A Seasonal Celebration with Special Guests: The Dublin Lasses

The Dublin Lasses: Mary Corcoran, Majella O’Beirne and Aoife O’Connor

Fear a’ Tí: Des Geraghty

Contributions from the floor will also be very welcome.

Cois Life Bar, Liberty Hall Dublin 1

Wednesday, November 30: 8pm (Doors open from 7.30pm)

Admission: €5


Fiche Bliain Ag Ceol: Twenty Years Making Great Music

The late Jimmy Kelly and Pat Goode, along with John Kelly & the Kelly Gang

A very special night of music, song and poetry to mark the twentieth anniversary of the foundation of the Club sharing memories of many friends old and new.

Fear a’ Tí: Des Geraghty

Contributions from the floor will also be very welcome.

Cois Life Bar, Liberty Hall Dublin 1

Wednesday, October 12: 8pm (Doors open from 7.30pm)

Admission: €5

The Rathcoole Trio: Seán Keane, Mary Corcoran and Gay McKeon

The Rathcoole Trio: Seán Keane (right), Mary Corcoran (bottom left) and Gay McKeon

To open the new Clé club season after the summer break, we are delighted to announce a special performance by Seán Keane (fiddle), Mary Corcoran (piano) and Gay McKeon (uilleann pipes). Unfortunately there is no pre-booking for this event. As usual, singers and performers are always welcome from the floor.

Bean a’ Tí: Sally Corr

Wednesday, September 7: 8pm.

Cois Life Bar, Liberty Hall Dublin 1


Mick Moloney

Mick Moloney

The Clé Club community is shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden death of Mick Moloney – whose accomplishments as a performer, researcher and promoter of traditional music – especially the music of the Irish diaspora in the United States – cannot be overstated. Mick has been deservedly showered with accolades throughout his lifelong career in music.

We in the Clé Club were fortunate to have a wonderful contribution – both in words and song – from Mick during lockdown in a Zoom session on the flow of music between Ireland and the US. The link to Mick’s contribution is below.

We were also looking forward to having Mick fulfil his often expressed wish to play live at the Club in the near future. Alas, that cannot happen now.

To all Mick’s family and friends, we express our sincere condolences on this desperately sad news. May he rest in peace.

Mick’s contribution to the Clé Club Zoom session in April 2021 may be viewed on YouTube at https://youtu.be/h6CEmS6KvpE

An extensive obituary for Mick Moloney – including tributes from many colleagues and friends in music – is available on the Fonn website at https://fonn.online/2022/07/29/omos-mick-moloney/


Taking Liberties:
A musical salute to the Tenters

Legacy of the Liberties: Zozimus (left), James Clarence Mangan (top centre), P.J. McCall (bottom centre), Jimmy O’Dea (top right) and Tommie Potts (bottom right).

2022 marks the centenary of the development of The Fairbrothers Fields – now known as The Tenters – in Dublin’s Liberties, which has been one of the most significant public housing schemes in ireland.

Tenters 100 and the Cle Club will proudly celebrate this landmark event  in music, song and story on Wednesday July 6, in the Hiatt Centric Hotel in Dean Street in the Coombe. The session begins at 8pm with doors open from 7.30pm.

Where better to sing of the historic Tenters and the Liberties and its musical legacy from Zozimus to Biddy Mulligan with a nod to James Clarence Mangan, Jimmy O’Dea, P.J. McCall and the great traditional musicians from the area like the remarkable Tommie Potts.


Summer Time Has Come

The Dublin Lasses

The Clé Club prepares for summer with a session of music, song and verse with a powerful line-up of special guests featuring the Dublin Lasses, Muintir Uí Fhaoláin, based in Gorey, and Dublin poet, Declan Collinge.

The fear an tí for the evening is Des Geraghty. Performers from the floor are, as ever, most welcome.

Please join us on Wednesday June 1 from 7.30pm to 10.30pm in person in the Cois Life Bar, Liberty Hall, Dublin 1.


Celebrating May Day

International Day of Workers’ Solidarity

Eric Fleming

The Clé Club will mark May Day with a special session of music, song and verse with popular guest, Eric Fleming.

The fear an tí for the evening will be Jimmy Jordan. Performers from the floor will be welcome.

