THE director of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick, Professor Micheál O’Suilleabháin, this week expressed his keen interest in the Cnoc na Goaithe music centre project in Tulla and outlined its potential for both the locality and broader music community.
Phase one of the centre will be opened this Thursday by Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú. However, in advance of the opening, Professor O’Suilleabháin met with a group of representatives from the Tulla committee and spoke with them at length about the uniqueness of the project.
“I had the honour of sharing some of this vision with the project leaders recently, including Breda McNamara and I believe along with like-minded institutes such as the Irish World Academy at the University of Limerick and any other proposed music education projects for Clare, Cnoc na Gaoithe will play a pivotal part in the future celebration and transmission of the Irish traditional performing arts,” Dr O Suilleabháin said.
Speaking about the meeting, Ms McNamara said the committee were delighted to meet the academy’s director and were happy to take the advice he gave them on board.
“He thought the project was full of vision and he saw the uniqueness in the area and said he would love to be associated with it. He said it shouldn’t be exploited and that it should be kept safe and exposed to people in a more controlled environment so it wouldn’t lose its authenticity. From his own point of view, he expressed that it would be a huge advantage to students at the world academy,” Ms McNamara outlined.
While there was no mention of a direct link-up with the university at this stage, it was discussed as something that could be explored. Ms McNamara stated that if the academy wished to link in with Cnoc na Gaoithe, Tulla Comhaltas would be very much on board.
“We are delighted with his positive response and that he believes the project has such a vision. From our point of view, for a university organisation to consider our project to be so unique and credible and giving its support in this way is a huge statement,” Ms McNamara explained.
Speaking about the positive feedback, Clare deputy Michael McNamara, who facilitated the meeting said, “We may be struggling with the economy and unemployment but music is thriving in County Clare. Cnoc na Gaoithe, in the home of The Tulla Céilí Band, is yet another shining example of Clare leading the field in Irish traditional music,” he said.
Deputy McNamara said the opening of the Tulla project is a tribute to the work of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, both local and national.
“The provision of an archive and education room shows where the promoters’ heart lies. CCÉ is very good at passing on the baton and teaching the skills to new generations is critical to the survival and development of traditional music. I know they also want to move ahead and provide a modern sophisticated performance venue and I will work with the committee to try to secure the necessary funding,” he said.
Deputy McNamara added that building links between Clare projects and the University of Limerick is beneficial to both.
“I also look forward to Cnoc na Gaoithe developing links with other music projects in Clare and with the University of Limerick. Micheál Ó Suilleabháin told me the Tulla project sounded to him like an inspirational initiative,” he concluded.