FEARS are growing that the Arts Council may withdraw funding for the famous Willie Clancy Festival due to budget shortfalls.
As thousands of traditional music fans gather in west Clare for the festival this weekend, it has emerged that the annual event may become yet another victim of the recession.
The Willie Clancy week is Ireland's largest traditional music summer school and has been held every year since 1973 in memory of the legendary piper Willie Clancy.
During the week, close to 1,000 students from every part of the world attend daily classes taught by experts in Irish music and dance.
In addition, a full programme of lectures, recitals, dances and exhibitions are run by the summer school.
Our picture by James Horan shows 10-year-old tin whistle player Catherine Grace Donaldson from Belfast at Spanish Point beach yesterday for the start of the festival and summer school.