Photographs by Louis O'RourkeI have been going to the Merriman Summer School since 1987 when Diarmuid Breathnach tempted me to Lisdoonvarna by telling me that there would be a week of great dancing with Connie Ryan and Betty McCoy and wasn't he right! The Summer School is always held in Clare and moves every three or so years between the towns of Lisdoonvarna, Lahinch and Ennistymon.
That first year money was tight so I set up camp in the field behind the Roadside Tavern at the invitation of Mary Curtin the owner and had a great week.
Every year that I went, and I don't think I have missed a year since, I have been taking photographs and they have become a sort of photographic history of the Summer School. As I am primarily a dancer they naturally have tended to concentrate on that aspect of the week.
Louis O'Rourke, Bray, Co Wicklow
1987 - Betty McCoy, John Grant, Vera Mack, Frances Talbot and I don't know who the other man is.
1989 - Fionnula Ni Mhurchu, Deirdre Morrissey and Connie Ryan in the Cornerstone Pub in Lahinch.
1988 - The Spanish Ambassador dancing a set with Fionnula Ní Mhurchu. The theme of the School that year was Ireland and Spain.
1987 - Sorcha Ní Mhuineacháin from London.
1995 - Connie and Betty, on the stage in the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon.
1993 - This buck set happened in a Westport pub at one of the few Winter Schools I attended when we got fed up waiting for the women to arrive. They were late as usual. The few locals present in the pub thought we were all mad.
1996 - Myself (Louis O'Rourke) and Maeve Binchy in the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon.
1988 - The Mountain Avens Musicians.
1993 - Micky Kelly from Newport, Una Quinn from Westport, Diarmuid Breathnach from Bray and Eoghan Ó hAnluain from Dublin in the Roadside Tavern in Lisdoonvarna.
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