Please join us on Wednesday May 4 from 8pm to 10.30pm in person in the Cois Life Bar, Liberty Hall, Dublin 1.

No to War, Militarisation and the Destruction of the Planet

Songs of Protest – Songs of Hope

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In the face of twin existential threats to the planet in the form of escalating war and militarisation on the one hand and the continuing destruction of the natural environment on the other, the Clé Club is offering an evening of reflection in the form of music, song and verse.

The fear an tí for the evening will be Fergal Costello. Performers from the floor will be welcome.

Please join us on Wednesday April 6 from 8pm to 11pm in person in the Cois Life, Liberty Hall, Dublin 1.


We dare to dream of an island of equals

Live in-person launch of Des Geraghty’s new book

Des Geraghty

Clé Club chair, Des Geraghty, is preparing for the live in-person launch of his family memoir, We Dare to Dream of an Island of Equals, in the Hodges Figgis bookshop in Dawson St, Dublin 2. This follows the online launch (via Zoom) in December.

The live launch of the book will be performed by former Labour Party leader, Pat Rabbitte, while Dr. Aoife Brady of the National Gallery of Ireland (who has been revealed as a relative of Des since the publication of the book) will handle the introductions.

The launch will also feature songs by Clé Club regular, Noel O’Grady; music from Clé Club guest and fiddle master, Seán Keane; and poetry from Gerry Smyth.

Although numbers are limited, some places may still be available. Would-be attendees should contact Rosheen Callender by text to 087-2551746 or e-mail at rosheen.callender@gmail.com.


The Geraghty Family (Des is bottom left)

You may strain your muscles
To brag of Brussels

From Tithe Wars to Broadway:
A musical odyssey through the Irish Midlands

Róisín Gaffney

The Clé club returns to Liberty Hall on Wednesday March 2, leaving behind the world of frozen screens, muted singers and echoey pipers.

Join us in person at 8pm in the Cois Life Bar in Liberty Hall, as we go on a musical odyssey through the heart of Ireland with Róisín Gaffney as your tour guide.

Over the past two years Róisín has been on  a mission to assert the rightful place of her native heath and the adjoining baronies and beyond in the canon of Irish music and song.

Joined by musicians, Clare Eustace, Joe Ryder and Tadgh O’Sullivan, Róisín will celebrate the rich lore of the Midland counties, singing songs of town and county, of rows, ructions, and rebellion – and telling the story of the songs and the often neglected men and women who wrote them.

Fear An Tí: Séamus Dooley

Singers welcome from the floor.

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Ómós: Mary Maher

The death of Mary Maher has left us bereft. Mary was not just a founder member, she was an inspirational figure – in many ways the beating heart of the Clé, full of creativity, imagination and generosity of spirit. While others have recalled her multifaceted contribution to the public realm it is fitting that we celebrate her contribution to the Clé Club while mourning her loss.

Mary died at St Vincent’s Hospital, Elm Park, Dublin having been taken ill at Shannagh Bay Nursing Home, Bray, where she had been living with dementia. She died peacefully, surrounded by her loving family to whom we extend our sympathy. It is a source of comfort to know that she died peacefully in the loving care of the staff at St Vincent’s Hospital and that she had been nursed with kindness in Shanagh Bay.

We will all miss her, but our loss is nothing compared to the loss felt by her beloved daughters, Maeve and Nóra, sister Bonnie, brother Jerry, grandsons, Nion, Kit and Finn and the wider Maher and Geraghty family circle in Ireland and America.

Mary Maher was a towering presence in the Clé Club. She was a diligent committee member. She never just turned up for meetings, she arrived. Mary bustled in with ideas, proposals and sometimes demands, often impatient, forever encouraging the Club to aim higher. That also informed her contribution to the Larkin Hedge School just as it had her journalism and her distinguished work as a trade unionist and equality activist.

Her own musical tastes were catholic, even eclectic. She was reared on the music of John McCormack, beloved of Irish Americans in Chicago, and at the drop of a hat or the clink of a wine glass could burst into songs her father loved: Molly Brannigan, Teaching McFadden to Waltz or Moore’s’ Melodies, The Minstrel Boy being a favourite with its evocative lines:

“Thy songs were made for the pure and free
They shall never sound in slavery”.

