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Music from Clare on Concertina, Tin Whistle and uilleann pipes

We are delighted to announce our release of this classic CD.

Martin Wynne's No1:

John Roche's Favourite:

The First Month of May:

  1. Molly Brannigan / Sporting Nell
  2. The New Policeman / The Ravelled Hank of Yarn
  3. Na Ceannabhain Bhana / Will You Come Down to Limerick
  4. Martin Wynne's No1 /Paddy Taylor's
  5. The Maid in the Meadow / Sweet Biddy Daly
  6. The Dear Irish Boy
  7. Planxty Browne
  8. The Limestone Rock / The Road to Lisdoonvarna
  9. John Roche's Favourite
  10. Jenny Picking Cockles
  11. Scatter the Mud / Mulqueeney's
  12. Annach Chuain
  13. The Pigeon on the Gate
  14. The Leg of the Duck / Ard an Bhotair
  15. . Chief O'Neill's Favourite / Byrne's Hornpipe
  16. The First Month of May / The Blackberry Blossom
  17. Cherish The Ladies
  18. The Mountain Top / The Chicago / The Flower of the Flock

Press Reviews

Folk Roots

Originally from Shyan, near Kilmaley, Co Clare, Tommy McCarthy has made quite a name for himself in London traditional circles. His work is heard more widely through appearances on albums by Kate Bush and others. A little known fact is his appearance on a chart topping single, pop pickers!! Sporting Nell features a selection of tunes played on his 3 featured instruments Concertina, Tin Whistle and Uilleann pipes and is produced by his son-in-law piper, Tommy Keane. The simplicity of approach is attained by not using accompaniment and just letting Tommy's ease with the music seep through and tell its own story. His concertina playing is clear, precise and fluid as is his graceful piping and whistle playing. Sporting Nell has music high on integrity and tastefulness. Reels, jigs, hornpipes and slow airs and a fling and Carolan's Planxty Browne played with love, respect and care in a relaxed and uncluttered manner. Sporting Nell salutes a quiet giant of Irish Music. Joe Crane.


A lovely, understated album on which the master's music is allowed to speak for itself.


An inherent excitement and clarity of purpose...pure traditional music played with heart and assurance.


This album is a precious which is clear, pure, rhythmical from start to finish, played in the old style of West Clare...Tommy's music stands out on its own.

Irish Music Magazine

The first thing you notice is the steady unhurried pace..the concertina numbers are my favourites.

Musical Traditions Website Magazine.

Sporting Nell is rooted in the local tradition of west Clare, its repertoire and the influence of its great musicians.

Tommy McCarthy's Sporting Nell is a fine example of the tradition from which he sprung and proves that the so-enriching regional styles in Irish music are alive and flourishing. Recommended. Tomas LynchThe death has occurred of a much loved Irish traditional musician Tommy McCarthy, Uilleann Piper, Concertina, Whistle and fiddler, he died around midnight on 23/24th of September while on a pilgrimage to Lourdes with his wife, Kathleen. Tommy had been suffering with Cancer for some time.

Tommy was born in 1929, in Shyan, ("home of the fairies") near Kilmihil in West Clare. He took interest in the music at the age of 9, after hearing the Wrenboys on St Stephen's day. He learned much of his music from his neighbour Mick 'Stack' Ryan who taught Tommy to play the concertina.

In 1950, Tommy travelled up to Dublin to collect a set of uilleann pipes and received his first lessons from legendary piper and maker, Leo Rowsome.

In 1952, Tommy emigrated to London, where he worked as a carpenter. He soon joined the great musical melting pot which was London at that time, playing with musicians from every corner of Ireland, (to mention but a few) ; pipers Seamus Ennis, Willie Clancy, fluteplayers, Roger Sherlock and Paddy Taylor, accordionists, Raymond Roland and John Bowe, and fiddlers Martin Byrnes and Bobby Casey, with whom Tommy built up a great friendship; during the 60s and 70s they were inseparable.

Tommy remained in London for nearly 40 years and greatly enriched the lives of the Irish community during that time, not only with his music, but his gentle personality and humanity.

During that time Tommy and his wife Kathleen from (Glenamaddy Co Galway), passed on their musical talents to their entire family , their three daughters, Jacqueline, (concertina), Bernadette, (fiddle/piano), Marion, (whistle/uilleann pipes). All of whom married musicians and have moved back to Ireland to live. Tommy jnr (fiddle) has become a very successful bar owner in Boston.

Tommy and Kathleen moved back to be join them in 1991. Settling in the West Clare town of Miltown Malbay, the birthplace of the great piper, Willie Clancy. Tommy taught concertina at the annual Willie Clancy Summer School and regularly performed with the family at the concerts held there.

One year Tommy played in three specialised music recitals at the school, playing Uilleann Pipes, Concertina and Tin Whistle. I was fortunate to be at the last piping recital Tommy gave in Miltown, it will stay in the memory for a long time.

Tommy's music took him to many parts of the world, touring with C.C.E. The Rambert Ballet Co and The National Theatre. He regularly visited the USA, he also performed in Brittany, Italy, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Australia.

He was also involved in session music for films and pop records, one reaching #1 in the popcharts.

Tommy also loved playing in folk clubs and he was much loved on the British Folk club scene where he played many times with his family, charming audiences with his gentle humour and understated presentation.

He was also a co-founder of the London Piper's Club where he taught and passed on his love of music. The club is still thriving.

They say a man is measured by what he leaves behind him, in Tommy's case we are all better for his being here. The memories of his lovely music and character, and the knowledge that all of those great gifts have been passed on in abundance to his wonderful family.

We are much blessed and have a lot to be thankful for having known a person like Tommy McCarthy. Alan O'Leary

Price: £13.99

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