There is a strong musical tradition at the Cliffs of Moher and in the surrounding area of North Clare. The musical community in and around the Burren would be regarded as a distinctive community with a rhythm-focused, uncomplicated approach to traditional Irish music.
Musical performance in the open air at the Cliffs of Moher has been a long standing tradition. Visiting bands and choirs often request to perform onsite and local groups including school groups conduct charity and community performances. A busking licence scheme has been in place at the Cliffs of Moher since 2007 and there are a number of licensed buskers performing onsite. Here you can hear the Celtic harp played on the cliff edge, enjoy jigs and reels by tin whistle and flute players, be serenaded by ballads from banjo and guitar players and enjoy the concertina played to the accompaniment of the birds cries. Information on the buskers and the licence scheme can be found on the Buskers page.
The musical tradition of the surrounding area is also linked to the Cliffs. The famous Kilfenora Ceili Band has its home in the village of Kilfenora a mere 20km to the north east of the Cliffs of Moher and the band has performed many times at the Cliffs of Moher.
The village of Doolin is even closer, as it lies less than 10km north along the coastline and “it might be said that Doolin is to Irish traditional music what New Orleans is to jazz”* During the 1970s & 1980s the fame of Doolin spread and along with it that of the Russell brothers, Micho, Gus & Packie, who became synonymous with the rebirth of popularity for Irish traditional music. Doolin to this day is a mecca for those seeking a bohemian approach to traditional culture. The northern reaches of the Cliffs of Moher reach almost to Fisher street in Doolin and the famous O’Connors Pub. The Micho Russell Festival kicks off the festival season in Clare in February each year.
Just 22km to the south Miltown Malbay hosts the annual Willle Clancy summer school takes place in the first week of every July and is one of the longest running musical festivals held annually since 1973. During the week, students from every part of the globe attend daily classes taught by experts in Irish music and dance. In evening the pubs and halls are full of the students and teachers alike sharing their talents. Willie Clancy students can avail of day licences to busk at the Cliffs of Moher.
* PJ Curtis – Doolin – Traditional Music Mecca (1994)