Project Background

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Leagan Gaeilge anseo
Following the renaissance of traditional Irish music in the 1960s, the importance of Clare as an area where the traditions of previous generations continue to be passed by direct transmission to the present generation became internationally recognised. The unbroken inheritance and the relative isolation of the region have produced a traditional culture unrivalled in its richness, diversity and complexity. This is an acknowledged factor in attracting many people with a deep interest in traditional culture to both visit and live in the area.
 The recognition by the people of West Clare of the importance of their traditional culture has been a major factor in the success of the Willie Clancy Summer School. The School was founded in Miltown Malbay in 1973, with the aim of facilitating the transmission of traditional styles and repertoire to future generations of musicians, singers and dancers. Annually, it engages over 180 teachers and has a student roll exceeding 1,500.
‘Casual’ visitors to the region during the week are estimated in excess of 20,000 and, although visitor numbers peak during the week of the school, there are now increasing numbers of performers and students from home and abroad visiting the area throughout the year. However, at present, there are no dedicated facilities for the study, interpretation and preservation of the region's traditional culture.
The success of the Willie Clancy Summer School and also of such organisations as The Burren College of Art and the Irish World Music Centre at the University of Limerick, indicates the possibilities for a successful third level project such as that which is now proposed.