When Mary’s brother Jerry visited me in Dublin, we played some John McCormack songs to the bemusement of my partner and Mary’s great friend, Brian Cooke, a devotee of Techno music and 80s pop. Mary and Jerry got so carried away we almost missed our appointment – a recording of Sunday Miscellany in Liberty Hall.

Mary’s commitment to civil rights were reflected in her personal favourites such as, Bread and Roses, Buddy Can You Spare a Dime, If You Miss Me at the Back of the Bus or Paul Robeson’s Shenandoah. Mary was an avid fan of the American Songbook but in truth she enjoyed all good music, regardless of genre. On her arrival in Ireland Mary’s eyes were opened to the world of Irish traditional music, songs, and ballads.

We all have our own memories of her voice as she sang songs such as Frank Harte’s Johnny Doyle with the magical description of Ringsend which she loved – “the jewel that sparkled by the Dodder,” or When Two Lovers Meet, learned from the singing of Dolly McMahon.

Mary loved to sing but she was also a great listener and always made a point of praising a singer or musician.

Mary was proud that her daughters inherited her love of music. Her sister Bonnie and herself adored the McGarrigle sisters and I have fond memories of their beautiful harmonies. One of their songs was Mendocino. As I was privileged to join Bonnie and Nóra on Tuesday in saying a last farewell to Mary I recalled so many happy days, nights and early mornings spent in her company.

Talk to me of Mendocino
I will watch it from the shore
Let the sun rise over the redwoods
I’ll rise with it till I rise no more

Talk to me of Mendocino
Closing my eyes, I hear the sea
Must I wait, must I follow?
Won’t you say, “Come with me?”

Séamus Dooley

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Mary with daughters, Nóra (left) and Maeve

I just want to express a few words of appreciation for your fulsome account of the vibrant role of music and song in Mary’s life.  Needless to say, the wide spectrum of song and ballad in her repertoire, helped to give expression to those areas of Irish life with which she so admirably and effectively engaged. I only recently became aware that she had been involved in founding the Clé Club, which I occasionally manage to attend. I never had the honour of meeting Mary but was well aware of her important journalistic work. Reading about her background and interests, one of the thoughts that struck me was that she provided a vital transatlantic link in fostering our understanding of what it was like to be of Irish background or descent in the USA.  May I offer my condolences to you and the members of the Clé Club who were close to her? Suaimhneas síorraí dá hanam ar Shlí na Fírinne.

Éanna Mac Cába

I was indeed very sorry to hear of Mary’s death. I had only got to know her in more recent years although I used to devour her regular newspaper columns in earlier years. Everything in life is relative, and whilst I would have been seen as radical in the circles in which I moved, I would never have been counted as radical by Mary and her friends, although I did go on the marches and did support Mrs. Gaj’s restaurant!

I remember Mary’s honest enthusiasm when I gave her a few new songs. And when I told her of Mr. Smyllie’s pseudonym as “Nichevo” she was positively delighted. She got immense pleasure ,she told me, of reading his “Carpathian Days and Nights” which I had lent to her. Apparently, none of her old Irish Times colleagues had been aware of his two books under the name of Nichevo and she got a little mischievous pleasure from relating this to her old colleagues.

I always had looked forward to meeting and talking with Mary at Cle Club evenings and it distresses me to know that she had been suffering from dementia. What a cross to bear on one with such a vibrant mind and personality. However, no matter what way we look at it, life is a precarious existence and we should all be glad that Mary lived out a full life, giving energy and pleasure to all whom she met.

Anthony Hanrahan


Ómós: Manus agus Tony

The Clé Club has lost two dear friends in recent weeks – Manus O’Riordan and Tony MacMahon. Manus died suddenly from a heart attack aged 72 on September 26, while Tony passed away on October 8 after a prolonged illness at the age of 82.

In both cases, they were individuals of intellectual rigour and high principle with a commitment to strive for excellence in their chosen fields.

A man of infinite curiosity and boundless energy, Manus enjoyed a prestigious career as an economist and researcher with the ITGWU and SIPTU, where his comprehensive analysis served Irish workers well in difficult times. He was also a remarkable political activist, a respected labour historian and an all-round man of culture – embracing song, poetry, music and sport (especially Bohemians FC).

