Making music the Wild Atlantic Way!

Paul Harrigan, Uilleann Pipes, Ceol na Coille Summer School of Traditional Music, Donegal, Coláiste Ailigh, WAW, Wild Atlantic WayThe Ceol na Coille Summer School of Irish traditional music in Letterkenny, is now established as part of the summer scene along the Wild Atlantic Way.

And the school’s got an additional boost this year after Donegal was named the world’s coolest place to visit by National Geographic. Ceol na Coille runs from Monday 10th to Friday 14th July 2017. It’s followed immediately this year by the big Folk and Roots weekend of the Earagail Arts Festival in Letterkenny and elsewhere in Donegal.

School organiser Paul Harrigan, an All-Ireland winner on pipes and piano accordion, says it’s looking like another record-breaking year. “This is our sixth year of the Summer School and it’s getting bigger and better every year,” he said. “We’re in the heart of Donegal, which is famous for its traditional music. We have a great team of tutors and we pride ourselves on being friendly and welcoming.”

Ceol na Coille is based at Coláiste Ailigh in Letterkenny, a state-of-the-art Irish language secondary school. It’s the perfect spot to host classes, workshops and recitals. There are sessions and concerts nightly in Letterkenny and surrounding area. The long list of tutors includes many familiar names. The fiddle teachers this year include Gerry O’Connor and former Altan-er Paul O’Shaughnessy. Other visiting tutors include the acclaimed piper Padraig McGovern from Cavan, Robbie Harris-Bodhran and accordionist Martin Quinn.

But Donegal itself has lots to offer students of trad, with tutors such as John Lee (flute), Michael Carey (whistle), Joleen ‘Henry’ McLaughlin (harp) and lots more. Ceol na Coille features an ‘introduction to music’ for young children. There are Irish language classes for adults. For teachers, there’s a week-long course approved by the Department of Education and Skills, headed up by Dr Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain of the Univeristy of Limerick.

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