The long-standing musical and cultural connection between Milwaukee and County Clare will be further strengthened next month when a travelling group from the State of Wisconsin visit Miltown Malbay.
Oidhreacht an Chláir will host the group of 23 who will visit The Music Makers of West Clare before participating in and enjoying music sessions in venues throughout the home of the Willie Clancy Summer School.
County Clare’s links with Milwaukee go back to 2001 when Clare County Council, led the first Clare delegation to the annual Milwaukee Irish Fest. The world’s largest Irish culture festival, which attracts up to 150,000 festivalgoers each August, has provided a major boost to the tourist industry in Clare during the past 15 years.
Rip O’Dwanny is among the many business and cultural connections made during this time. In one of his increasingly regular organised package tours to Ireland through Harp & Eagle Limited, O’Dwanny will be bringing a group to Miltown Malbay on September 21st.
“We are delighted to be able to host this visit and in doing so, acknowledge Rip for his Cathaoirleach of Oidhreacht an Chláir,(www.oac.ie), the local voluntary community heritage organisation which set up the new Visitor Centre.
“Rip has given tremendous support to the project and recently provided funding towards the production of the Companion Guide for our visitor attraction. We look forward to publicly acknowledging his support for the centre when he visits with a group of 23 people from the U.S. Mid West next month,” added Mr. Hughes.
First opened in 2013, The Music Makers of West Clare (www.themusicmakers.ie) provides visitors to Miltown Malbay with an insight into the music, song and dance of West Clare, an area long synonymous with Irish traditional music. With two specially produced videos, one on the history of Irish music and the other a recording of a typical local Irish music session, and a series of 22 illustrated panels, the visitor attraction provides a narrative of traditional music and local history and of the major personalities and events that shaped traditional music over the years. It has been recognised by Fáilte Ireland as one of the 150 Secrets of the Wild Atlantic Way.
“During the group’s visit to Miltown Malbay, following their hour-long tour of The Music Makers of West Clare on the Flag Road they will have dinner in the town before enjoying a traditional music session in the venues in the town that have a lengthy association with Irish traditional music,” stated Mr. Hughes.
“Rip, through his tours, visits Clare between 6 times and 11 times every year and is making a significant contribution to the local economy while at the same time raising the profile of some of the county’s newest attractions, such as The Music Makers of West Clare. We look forward to building on this relationship next month,” he concluded.
The upcoming visit is also being welcomed by Paul Madden, Chair of Clare Tourism.
“American visitors to Ireland have always been fascinated with the country’s rich heritage, including its folklore, history, archaeology, geology, genealogy, and natural and built heritage,” stated Mr. Madden. “Clare’s marketing presence at events such as Milwaukee Irish Fest continues to deliver real, positive dividends for the local tourism sector. It is important that we continue to undertake promotional work at home and abroad to harness the potential that the US market offers.”
Oidhreacht an Chláir (www.oac.ie) continues to collect and store all archival material, both audio and paper-based, and is currently working on an international system of reference for ease of access online. As part of its commitment to the promotion of the living musical tradition, it also organises annual musical events, in particular Ireland’s greatest festival devoted to the concertina, the Concertina Cruinniú, a mid-February weekend of tuition, public lectures and concerts led by Noel Hill.