Caoimhín Mac Aoidh – Chairperson
Caoimhín Mac Aoidh was born in Philadelphia into a musical family on both of his parents’ sides. He began playing whistle at an early age and later took up the fiddle under the influence of his paternal relation, Vincey McLaughlin of Ballymaguigan, County Derry. Upon hearing John Doherty in his late teens he became an avid follower of Donegal traditional music.
Though right handed, he plays pipes left handed. His early attempt at playing a right handed practice set of pipes in the late 1970s required turning the bag upside down and connecting to the bellows with a garden hose around his back. It was an abject failure. Acquiring pipes, and particularly left handed instruments, at that time was problematic. Years later through the great kindness of Martin McIntyre of Letterkenny, he managed to obtain a marvellous B flat left handed set of Martin’s manufacture.In 2016 he was commissioned to compose a six movement suite for solo uilleann pipes commemorating the life of Eamonn Ceannt.
He is a founder member of Cumann Píobaireachta Tharlaigh Mhic Shuibhne which promotes uilleann piping in County Donegal. Caoimhín regularly played B flat McIntyre set duets with the late Billy Finn and regards Robbie Hannan, Paul Harrigan, Ciarán Mac Fheidhlimídh, Maurice Bradley and Jerry O’Sullivan as important influences.
(Elected : 25 May 2019)
Danny McGreevy was brought up in a music loving household in Downpatrick, Co.Down.
His first involvement with music was with the local pipe band, whose pipe major and tutor was his father, Patsy. Later, he went on to play with the award winning Thomas Davis Pipe Band based in Newry, Co. Down.
His interest in traditional Irish music began when his mother, Madeleine, bought him a tin whistle. It was in B flat as she thought it looked more like a chanter in size!
While a student at Queen’s University, Belfast, Danny first heard the piping of Liam O’Flynn and Paddy Moloney, and determined to make the transition from piob mor to piob uilleann. By good fortune, pipe maker Robbie Hughes had moved to the Downpatrick, and from him, Danny acquired a practice set. Through Robbie and Ken Mc Leod, Danny became aware of, and mesmerised by the piping of Seamus Ennis, Willie Clancy, Leo Rowsome and Tommy Reck.
Over the years, Danny had become proficient on a number of musical instruments and played in various traditional groups. He was also a founder member of the renowned Downpatrick Folk Music Club, and spent many years in the promotion and presentation of the best in traditional music, perhaps to the detriment of his personal development as a musician in general, and piper in particular.
In the early 2000’s Danny decided to focus on the pipes in an attempt to become a piper, rather than someone who could “play” tunes on the pipes. He sought out other pipers and through his good friend Tom Clarke, was introduced to NPU At his first Tionól, a workshop session with Jimmy O’Brien-Moran, gave him immense encouragement.
At the Willie Clancy Summer School, Danny enrolled in a beginner’s class, under Mick O’Brien, with the aim of “de-constructing” and “re-constructing” his piping, and since then has availed of the wonderfully generous tuition of many of the great pipers associated with NPU
A former teacher and lawyer, since retiring from the law in 2007, Danny has concentrated on teaching traditional music, running Rath Celtair Folk Music Club, and striving to become a “piper”.
(Elected : 23 May 2015)
Sorcha Potts, born in Dublin is a daughter of Sean Potts and sister of Sean Óg Potts.
She began learning the whistle at a very young age and later the flute. She joined NPU in 2009 and began learning the Uilleann Pipes in 2011. She is also a very keen sports person with particular interest in Gaelic Football. Sorcha became actively involved in the fundraising for NPU and was elected to the board of NPU 2013.
(Elected : 28 May 2016)
Rick Lines is Co-Chair of the South Wales Uilleann Pipers Club. He started learning the pipes in 1995 in his home city of Toronto under the tutelage of Debbie Quigley, before relocating to Ireland, London and finally Wales.
Rick has 30 years of professional experience working in charities in Ireland, Canada and the UK, including at chief executive level, and brings to the Board a range of related skills. He is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Law at Swansea University.
Rick has been a member of NPU since the late 1990s, and is a regular contributor to An Piobaire. He plays historic sets of pipes made by the Taylor Brothers (c. 1880) and Malcolm MacGregor (c. 1810). In addition to uilleann piping, Rick is a member of Côr Meibion Morlais Welsh male voice choir and recently started learning the pibau cyrn (Welsh pipes).
(Elected : 25 May 2019)
Peter Browne was born in Dublin in 1953 and commenced playing traditional music at the age of 6. He learned music from three of the great pipers of modern times; Séamus Ennis, Leo Rowsome and Willie Clancy and in his youth attended many of the major traditional music events of the time with his family and frequently visited Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare, home of Willie Clancy and Lisheen, Gneeveguilla, Co Kerry staying in the home of Denis Murphy the famous Sliabh Luachra fiddle player.
In the early 1970’s he played with the groups Raftery and 1691 – a forerunner of The Bothy Band and later spent two periods playing on both pipes and flute with The Bothy Band. He made two albums of music and song in the 1980’s together with Philip King on the Gael-Linn label – Rince Gréagach and Seacht Nóiméad Déag chun a Seacht.
His work as a session musician included contributing to recordings by Paul Brady, Maura O’ Connell, