Seamus Walshe - Traditional Irish Music
very first introduction into the world of traditional
music were the house dances in my native Co. Clare.
These dances died out in the late fifties/earssly
sixties but were the main source of entertainment
in the forties and fifties. A musician or two
be invited to play at a house and people from the
surrounding village and coutryside were invited.
Porter from a wooden barrel was provided, as well
as food, and people danced until the early hours.
Mooney, a very good fiddle player usually
the traditional Irish music in our house which
was located in the coutryside just outside
Clare. Josie was a great lover of cats and kept
at least 30 in his thatched house in Mullagh
Our house was always a great house for music
and my uncle was always inviting musicians
them in his van from all parts of west and north
Clare to play at our house.
the musicians I remember coming to play was
Gorman, a great traditional Irish music accordion
player from Miltown Malbay who emigrated to
Willie Callanan, a concert flute and brilliant
tin whistle player from Quilty, Michael Kelleher,
a great fiddle player from Ennistymon and Paddy
Killoughery, a great fiddle player from near
Cliffs of Moher were all regular players at our
house. I listened a lot to Mrs Crotty, the
concertina player from Kilrush and the legendary
Willie Clancy and many more. I was facinated
a boy by Bernie Normoyle who had a magical touch
playing marches on the tin whistle and Joe
another great tin whistle player from Quilty
who used to travel and play at all the cattle
in West Clare. There were three other great tin
whistle and flute players from around the
area namely John Fennell, J.P. Downes and Michael
played a lot and won many competitions in the
seventies with Gus Tierney who was the mainstay
of the famous Kilfenora Ceili Band and regarded
by many as the greatest ever bands man. I also
moved from West Clare to Galway where I met and
was taught to play the accordion by Tommy Coen.
Tommy was a great fiddle player and composer from
the Ballinakill area of east Galway. Among his
many compositions is the well known reel Christmas
Eve. I very soon met and played with Joe Burke,
the great Loughrea accordion player, as well as
Paddy Fahy, the legendary fiddle player and composer.
I was fortunate to have played with and spent
a lot of time with Joe Cooley before he died.
The fiddle has always been my favourite instrument
and I have based my style on the fiddle. The fiddle
players who made the greatest impression on me
were my teacher Tommy Coen, Seamus Connolly the
great fiddle player from Killaloe and Sean McGuire.