Thursday, 12 May 2011

Clare County Library Celebrates Bealtaine

Brian Lawlor in Shannon

Clare County Library kicked off festivities for the Bealtaine Festival, which celebrates creativity in older age, on Tuesday, 3rd May and Wednesday, 4th May 2011 with a talk entitled ‘The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance 1955-1970’ given by Brian Lawler. Brian completed a 5 year audio archive project in conjunction with the Irish Traditional Music Archive (, Merrion Square, Dublin. During the period 1999 to 2004, he recorded interviews with 70 people associated with the period, including Céilí band founders and members, promoters, dancers and radio personnel. He obtained a total of 42 hours of recorded material. All the edited recordings are available to the public in ITMA. RTE Radio 1 broadcast two one-hour programmes on the project in 2008. As founder of the Ardellis Céilí Band,, Brian was actively involved himself on the road with the band throughout the period. He has put together a talk on the project which consists of a review of the work, and includes short extracts from some of the field interviews and also some samples of the music of the period. He gave the first review of the project in Boston College Library USA in September 2005, and since then has given many more reviews in libraries, colleges, and arts centres throughout Ireland. Brian delighted audiences in the De Valera Public Library, Ennis, in Kilfinaghty Public Library, Sixmilebridge and in Sean Lemass Public Library, Shannon. All in attendance thoroughly enjoyed the talk. Long after Brian was finished with his session people spoke to him about their own memories of Céilí music and the dances that took place throughout the county. Some Clare musicians featured in Brian’s interviews including John Lynch, leader of the Kilfenora Céilí Band, and his late uncle Jerry Lynch. John himself was in attendance at the talk in Ennis.

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