Consairtín an Chláir - Mary MacNamara


Thursday 17 August





Mary MacNamara

Mary grew up in the east Clare village of Tulla which is renowned for its heritage of Traditional Music. She learned her music from and was fortunate to have played music with some of the masters of traditional music from the area such as P Joe Hayes founder of the Tulla Céilí Band, Bill Malley and Joe Bane from Feakle, Mikey Donoghue from Ballinahinch, John Naughton from Kilclaren and also the legendary piper and fiddler Martin Rochford.

Her style of music is deeply set in the mellow rhythm and swing of east Clare. While Mary has performed mostly as a solo musician all over the world she has also toured with Martin Hayes, The Tulla Ceili Band, the all women group Macalla and flute player Catherine McEvoy.

She is also renowned as a teacher of traditional music and has fostered a whole new generation of young musicians in East Clare. Mary’s first CD, Traditional Music from East Clare (released in 1994), was widely acclaimed and voted by the Irish Times as traditional music album of the year. The following 3 releases were received with similar accolades and her latest album The Lady’s Cup of Tea, a collaboration with her daughter Sorcha Costello, was described by Frankie Gavin as “Sincere, hypnotic and an overall delight”.

Sorcha Costello

Sorcha Costello has been playing music with her mother Mary MacNamara since before she can remember. Now aged 21, Sorcha has already had an illustrious career having won various All Ireland Fleadhanna Cheoil solo, duet and band accolades. She has toured Ireland, England and America with the 2015 annual Comhaltas tour but it is as a solo musician that she has attracted most interest. She has performed as a solo musician on national radio and TV and her performance at the 2016 Cork Folk Festival fiddle recital was very well received. She has contributed to several recordings to date including, Unfolding – Young Musicians from East Clare.  

On the much acclaimed recently released album “The Lady’s Cup of Tea the magical empathy that results from a mother/ daughter musical bond is captured. Both Mary and Sorcha also play solo selections on this album.

Dr. Geraldine Cotter

Dr. Geraldine Cotter (Piano and Tin Whistle) from Ennis with family musical connections in Kilmihil in West Clare, completes the unification of these diverse playing styles. Geraldine’s mother Dympna was a highly acclaimed pianist and music teacher. Musicians such as Sonny Murray (Concertina), John Kelly (Concertina/Fiddle), Peadar O’Loughlin (Fiddle/Flute/Uilleann Pipes) and Dr. Charlie Lennon (Piano/Fiddle) have all had a profound musical influence on Geraldine’s playing style. From Ennis, County Clare, Dr. Geraldine Cotter is a tin whistle and piano player, teacher and researcher, currently lecturing in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.

Sinéad Mulqueen

Sinéad Mulqueen is 20 years old and is a native of O’Callaghan’s Mills in East Clare.  Currently she holds the All Ireland Senior title in both Concertina and Accompaniment and also has All Ireland titles in all the under age groups, Concertina, Accompaniment and with the Tulla Junior Céilí Band. In 2016/2017 she was part of the Comhaltas Tour that performed throughout Ireland and Britain and has participated in cultural exchange trips with East Clare young musicians to Norway and the Shetland Islands.  Sinéad is a member of the group Cléite and also plays with the Ennis Seisún Group during the summer at Cois na hAbhna. Presently, studying Music and English at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick and is also building up a strong reputation as a teacher of both concertina and traditional piano.