Visiting musicians help bring the summer schools alive while local players – including some of the best in the world – ensure that a night at a trad session will be a night you will never forget.
Summer gatherings have provided a way of passing on traditional music for centuries – nomadic musicians would pass through a town, bringing new airs and styles with them. Today, summer schools provide the same service – offering tuition, craic and phenomenal music sessions each night. Come to listen or bring your instrument with you and join in.
Féile Chois Cuain – Traditional Music & Dance is held early in May in Louisburgh. This Féile is renowned for the quality of its informal sessions in pubs and in the streets all over the weekend. Everybody is welcome to play a tune, dance a step or sing a song. There are classes in fiddle, flute, tin whistle, concertina, accordion, harp and banjo, sean-nós singing, ballads and set dance.
Scoil Acla – Achill Traditional Summer School is staged each year in late July and early August. For three decades this summer school on Achill Island has fostered and cherished traditional music and culture. There are classes in tin whistle, concertina, harp, accordion, fiddle, banjo, uilleann pipes and concert flute. And for the non-musical there are classes in Irish dance, Irish language and traditional crafts such as basket-weaving.
Seosamh MacGabhann Summer School is an intimate school held in the tiny village of Kilmovee in June/July with classes in traditional music, sean-nós, dancing, Gaeilge and traditional singing. Evening sessions give students a chance to practise what they learned during the day; tutors join these sessions, ensuring the quality is always high.
Matt Molloy’s is an authentic traditional-style pub dating from 1896 in the centre of Westport town. The pub, on Bridge Street, is run by Matt Molloy, the legendary flute player with the Chieftains and Planxty. The venue is famous for its nightly traditional music sessions.
Weekly traditional music sessions can be experienced in most towns and villages throughout the county.