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Music of Mountshannon

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Local musician Martin Woods 1906 – 1988.

Local Musician Martin Woods 1906- 1988

Martin Woods

Martin Woods learned his first tune from his father Dinny Woods. Dinny’s brothers Jack and Paddy, also played music. Like many others Paddy and Jack immigrated from the Derrygoolin area of Galway to the states. When immigrants returned home some brought back a gramaphone and the old 78 records. The recordings of Michael Coleman, James Morrison, Paddy Killoran, and Frank Higgins were among the records that Martin learned his music from. He was also able to read and write music.

Martin was a local postman and when he finished work he often sat on a stone wall, outside his house, playing his fiddle as his children walked home from school by Derrycon. Martin Woods played a lot for dances and house dances, around Kilclaran, Killanena and Mountshannon. He was a member of St. Caimin’s Band that was formed by Martin MacNamara, from Mountshannon. Other members of the band were Martin Larkin from Abbey, Seamus Connolly for a brief period, Paddy O’Donoghue, Jack Murphy, Willie Hogan, along with Bill MacNamara from Coogeypark. He played with many musicians such as Martin and Seamus Connolly, Conor Tully, Kevin O’Meara, Martin Tully, Jack Killeen, Joe Burke, Vincent Griffin, Martin Rochford, Dr. Bill Loughnane, Agnus Kileen, Aggie White, P. Joe Hayes, Paddy Canny, Willie Logue, Tom Barrel Rafferty from Ballinakill, to mention just a few. He also taught music to a number of interested people, one of those being Seamus Bugler. Seamus travelled by bicycle through rain, snow and frost to Martin Wood’s home for music. Seamus was a keen student, although Martin was known to be quite strict as a teacher. Martin is reported to have said of Seamus Bugler “remember this boy will be a household name yet”.

In the early days there was no such thing as tape recorders. After many sessions Martin and Seamus often stopped near Martin’s home at Dan Doyle’s gate. This is where they often worked out and pieced together a new tune they heard that night. The tunes they played could be heard through the fields down across to Whitegate. Seamus recalls the story of how late one night, many years ago, Jim Joe Haran heard the music at his home in Whitegate and thought it was the fairies.

Seamus Bugler and Martin Woods played in many venues together including the Merriman Tavern, Scariff, a venue noted for hosting many fine musicians over the years. Martin and Seamus performed regularly before other visiting musicians during the early seventies up to about ’75. On some occasions when the main performance was over musicians would play together ‘after hours’. On one particular night Sean McGuire and Josephine Keegan sat with Martin and Seamus after their main performance for a few tunes together. During the session Martin played a tune on Sean’s McGuire’s fiddle. For many years Martin played a three quarter size fiddle and when Seamus heard Martin playing Sean’s fiddle the sound was so sweet, it was clear what a fine, talented musician Martin was. This was a great boost and a personal thrill for Martin to play with Sean McGuire and also to play his fiddle.

In the early ‘70’s Martin and Seamus did a radio recording of “Down the Broom” and “The Gatehouse Maid”. In 1974 Ciaran MacMahuna produced a documentary for RTE about Gerry Martin, boat and fiddle maker who Martin Woods also played with. In part of the documentary, Martin plays in a session in Cis Ryan’s Pub, Garrykennedy along with Seamus Bugler, Gerry Martin, Liam O’Connor, Jimmy (Caddy ) Kennedy, and Jimmy Mackey. This clip featured in the 2011 Feakle festival, as part of a tribute night to Seamus Bugler for his contribution to the music and culture of East Clare.

(Source of Information: Mickey Woods (son) and Seamus Bugler)

Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane

Slow Lane

Traditional Irish Music from Country Clare.

Seamus Bulger, Paddy O'Donoghue, Pat Mullins, Pat Costello with Geraldine Cotter on Piano.

All proceeds of this recording donated to Clarecare.

Grand Finale CD Launch 23rd September

Seamus Bugler

Seamus Bugler

Seamus Bugler

The Lucky Penny - Seamus Bulger Accordion with Billy Greenall Piano

Online sales Custys Music

"Seamus Bulger and his music represent the very essence of this alsmost mystical musical pheonomena. Seamus philosophy about life and music has changed little over time . It is still one of welcome, of sharing, and a persistent invitation to participate in the music making , an invitation particularly extended to the younger musicians... The music on this recording is rich and varied with a sincerity and earthiness that reflects a life spent in close consort with the land and its people. The joy of making and sharing music is still at the heart of Seamus Bulger's relationship with the art."
Pat Costelloe


Songs My Father Sang

Songs My Father Sang

Songs My Father Sang

Front and Back Cover of Archival CD produced by Cliodhna Donnellan 2004 Entitled “Songs My Father Sang”.

An Archival CD of recordings of the late Sean Donnellan, Mountshannon.

This CD combines some of Sean's own compositions as those of others such as Tim Lyons, Con O'Driscoll, Michael Marrinan and Joe Noonan.


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