Fintan Vallely will give this year’s Breandán Breathnach lecture on the opening night of Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy, Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare.
Irish music in Irish art – the hidden is louder than the visual
Irish painters have from time to time portrayed music in Ireland; occasionally it is the music of ‘the plain people’. We have harpers representing a romantic view of the past, pipers as the continuation – or relic – of indigenous traditions, and we have fiddlers and dancers, occasional whistlers and flute players; in the twentieth century we have accordions, the session and the bodhrán. Each period of this art is a valuable technical record of what was and is, and also indicates what was acceptable, valued and desirable. But in such a story of attitudes, the absences are as important as the presences, and in this paper Fintan Vallely draws on both well-known and little-known art images, guided by opinions of experts, including NPU archivist Terry Moylan, Sighle Breathnach (Curator of Irish Art at the National Gallery of Ireland (1998–2009), Barra Boydell, and Caoimhin Mac Giolla Leith, UCD School Of Irish, Celtic, Folklore & Linguistics.
[picture by Pam O’Connell]