By Mike Hackett

Today we go in musical mode to celebrate and encourage the wonderful pipe bands in our localities. Memories come flooding back of running as children down the streets following the marching band. They were moving fast, in time to the percussion section, and our little legs could hardly keep up.

You had the tricolour held high leading the band followed by eight pipers and then seven drummers.

Everyone was in full uniform with kilt as they marched and played – concentrating on the music and keeping in-step. Appreciation from the hundreds of onlookers on the sidelines was welcome – but was not allowed to distract from the parade.

Just imagine that you are awaiting the band as you stand on the footpath in Dungarvan on Saint Patrick’s Day.
Around the corner comes the bearer with the colourful flag held high – to be followed by the pipers – and then the drummers. All are in the blue and white uniform of the local pipe band. Children jump and dance to the music as it raises the spirits of all the spectators.

We Irish people can be slow to openly show our appreciation and admiration – but it is felt greatly – even if some folk applaud only gently.

It was back in 1997 that the Youghal (Cork Hill) pipe band decided to host Pipe Band Championships in the local ’98 Green Park. Usually when bands travelled away for competitions like this – they had to pay their own expenses like bus and meals. This time it was decided by the host band to cover those costs and the result was most encouraging.
Pipe bands came from Dungarvan, Bunmahon, Waterford City, Cobh, Tralee, Cork, Roscrea, Mallow, Castlelyons, Fermoy and many more places to compete for big prize money. Then a band from Dublin decided to attend and it was no less than the famous Laurence O’Toole group.

Continue reading in this week’s St. Patrick’s Day Annual