Black Raven Pipe and Drum Band, Lusk, Co Dublin, at Killarney Oireachtas, July 1914. Photo by Cork Examiner photographer.
The month of March has traditionally been the period of the year when marching pipe and drum bands begin again to appear on the streets of Ireland, and of areas of Irish settlement abroad, usually in connection with St Patrick’s Day. The mouth-blown two- or three-drone bagpipe, often called the ‘warpipe’, was played in medieval Ireland to lead soldiers or sporting groups, or to accompany dancing. In its military aspects the instrument had been suppressed by the early 1700s, and in its entertainment uses it was superseded by the uilleann pipes during the same century. Irish pipe bands are a late nineteenth-century development, influenced by the pipe bands of Scottish military regiments, and are most commonly found in former garrison towns and in the cities, and in the North of Ireland. In the early twentieth century a conscious effort was sometimes made, as here, to invent a native form of costume for Irish pipers. Irish forms of the Scottish bagpipe were also devised.
Photo from glass negative, courtesy Irish Examiner and Irish Traditional Music Archive, © Irish Examiner Ltd. Information welcome
Published on 1 March 2008