Category Archives: Uillean Pipes

The Pipes, The Pipes Are Calling

Here’s a couple of lovely video clips featuring two renowned Irish musicians playing the Uillean pipes. The first is a duet featuring our good friend Ronan Browne performing with Jimmy O’Brien Moran at the Morpeth Chantery Bagpipe Museum in Northumberland, England.
The second features Ronan Browne performing solo on his James Kenna pipes that date back to the 1780s. This clip was recorded in the Chapter House of St Mary’s Cathedral in Kilkenny, Ireland, and includes some explanation about the Kenna set in the context of the evolution of Uillean pipes. Hope you enjoy these wee treats …

A Day At Millmount

During my trip to Ireland in May, I was invited by Martin Doyle to attend a small but lively gathering of Irish traditional musicians at Millmount in the historic town of Drogheda, County Louth. I took the train from Dublin and arrived in time to have breakfast overlooking the River Boyne. Despite the drizzling rain, I was captured by the feeling of the place – it’s rich history dating from the Neolithic period was something that can be felt in the atmosphere of the town. My friend Martin has a deep fondness for Drogheda and the general areas of Loath and it’s immediate neighbour, County Meath. That part of Ireland, with it’s strong music tradition, has always been close to his heart. Very keen to attend the festival, Martin left his home in County Clare at 7am and joined us in Drogheda for morning tea!

For the past four years Drogheda has hosted the week long Drogheda Arts Festival. Among the festival’s numerous events is an Irish traditional music component known as the Traditional Day in Millmount. Martin Doyle was invited to attend as a flute maker and traditional musician and he gladly agreed to participate. Also in attendance at Millmount was Martin’s good friend Ronan Browne, the renowned piper Seán McKiernan, stalwart Irish traditional musician, singer and organiser of the Traditional Day in Millmount Seán Corcoran (Seán and Ronan, along with Desi Wilkinson, are members of the Irish traditional music group Cran), Uilleann pipe maker Bill Haneman, flute maker John Hughes and Uilleann pipe aficionado, Ken McLeod.

Discover all that Millmount has to offer by joining us for a traditional music day. From 12pm until 5pm the festival presents activities for all the family, including an outdoor ceili session, Irish dancing, story telling and live outdoor performances… Exhibitions include ‘A History of Piping in Drogheda’ presented by Na Píobairí Uilleann in the Millmount Centre…

Nice things happen when Irish traditional musicians who have a passion for their craft get together. Like the wind blowing through the trees, moments of magic occur. This was one of those moments…

This video clip features Ronan Browne (Uilleann pipes) and Martin Doyle (Irish flute) playing the tune Kitty Got A Clinking Coming From The Fair. John Hughes (Irish flute) also joins in and Seán McKiernan can be heard in the background lilting with the tune. For those interested, Martin Doyle is playing one of his own flutes and Ronan is playing a 250plus-year-old set of James Kenna pipes (have a listen to Ronan playing these pipes on this Kenna MySpace site – beautiful sounds!). The story, as I heard it, goes that Ken McLeod acquired the Kenna pipes and they ended up with Ronan as he was the only person who could play them. A lovely set of pipes and beautifully played by Ronan.

– written by Shardul.

Excerpts From Sounding Post


Two excerpts have been added to the African Blackwood Conservation page of Martin Doyle’s web site. In May of this year, Martin Doyle featured on a BBC Radio 4 program entitled Sounding Post which was produced by Nina Perry.

Nina Perry takes a musical journey tracing the wood used in making musical instruments back to the forest, from an Irish flute maker and a Los Angeles-based guitarist to the Mpingo Conservation Project in Tanzania. More here…

Unfortunately Sounding Post is not currently available online. The two excerpts that have been added to Martin’s web site feature Martin talking about flute making and playing music on a ‘fresh off the lathe’ flute. The tune Martin plays is called Na Ceannabháin Bhána. Here is a version of the same tune played by the late Kitty Hayes (Concertina) and Peter Laban (Uilleann Pipes). Recorded in May 2008 at Miltown Malbay, Co Clare. Kitty and Peter actually play two slip jigs – Na Ceannabháin Bhána and Hardiman the Fiddler.