As anyone who’s visited Ireland can attest, Summer isn’t so much a season here as it is the timeframe from June to August. In the traditional Irish music scene, Summer Schools are a fully immersive experience offering amazing opportunities to improve one’s musicianship all the while having the mightiest craic with round-the-clock trad sessions. Many families organise their summers around the various schools, with a visit to the Fleadh—whatever town it’s held in—being the highlight. Below, we’ve drawn up a list of the most popular Summer Schools in Ireland. If we’ve missed one, or you know of Irish Summer Schools in other countries, be sure to add them in the comments for others to see. Enjoy!

Cairde na Cruite International Festival for Irish Harp:

25th-30th June 2023

Cairde na Cruite, since its establishment in 1960, has played a central role in the revival and development of interest in the Irish harp. While its original objectives espoused the provision of expert tuition and the publication of music for the Irish harp, its mission has evolved considerably over the last 50+ years and the society has made a significant contribution to the development of a vibrant dynamic role for the Irish harp, and its positioning within Irish traditional music. The festival promises quality workshops, sessions and concerts and an opportunity to engage with other harpers, gain a better understanding of Irish music, song and dance as well as learning more about the harp and its music. If you’re a harpist, this one’s not to be missed!

Blas International Summer School of Irish Music and Dance:

19th June – 30th June 2023

Blas has a well developed ethos where access to the best of tuition from some of the most famous musicians, singers and dancers is combined with classes and lectures given by experts in the academic study of our traditions. Held in the University of Limerick, home to the famous Irish World Academy of Music and Dance and usually features many of OAIM’s tutors.

Good man Willie!

The Willie Clancy Summer School (Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy):

1st-9th July 2023

This is a major, if not the major, traditional Irish music event held annually in Miltown Malbay, County Clare, named after the famous piper Willie Clancy. With instrument and dance classes, lectures, workshops, recitals and céilithe all through the week, it really has to be experienced to be believed!

National radio stations host programmes from the town during the festival, it’s that important! Known locally as “Willie Week” it even has it’s own wikipedia page. People come from far and wide, literally from all over the world, to experience the magic that is Willie Week and the beauty that is rural Clare. It’s like a pilgrimage for traditional music fans and musicians. Put it on your bucket list!

Earagail Arts Festival:

8th-23rd July 2023

Immersive and participatory experiences in circus, music, spoken word, theatre, from the western islands of the Gaeltacht to the lowlands of east Donegal, celebrating people, language and landscape. Including Home with The Henry Girls, five days of songwriting, pub sessions and concerts.

South Sligo Summer School:

9th-15th July 2023

The South Sligo Summer School was founded in 1987 in Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo to conserve and promote the rich tradition of music, song and dance of the area. With a full programme of classes, workshops, céilithe, concerts, recitals and talks, there is special emphasis on the old Sligo traditional style of playing.

The rugged beauty of Sligo as the backdrop to the pure drop, makes this an even more alluring festival to work your holidays around.

Joe Mooney Summer School:

15th-22nd July 2023

Every July Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim, plays host to the award winning Joe Mooney Summer School, a week long festival of traditional Irish music, song and dance named after the man who did so much to promote the cause of Leitrim and his beloved town.

Belfast Trad Fest:

23rd-29th July 2023

Belfast TradFest is a jam-packed week of traditional music, song and dance, featuring some of the best traditional musicians, singers & dancers from across these islands. Featuring a summer school and a full programme of concerts, workshops, talks, lectures, sessions, céilís & festival club, this week is the only one of its kind in Northern Ireland and brings together both the Irish and the Ulster-Scots musical traditions, in a shared celebration of culture & heritage.

O’Carolan Harp and Traditional Music Festival:

31st July – 7th August 2023

The O’Carolan Harp and Traditional Music Festival is held in Keadue, County Roscommon every August Bank Holiday.

The Festival was started in Keadue in 1978, to commemorate the famous Harper Turlough O’Carolan who lived in the area and is buried beside Keadue. Keadue is a small village of 200 people located on the shores of Lough Meelagh at the foot of the Arigna Mountains. The Festival includes Concerts, Ceili, Tuition on the Harp, Set Dancing and Harp Recitals.

