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Willie Clancy


Willie Clancy (1918 – 1973) was a noted piper from Miltown Malbay in West Clare.

John and Willie first met in Carrigaholt in 1935 and enjoyed playing music together throughout their lives whenever they met.

Photo Details: Date: 1950’s, Location: Capel Street, Dublin. L-R: John Kelly Senior, John Kelly Junior, Willie Clancy, James Kelly, Anthony Kelly.

Credit: John Kelly Senior’s personal collection.


Detials: John Kelly, Tommy Potts, and Willie Clancy.

Credit: Courtesy of Mick O’Connor.


First hearing Willie Clancy play

“They built a hall then in Carrigaholt, two halls, I think. They built a parochial hall. That was the first time I heard Willie Clancy playin’ in person. He came with a play and I think Bob Fitzpatrick was the leader of the (drama) group and they had some play that they staged. I forget the name of the play but it’s well known around the stages for maybe ten or eleven years, but they brought Willie as a guest artist and he played the flute lovely. He was about, maybe, sixteen seventeen years or maybe twenty, that time or maybe more/but he looked very boyish.

And that was the first time I saw him. (I saw him) at a distance but that time we were too shy to go backstage for we thought we’d be bold and we had no courage. We were reared, like, in antidiluvian conditions, so to speak. Law and order was the order of the day and we weren’t pushy or foreward, like we are today.”

Details: Location: John’s house in Capel street. Date: 1979. 

Credit: Recorded by John Kelly Junior.


Meeting Willie Clancy

Details: John Kelly being interviewed about Willie Clancy. Location: Cultúrlann na hÉireann. Date: 1974. Collector: Séamus MacMathúna. 

Credit: © Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. Séamus MacMathúna Sound Collection Link.

Life & Family in Clare Musical Context

Willie Clancy