Fleadh Weekly Update No 17 – Clare Champion

Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann Inis 2016

Seachtain na hÉigse - Fleadh Lectures 

Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann has three very well-known elements: competitions, concerts and street sessions. However, the Fleadh also hosts a range of events focusing on Irish culture and learning. These include the Fleadh Summer School Scoil Éigse and a programme of lectures and related events featuring a range of distinguished authors, lecturers and historians. The Ennis Fleadh Committee is proud to present this year’s programme of lectures which ranges from the Famine to Irish music, song, dancing, language and poetry and medieval architecture as well as a number of events around 1916 and World War 1 themes. The following is a sample of some of the lectures, authors and historians:


Dr. ÁineHensey

Lecture Title: Tomas Ó hAodha, 1866-1935

Tomás Ó hAodha was born in MiltownMalbay in 1866 and spent most of his adult life in Dublin where he worked as a teacher and school principal. He was active in the establishment of Conradh na Gaeilge and was responsible for the first translation into Irish of the modern map of the country. His plays were regularly performed during the early years of Oireachtas na Gaeilge and he also published novels, stories for children, teaching manuals and poetry. Today he is probably best known for songs such as ‘Farewell to MiltownMalbay’ and ‘Nora Daly’.ÁineHensey is a well-known Irish music broadcaster on Raidio na Gaeltachta


DrCiarán Ó Murchadha

Lecture Title: Figures in a Famine Landscape

Ciarán Ó Murchadha is a leading historian of the Great Famine, author of the highly acclaimed, The Great Famine: Ireland's Agony 1845-1852 (2011). His lecture is entitled ‘Figures in a Famine Landscape’, the subject of his most recent book of the same name, and it examines the careers of a number of individuals involved in different public capacities in a particularly afflicted district of Ireland during the Great Famine. The thinking and actions of each had a major effect on the existences - and the survival - of scores of thousands of the destitute poor in Ireland at a crucial point in the country's history.


Cormac Ó Comhraí

Lecture Title: Peadar Clancy: Easter Rising Hero Bloody Sunday Martyr

Born into a Fenian family in Cranny, west Clare, Peadar Clancy was one of the most significant revolutionaries to emerge from Clare during the twentieth century. He became involved at a young age with both Sinn Féin and the Gaelic League. A draper by trade he moved to Dublin in search of work. There he joined “C” Company, First Battalion of the Irish Volunteers. He fought in the Easter Rising, distinguished himself because of his bravery and was promoted in the field. Clancy was one of those sentenced to death after the Rising. He was spared, however, and was imprisoned in Britain. Corman Ó Comhhraí is an historian and author of the recently published book “Peader Clancy: Easter Rising Hero Bloody Sunday Martyr.”


Martin Breen and Dick Cronin

Lecture Title: The Castles & Tower Houses of Co. Clare

The lecture "Castles and Towerhouses of Co. Clare” is based on twenty years of survey work by Martin Breen and RisteardUaCroinin, commissioned by the Office of Public Works and recently published, on-line, by the National Monuments Service, as individual sites, on the website archaeology.ie. The survey includes architectural and archaeological descriptions, illustrations of features, plans, historical research and photographic records of 214 Gaelic Towerhouses and three Norman castles, in the county and is considered the most comprehensive survey of late mediaeval secular buildings in Ireland.


Dr. Geraldine Cotter

Lecture Title:MolanÓigeagustiocfaidhsí: incredible agents of change in traditional Irish music in Ennis

The Ennis that is now recognised as a major hub of Irish traditional music did not always exist. During the 1970s, traditional music practice became a ‘living tradition’, and became increasingly relevant to Ennis musicians and to the life of the town in general.  The lecture traces the change, which was generated thanks to progressive minded key individuals, organisations and institutions, who acting together, not only sustained but also spread the practice that barely existed in the 1950s.   From Ennis, Dr. Geraldine Cotter is a tin whistle and piano player, teacher and researcher, currently lecturing in Music Education at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.


Dr. MéabhNíFhuartháin

Lecture Title: 'The Fleadh Down in Ennis' - Narrating the Fleadh Experience

This lecture examines Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in 1956 when it came toEnnis for the first time. The occasion was forever immortalised in Robbie McMahon¹s song 'The Fleadh Down in Ennis¹ and the lecture will use the song and a multitude of archive material to provide a whistle-stop account of the Fleadh.  As the Fleadh returns to Ennis once again in this year of commemoration, the lecture is a timely reminder of the early years of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann and its wider role in the development of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. DrMéabhNíFhuartháin is currently Lecturer in Irish Music Studies at the Centre for Irish Studies in NUI Galway.


DrGearóid Ó Tuathaigh

Lecture Title: Coimisiún na Gaeltachta (1925/26) agusContaeanChláir

Professor Emeritus in History,Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh is one of the great historians of his generation. Professor Ó Tuathaigh has garnered enormous respect as a teacher, writer, university leader and public intellectual for over 40 years.A native of Limerick, Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh came to study at University College Galway (now NUI Galway) in the 1960s. Following post-graduate studies at University College Galway and Cambridge University, he returned to take a full-time post in History in 1971, and soon established his academic reputation with his book Ireland before the Famine.A popular lecturer, he became known more widely during the 1970s through his media contributions and public lectures in both Irish and English.


Maura Mulligan

Lecture Title: Call of the Lark

This is a story of one woman’s immigrant journey to spiritual and emotional independence. Maura Mulligan author of the book Call of the Lark will be accompanied by fiddle player, Marie O’Reilly.Maura Mulligan is a native of Co. Mayo and emigrated to the USA in 1958. After entering and leaving a convent, she joined the NYC Department of Education where she taught English as a Second language for 16 years. She performed as lecturer and step dancer at multi-cultural celebrations in New York.


Dr. Gearóid ÓhAllmhuráin

Lecture title: Lost Generation – Revisiting Clare’s Sound scape in the 1950s

Ennis native, Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin is a leading authority on Irish traditional music and is a Professor at the School of Irish Studies at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. He has recently published a book Flowing Tides – History and Memory in an Irish Soundscape which chronicles 200 years of music in Co. Clare. In it he explores the ‘cultural currents’, historical events and musical characters that shaped traditional music in Clare. He is a champion concertina player and is a former member of the Kilfenora Céilí Band.


Other lectures during Seachtain na hÉigse include – Crusheen Lancers’ Set by Dr. Tim Collins;

The Go-Betweens: Poetry and the Musical Cultures of the 18th century by Dr. Michael Griffin; Out of Darkness – The Blind Piper of Inagh by Howard Marshall; Clare and the Great War by Dr. Joe Power; History of Cois na hÁbhna by Pat Liddyand Songs of 1916 by Donnchadh Ó Cinnéide. Lectures as Gaeilge include: Lámhscribhinníagusfilí an Chláir le Dr. Eibhlís Ni Dheá; SaolagusSaotharAindrias Mac Cruitín le Tomás Ó Nialláin; Gnéithe de LogainmneachaIarthar an Cḻáir le Donal de Barra agusTradisiúnAmhráníochta 1916 le Tim Dennehy.