The Fleadh:

6th – 14th August 2023

This event is the world’s largest annual celebration of Irish music, language, song and dance. It attracts in the region of 500,000 visitors to the host town every year. If you love Irish music, then set yourself the goal to attend a Fleadh at least once in your life! Mullingar welcomed the Fleadh last year with open arms, newly painted buildings, flower baskets and great anticipation and excitement of the locals. The town was looking her best. She’ll be sad to pass the baton on to Wexford for the 2024 Fleadh, but sure that’s how it goes!

Feakle Trad Festival:

9th-14th August 2023

Nestled alongside the Sliabh Aughty mountains, the village of Feakle in County Clare consists of a community of just around 800 people. With local school, church, post office and a few shops plus pubs and restaurants, it has all the character of a small and charming Irish village. The Feakle Trad Festival is full of music, song and dance – which also includes workshops.

Masters of Tradition:

23rd-27th August 2023

Musicians across the spectrum of Irish traditional music performing in Bantry, west Cork, curated by fiddle player Martin Hayes.

Desmond O’Halloran Music Weekend:

24th-26th August 2023

Celebrating the Inishbofin maestro with concerts, workshops, arts events and free traditional and folk music trails across island venues and landscapes. Promising an unmissable late summer reverie on the beguiling Connemara island, with contemporary music legends, Galway favourites and exciting new stars.


22 responses to “Summer Schools in Ireland for Traditional Irish Music”

  1. Kate Cogan Avatar
    Kate Cogan

    Please tell me about any basic tin whistle summer school experience.

    1. OAIM admin Avatar
      OAIM admin

      Hi Kate, we recommend the Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay. They have something for all ages, all levels.

  2. Mary C Avatar
    Mary C

    This is very helpful. Thanks for sending it out!

    1. OAIM admin Avatar
      OAIM admin

      You’re welcome Mary!

  3. Mary Dore Avatar

    June 26 – 30
    Craiceann – on Inis Oirr – a weeklong workshop for bodhran players of all skills

    1. OAIM admin Avatar
      OAIM admin

      Good one, thanks for that Mary.

  4. Maire George Avatar
    Maire George

    What about Scoil Achla in Achill . Last week in July. Brilliant

    1. OAIM admin Avatar
      OAIM admin

      Yes, thank you Maire, we forgot that. Great festival.

  5. Lavinia Burke Avatar
    Lavinia Burke

    Love this email! I’m going to Feakle with me little harp 🙂

    1. OAIM admin Avatar
      OAIM admin

      Good on you Lavinia! Hope you have lots of fun and great weather! ☀️

  6. Michael Dunlavey Avatar

    You can add this school – we booked for this summer- in Letterkenny

    1. OAIM admin Avatar
      OAIM admin

      Great, thank you for that Michael!

  7. Harold Thompson Avatar

    I’m looking forward to attending the second edition of Féile Oslo 2023 Summer school of Irish music and dance.

    1. OAIM admin Avatar
      OAIM admin

      That sounds wonderful Harold!

  8. Janelle Butler Avatar
    Janelle Butler

    Which one(s) are good for children? I have a 10 year old who plays fiddle.

    1. OAIM admin Avatar
      OAIM admin

      Willie Clancy all the way Janelle. They’ll love it!

  9. Monika Nicolas-Schmitz Avatar
    Monika Nicolas-Schmitz

    Fiddlers Green, Rostrevor
    26 to 30 July 2023

    1. OAIM admin Avatar
      OAIM admin

      Thanks for that Monika!

  10. Tom Boyle Avatar
    Tom Boyle

    Any updates or dates for OAIM’s face-to-face meeting this year?

    1. OAIM admin Avatar
      OAIM admin

      Hi Tom, so far we have the dates 8th & 9th November and more than likely it will be the same location, i.e., Falls Hotel, Ennistymon, Co Clare.

  11. Hilary Gilligan Avatar
    Hilary Gilligan

    Tubbercurry South Sligo Sumer School July straight after Milltown Malbay

    1. OAIM admin Avatar
      OAIM admin

      Nice one Hilary, thank you!

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