Píobaire, An, Volume 9, Issue 5, Page 20

Píobaire, An, Volume 9, Issue 5, Page 20
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periodical Publisher
Na Píobairí Uilleann
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Chairman, NPU
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An Píobaire
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Píobaire, An 9 5 20 20131126 20 ~ Statue of Willie Clancy ~ Willie and Muiris – Céad Míle Fáilte O NE LAMENTED ABSENCE from the Willie Clancy statue unveiling would have to be that of the late Muiris Ó Rócháin, close friend and admirer of Willie. RTE’s cov- erage of Muiris Ó Rócháin’s passing and fu- neral eerily recalls its coverage of Willie Clancy’s funeral where Muiris was asked for comment back in 1973. On Joe Shannon’s last trip to Ireland and Mil- town Malbay about 1994, Joe (and three of his children) turned up at the entrance to the Willie Week Piping Recital with no pre-announce- ment. When Muiris Ó Rócháin spied Joe from behind the ticket table, he instantly leapt across it, welcomed Joe and his children, told them Peter Laban that their money was no good there, and es- corted them to seats inside. Muiris then alerted the pipers backstage and all of them acknowl- edged Joe during their performance, with most coming down to shake Joe’s hand directly from the stage after finishing. Joe McKenna gave Joe Shannon a big bear hug. Joe could only shake his head in amazement as he recounted all this to me back in Chicago. A few years ago, Sean McKiernan told me that, when he went to Willie Clancy for lessons, Willie would give him a great welcome where Willie would embrace Sean’s hand with both of his hands and then would thank Sean for paying the visit and showing interest in what Willie had to offer. Willie Clancy was gone before my interest in pipes had started but I knew that wel- come too, through Muiris Ó Rócháin, as Joe Shannon had, and as had all of us who had ever attended the Willie Clancy Summer School or stopped in Miltown for a bit of music. The new statue shows Willie Clancy with a Taylor set that had been brought over for him by the Looneys (or O’Looneys) of County Clare and Chicago. Tom Looney used to corre- spond with Willie and would mention to Joe Shannon when he ran into him that ‘Willie Clancy was asking about you’. I hope to ex- amine them some day in hopes of determining who played them in Chicago. Jim McGuire, Chicago The statue is the work of sculptor Shane Gilmore, who was assisted by Adam Pomeroy in coming up with the original design. It was cast in Seamus Connolly’s art foundry in Kilbaha. Barry and Ju- dith Merrill, an American couple who attend the Willie Clancy Summer School, and who have a house in co. Clare, commissioned and paid for the work. Liam O’Flynn unveiled the statue, and other speakers included Harry Hughes and Pat Mitchell.
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An Píobaire, Volume 9, Issue 5

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