The Clare Tracin’ Ensemble

The Clare Tracin’ Ensemble features nine master Clare performers, All-Ireland champions in their respective instruments.  Through an exciting series of illustrated concerts, these artists lead their audiences through an exciting range of Irish traditional music, story and song.

The Clare Tracin’ Ensemble features Dr Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin and Dr Tim Collins on concertinas, Dr Geraldine Cotter (piano), Joan Hanrahan (fiddle), Sharon Howley (cello), Eimear Howley (fiddle, viola, banjo), Brid O’Gorman (flute), and singers Aoife Casey and Edel Vaughan.

Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráinProfessor Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin is a leader in the fields of traditional music, memory and diaspora research  (particularly in County Clare). His work has resulted in a vast collection of publications for subsequent generations. ‘Flowing Tides–History and Memory in an Irish Soundscape’ (2016, Oxford University Press, New York) was launched at the 2016 Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ennis. His A Pocket History of Irish Traditional Music (1998, O’Brien Press, Dublin) has remained in print selling over 15 000 copies. He has yet another O’Brien Press book scheduled for 2017.

Piper, concertina master and former member of the Kilfenora Céilí Band, he has held two distinct endowed university Chairs of Irish Studies in North America. Formerly Jefferson Smurfit Chair of Irish Studies (Univ Missouri, St Louis, 2000-09), he is now Johnson Chair of Quebec and Canadian Irish Studies (Concordia Univ., Montreal).

Tim Collins

Dr Tim Collins is an acclaimed composer and researcher in the field of Irish studies. As part of the Centre For Landscape Studies, NUI Galway, he has pioneered new research in the field.  For the last 20 years has has been part of Ireland’s legendary Kilfenora CeilÍ Band. As a prolific composer, he has helped catapault the KCB into its presitgious position today.

A prominent concertina teacher, Dr Collins is co-director of Consairtín: The National Concertina Convention, and director of ICE: The Irish Concertina Ensemble. His thesis focused on Jack Mulkere, musician and pedagogue, who pioneered Irish music education in the 1920s, as well as being the founding father of the Aughrim Slopes Céilí Band.

Geraldine CotterDr Geraldine Cotter is the 3rd ‘musical doctor’ in the ensemble. Her research completed a missing piece of the Clare musical story.  Her long awaited book Transforming Tradition Irish Traditional Music in Ennis, County Clare 1950-1980was launched at the 2016 Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ennis and traces the evolution of music in Ennis.

A tin whistle and piano player, teacher and researcher, Geraldine lectures in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. As Clare’s First Lady of the Piano, Geraldine grew up with Gearóid and has played with most of the major traditional ensembles of Clare including Shaskeen etc.  She has recorded on over 20 albums including her debut solo album Piano+.

Joan HanrahanJoan Hanrahan is a well known County Clare fiddler, teacher and broadcaster.  For the last 17 years, Joan has been best known to listeners worldwide as the engaging host of The West Wind, a weekly Monday evening 2 hour traditional Irish music programme on Clare FM. (

Born in rural West Clare, Joan grew up immersed in a rich cultural heritage where traditional Irish music, dance and song were a natural part of everyday life. With a master’s degree in ethnomusicology, she has taught at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy since 1993 and has coached many students and groups All-Ireland successes.

Joan is a member of the Turloughmore Ceili Band and plays regularly with flute player Bríd O’Gorman and accordion player Andrew Macnamara.

Brid O'GormanBrid O’Gorman, from Liscannor, is one of Clare’s most noted and versatile flute players. A stalwart of local sessions, she balances her day job of teaching with nightly performances and teaching future generations. She frequently performs with Joan Hanrahan and Eoin O’Neill  as well as with the Turloughmore Ceili Band.

Eimear and Sharon HowleyEimear and Sharon Howley join the Clare Ensemble from Kilfenora Céilí Band where Eimear plays fiddle, viola and banjo and Sharon performs on cello. Both sisters are former members of the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland.

Edel VaughanSinger and flautist Edel Vaughan holds numerous All Ireland titles and was prominently featured throughout the 2016 Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ennis singing with Sean Ó Sé and with the Kilfenora Céilí Band.

Aoife CaseyAoife Casey of Shannon, holds a title as Munster Champion in Ladies Singing in both Irish and English.

Far from Home – A Global Celebration of Clare’s Musical Diaspora

*2016 Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, (Ennis, Glór)

Tracin’ the lives of Clare musicians who left Ireland for foreign shores.

“Love and Marriage in the Musical Landscape of County Clare”,

*2015, Merriman Summer School 

Tracin’ the role of County Clare women and the many other Irish women who influenced traditional music throughout the centuries