County Clare Culture: Theatres, Literature, Traditional Music
Clare is a county which is steeped in culture and tradition. It is one of Ireland's leading counties for Traditional Music with many famous players having been born and worked there.
Names from the past such as Willie Clancy, Tommy Peoples and Micho Russell are just a few of the greats and the tradition lives on with modern day players like Sharon Shannon and Martin Hayes continuing the tradition.
The Tulla Céilí Band and The Kilfenora Céilí Band are legendary.
There are numerous Traditional Irish Music festivals in Clare throughout the year, the most famous of which is the Willie Clancy Summer School which is held in Milltown Malbay each July.
Clare has a Bardic tradition going back to the 13th century. In 1974 Pádraig Ó Fiannachta stated that, about five hundred manuscripts of Clare origin were to be found, including a prose composition called Caithréim Thoirdealbhaigh, a history of Clare, or Thomond, from the advent of the Normans to the death of King Diarmaid O’Brien in 1364.
For more on the Bardic Tradition and history of Clare literature see:
Clare’s Gaelic Bardic Tradition by Michael Mac Mahon
Poet Brian Merriman (1747 - 1805) is famous for his epic poem Cúirt an Mheánoíche (The Midnight Court) and an annual event named after him, The Merriman Summer School, is held each year in County Clare.
Famous and controversial novelist Edna O'Brien (Novels include: Country Girls, The Girl with The Green Eyes, August is a Wicked Month) was born in Tuamgraney.
One of Clare's best theatres is The Glór Theatre in Ennis