The CLARE SET
Mrs Elizabeth Crotty of Kilrush, Co Clare
Festival & Summer School that bears her name
It was back in 1885 that the youngest of the large Markham family, Elizabeth, was born in Cooraclare, west Clare. By the time of her death in 1960, she had become recognised as one of Ireland’s foremost exponents of the concertina.
In the intervening years, Elizabeth married Miko Crotty, and together they established Crotty’s Pub in Kilrush, which soon became a well known landmark and meeting place for musicians from Clare and beyond.
Elizabeth’s reputation grew, “due not only to the sweetness of her playing, but also to the sweetness and graciousness of the lady herself” – Ciarán MacMathúna, broadcaster and collector; Ciarán’s first exclusion to rural Ireland with RTE’s mobile recording unit was to record Mrs Crotty: this was the start of a lifelong friendship, and Ciarán was responsible for keeping Mrs Crotty’s public profile alive by playing her tunes and remembering her fondly on his radio programmes.
Michael Tubridy, a Clare man who gained much worldwide respect whilst a member of The Chieftains, has chronicled Mrs Crotty’s life, and was her student and great friend, and treasures her concertina to this day, and speaks on her life and music at festivals and student gatherings
The “Eigse Mrs Crotty” Traditional Music School and Festival was founded in 1996 to remember and celebrate the life of Mrs Crotty and to encourage young and old to take up the concertina and other fine traditional instruments, and to keep alive the traditions of Clare and the concertina. Visit: www.eigsemrscrotty.com for details.
This lively and well-supported event has a fine programme including:
- open-air ceílís (held in the market square),
- classes and concerts for set dancing, singing styles, fiddle and flute
- concertina tuition for all levels of ability
- Lectures and recitals
- A grand evening Concert
- Concertina Clubs, Singing and instrumental playing in informal pub sessions
Mrs Crotty was elected the first Co Clare President of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (the traditional music and song association of all Ireland), a position she held until her death in 1960: amongst the many messages of condolece received by the Crotty family was a telegram from Eamon de Valera, President of Ireland.
Contributed by: Rebecca Brew and the Committee of the Eigse Mrs Crotty, under the direction of Kieran Hanrahan. August 2007