Luachra. Jack Connell also encouraged Paddy to explore and appreciate music from other parts of Ireland and beyond. Paddy learned to read staff notation in school and he always felt that it helped him to greatly expand his repertoire.

Paddy Jones, July 2019.

Photo: Tony Kearns

Paddy became a music teacher and worked tirelessly spreading the music of Sliabh Luachra in Kerry and further afield. Teaching with the Kerry School of Music gave Paddy the opportunity to travel to Germany, France and as far away as Thailand. In 2004, American basketball coach, Rus Bradburg, arrived in Tralee, Co. Kerry to coach the Tralee Tigers. While there, he took fiddle lessons from Paddy Jones. They became firm friends and Paddy and his style of teaching and playing formed part of the subject of Bradburg’s 2006 publication “Paddy on the Hardwood. A Journey in Irish Hoops”. In 2016 Paddy was presented with the ‘Dedication to the Music of Sliabh Luachra Award’ during the Patrick O’Keeffe festival in Castleisland, Co. Kerry. His expertise on Sliabh Luachra’s history and music was evident in the many lectures which he gave on the subject down through the years.


Paddy’s fiddle playing was unique and his command and understanding of the instrument was inimitable. From Sliabh Luachra to Moscow, he was particularly renowned for the beauty of his slow air playing. He didn’t limit himself to the airs traditionally played in Sliabh Luachra but explored material from many different styles and was a big fan of the music of Scotland. Paddy’s exceptional bowhand was admired by all who had the opportunity to meet and hear him play in his native Sliabh Luachra or in the fiddle concerts during Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy.


Paddy Jones was the youngest of Padraig O’Keeffe’s pupils and his visits to the ‘House of Lords’ during the Willie Clancy week were eagerly anticipated. He was a valued member of the team and shared his music and deep knowledge freely with young and old. He was a gentleman and had time for everyone. During his years at the Willie Clancy Summer School he made many friends from all over the world and he will be missed and fondly remembered.


Our sympathies to his partner Rose, his children Deirdre, Reuben and Sarah and his extended family.


Suaimhneas síoraí dá anam uasal ceolmhar



© Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy 2020   Logo photo: Éamon McGivney