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Ireland in Schools

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The opportunities Irish music offers for enriching the curriculum are not yet fully appreciated.
Irish music is rarely used to deliver the Music curriculum, but is usually drawn upon to

• support other activities, particularly in History;
• introduce children to a distinctive aspect of Irish culture;
• try out Irish instruments, including the accordion, bodhrán and tin whistle; and
• bring the whole school together, particularly through visits by Irish musicians and learning and singing Irish songs - ‘I’ll Tell My Ma’, ‘Molly Malone’, ‘The Fields of Athenry’ and ‘The Irish Rover’ are the favourites.

There are, however, signs at primary level that Irish music can become an integral part of the Music curriculum - with the support of the likes of the Manchester Music Service and if suitably qualified teachers are in post, as is happily the case at

 St Thomas RC Primary School More, Great Wyrley.

‘The Reel Thing’ - Traditional Irish Music in the Classroom                                                              not working 18/03/2012
This is an excellent and comprehensive resource from TeachNet in Ireland for those who want to make Irish music an integral part of the curriculum in Britain, not just something reserved for special occasions.
It seeks to help children appreciate and understand Ireland’s traditional music, its origins, tunes, instruments and styles. The resources - web links of famous musicians, past and present, and examples of the different instruments and types of tunes - can stand alone, while the teaching schemes can be readily adapted to the curriculum in England, Scotland and Wales.
(Caution: most of the links to music samples on the Green Linnet web site do not work.)

Sample sounds

Accordion    Banjo    Bodhran    Concertina*    Fiddle    Flute    Solo Celtic harp    Uilleann pipes
Video clips featuring different instruments

Favourite tracks from favourite CDs

Played by Innisfree Ceoil, using ‘authentic Irish traditional instruments’
Celtic Airs, Outlet Recording Company, CHCD 2001

Vocal version by the Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem

‘The Coolin’
Belfast sessions with traditional instruments
Traditional Irish Music, Chyme Music, Outlet Recording Company, PTICD1095

‘Tripping up the Stairs’; ‘Carrickfergus’
Celtic Airs & Dance
part of 3-CD set Irish Music for the Millennium, Dolphin Records/Torc Music, TDCD 304

The Brendan Theme’; ‘Water under the Keel’; ‘The Cliffs of Mykines’; ‘The Gale’
The Brendan Voyage, orchestral suite for uilleann pipes, composed by Shaun Davey
Tara Music Company Ltd, Tara CD 501

‘The Defence of Hen’s Castle; ‘The New Age’
Sung by Rita Connolly singer; composed by Shaun Davey
Granuaile, Tara Music Company Ltd, Tara CD 3071

Sinead O'Connor
Universal Mother, Chrysalis/EMI, 7243 8 30549 2 3

'The Praties They Grow Small'; Skibbereen'
'The Foggy Dew', ‘The Grand Auld Dame Britannia’
The Alias Acoustic Band
Irish Songs, Tunes, Poetry and Speech of Rebellion, Resistance & Reconciliation, CD, 1998, Proper/Retro, R2CD 40-73

‘The Patriot Game’; 'Home Fire/Beyond the Pale'
The Alias Acoustic Band
Irish Songs, Tunes, Poetry and Speech of Rebellion, Resistance & Reconciliation, CD, 1998, Proper/Retro, R2CD 40-73

Through the Barricades’
Spandau Ballet
Gold. The Best of Spandau Ballet, EMI, 7243 5 26700 2 4

‘Derry’s Walls’; 'The Sash'
Sam Carson
No Surrender. 14 Loyalist Songs, Ulster Records, CD UCD 3