Welcome 2020 with the Best of 2019!

Happy 2020 from Burren Fiddle Holidays!

Looking forward to meeting you this year and playing lots of music!

2019 was a busy and diverse year here at Burren Fiddle Holidays. Here are some of the highlights:

The music year began with a brisk dusting-off of the cobwebs in February. January’s working and reflecting on music at home transitioned into some teaching work with children who are learning traditional music locally in Ennis. This was for Music Generation, a national Irish music education programme with the excellent mission of providing accessible and affordable music education in all genres to kids and young people. It is great as always to work with kids, to see the potential in each of them, to facilitate development of skills and inspire love of music wherever possible.

Playing at a musician’s Birthday Session, Lahinch, January 2019
Photo: Bob Singer

March brought the annual Corofin Festival – two miles from home – which thankfully last year was not threatened by the snowy ‘Beast from the East’. I had the pleasure of hearing some great musicians up from Waterford playing with some who are based more locally. On Sunday a blast of Kilfenora music followed, the likes of which is not so often heard these days.  

Playing at an Ennis Session, Early 2019 – photo by Neal Warshaw

During the Corofin festival and also later in the year, I was happy to be able to facilitate classes in other instruments – namely guitar and accordion –  as well as teaching fiddle. For the first time there were two classes running simultaneously at the house and how lovely it was to catch strains of other musical creativity happening in between the fiddle music. If you’re a fiddle player looking for classes and your friend or partner is looking for classes in another instrument, do enquire. Even if you’re not a fiddle player and are interested in staying, or are just passing through the area, send a message and I’ll see what can be organised.

Here’s a video recorded by one of my students back in April…I play two hornpipes, Harvest Home and The Rights of Man. I am playing them for the purpose of learning by ear. I play them very slowly as a set first, and then I play them a little faster. The slow version is plain, while the faster version has some ornamentation and variation. I’m playing my student’s fiddle, as he wanted to know what it sounded like when somebody else plays it!!

June brought the end of the spring teaching-term for some of my younger local students who I teach regularly. If you head over to the Burren Fiddle Holidays Facebook page and click on videos, you’ll see a video of us playing together in Cruises pub, Ennis. Thank you Eoin O’Neill for letting us join the session! It was much appreciated and it was really important as it was the first experience of session playing for the students.

Teaching in July – lovely students and beautiful surroundings near Corofin. Thank you to Colette for the photo.

As this blog increases in size, I realise I cannot begin to mention all the many great sessions I participated in or led last year, not to mention the festivals. Here are a few photos, however, to give a flavour of the season.

Playing viola at a ‘C’ Session during the Willie Clancy Week, Miltown Malbay, July 2019. Photo by Bob Singer.

Sending a big thank you to all of the fiddle-holiday students who came for both introductory and in-depth tuition and who stayed in the farmhouse in 2019. It is always a pleasure to share what music I can, to learn of the traditional music scene in other places and to widen connections in the trad music world.


Session in Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare, August 2019. Photo by Orla McGuinness
Family wedding in Scotland, September 2019. Photo by T. Ugur.
Ennis Trad Festival, November 2019. Photo by Orla McGuinness