A founder member and regular performer at the Clé Club, Manus could always be relied upon to make a thoughtful contribution to proceedings either in song or in verse in English, Irish, Spanish, Yiddish and occasionally French.

Throughout his retirement he continued to inspire many through his work to commemorate the legacy of the International Brigades who fought to defend the Spanish Republic against fascism.

We extend our deepest condoleneces to Manus’s family – including his sister Brenda who has also been a frequent contributor at Clé Club sessions and his partner Nancy. No pasaran!

MacMahon from Clare was widely acclaimed as a virtuoso performer on the accordion – achieving particular praise for his highly expressive playing of slow airs. During a lifetime in music, Tony was a member of the Castle Céilí Band over fifty years ago and of Seachtar, an early incarnation of what would become The Bothy Band – but he established a burgeoning reputation as a solo performer and as a duettist in collaborations with Noel Hill, Iarla Ó Lionáird, and Steve Cooney.

But beyond being the foremost player of the instrument of his – or any other – generation, Tony made an indelible mark on the growth of traditional music in the modern era through his influential role as a presenter and producer of traditional music programmes in RTE. Groundbreaking series like The Pure Drop, The Green Linnet (with the late Barney McKenna), The Long Note and Come West Along the Road all bore the unmistakable imprint of Tony MacMahon – offering a guarantee of respect, integrity and professionalism to both performers and audience alike. He was also the subject of the award-winning documentary Slán leis an gCeol/Farewell to Music in 2019.

Tony was a welcome presence at Clé Club sessions – though less frequently in recent years due to health concerns. However, one of the most memorable nights in the history of the Club took place in April 2019 when Tony was the guest of honour at a special night to mark his eightieth birthday as a stellar line-up of traditional musicians from across the generations paid tribute to the maestro under the guidance of fear an tí, Mick O’Connor before a packed house.

May he rest in peace.

The Clé Club celebrates Tony MacMahon’s eightieth birthday in April, 2019 – with a stage teeming with performers including Mick O’Connor (fear an tí), Seán Keane, Peadar Ó Riada, Michael Tubridy, Paddy Glackin, Kevin Rowsome, Lisa O’Neill, Cormac Begley, David Power, John Kelly, Martin Donohoe, the Dublin Lasses, Des Geraghty and many more. Tony himself can be seen sitting in the audience on the far left of the picture.

Ómós: Vinny Caprani

Vinny Caprani

“At this time when death seems to be  permeating the air and so many close friends were  passing on, I was particularly saddened to learn of the death of my old friend and comrade Vinny Caprani. Vinny  was a man who exuded fun and excitement at all times and lifted the hearts of all who knew him. He was a loyal trade union representative who worked long and hard for his fellow workers in the print industry and an individual of great versatility and talent.

“All his writings were a wonder for their human insight as were his rowdy compositions or serious observations about the world around him.  His Italian and Joycean influences, combined with a natural Dublin wit, made him a remarkable, unique and much loved character. He will be greatly missed but not forgotten.”

Des Geraghty, Chair of Clé Club

“You may strain  your muscles to brag of Brussels”

From Tithe Wars to Broadway:A musical odyssey through the Irish Midlands The Clé club returns to Liberty Hall on Wednesday March 2, leaving behind the world of frozen screens, muted singers and  echoey  pipers. Join us in person at 8pm in the Cois Life Bar in Liberty Hall, as we go on a musical odyssey…

Cancellation

We regret to advise that the session scheduled for Wednesday, March 18 in Liberty Hall, Dublin will not now take place. In light of the ongoing public health concerns surrounding Covid 19, we believe it is better to be safe than sorry!  We hope that the Clé Club will be able to resume on April…

Sing out for the Planet

Wednesday February 26, 7.30pm, Liberty Hall Theatre, Dublin 1 This specially themed session of the Clé Club will engage with the issues of climate change and the protection of the environment as well as celebrating the natural world. Songs and tunes from the floor on these topics will be welcome from 8pm. The session will…

And all they will call us…

January 15, 8pm, Liberty Hall Theatre, Dublin 1 An evening of music and songs of protest against racism and xenophobia.In the spirit of Peter Seeger, Woody Guthrie and Ewan MacColl, the Clé Club welcomes 2020 with a positive message of inclusion and hope, remembering Ireland’s own history as a nation which has often depended on…

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