Burren Fiddle Holidays panorama

Storms and Tunes

So, we’ve just had Ophelia pass over us – they say the worst storm to hit Ireland in 50 years. Here in Corofin we were lucky not to lose power and (I think) the damage did not go past a few fallen trees. The rest of the country is still regaining power in places, cleaning up and assessing the damage. The two days before she arrived were unusually warm and still, and the day after was bright, beautiful and sunny – like a day from 6 weeks earlier. Now it’s gone back to typical October weather, and I’m reading about the next storm, Brian. I hope he’s not too severe as I’m planning to go out walking in the Burren National Park at the weekend!

Tree down after Storm Ophelia at Burren Fiddle Holidays

Small tree down after Storm Ophelia

Leaves and lichen after storm ophelia at burren fiddle holidays

Leaves and lichen on the ground











Last night I played at the Cliffs of Moher Hotel in Liscannor. Met a couple who had eloped from Germany to get married at Hags Head. They had successfully flown in on the morning of the storm, and undertaken the 3 hour drive to their destination in the storm, all without incident – amazing. The only ‘hitch’ was that the registry office was closed due to bad weather, so they had to go on the morning of the ceremony instead. We played ‘Tabhair dom do Lámh’ (Give me Your Hand). Congratulations again if ye are reading this!

I spent some of last week in the company of friends  – musicians Hélène (flute and voice) and Olivier (fiddle). They were lucky to make it back to Brittany safely on the ferry, two days before the storm hit. Here is a photo of us playing (again in the Cliffs of Moher Hotel) with Kirsten Allstaff (flute), Neil Fitzgibbon (fiddle) and Moya Fitzgerald (fiddle) . The photo is by Seanie Hogan:

session at the cliffs of moher hotel liscannor october 2017 burren fiddle holidays

Session at the Cliffs of Moher Hotel, Liscannor, October 2017

We played quite a bit of music together and swapped tunes. Two or three are now on the top of my list to learn/dig deeper into. Here is a link to Hélène‘s Soundcloud profile, where you can hear her singing:

She also makes amazingly refined keys for wind instruments. Here’s a link to her website:


fiddle position hand lessons clare closeup

Laura’s Playing Style

Those already familiar with traditional music may be wondering about Laura’s own playing style. Growing up in West Cork, Laura enjoys playing slides and polkas and has a special place in her heart for Sliabh Luachra music. However, the Clare style is very different and to say that Clare players do not appreciate the slide and polka forms can sometimes be putting it mildly! More simply put, they rarely play those types of tunes. Understanding lift and drive in the different styles of reel playing in Clare (or indeed universally) is a process which Laura has been absorbed in for several years now. Her realisations are invaluable in advising others on ways to achieve the emphasis/sound they are aiming for. The skills needed to put these realisations into words have also enabled Laura to better communicate the style of the tunes she grew up with, making her a more rounded teacher. She plays in a fairly ornamented, smoothly-phrased style. She enjoys playing the various repertoires in the Clare sessions. She also enjoys playing some of the Sliabh Luachra tunes when she gets the chance. Her influences are too many to list, but they include John Coakley, Denis Murphy and Julia Clifford, Brian Rooney, Frankie Gavin and Tommy Peoples.

burren clare limestone pavement fiddle lessons holiday

Sightseeing and Local Activities

Clare is a beautiful, very varied county – from rolling green hills in the east, to the limestone pavement of the Burren to the rugged coastline from Loop Head to the Cliffs of Moher to the Flaggy Shore. The Information Point for the Burren is in Corofin village with the Burren National Park trailhead a further 4 miles away. Activities are many and of all different types – outdoor, indoor, suitable for families, the active or not so active! Burren Fiddle Holidays appreciate that many people like to explore by themselves in their free time and ‘do their own thing’. However, if you are without transport or would prefer a guided tour, Burren Fiddle Holidays may be able to show you some of the local sights.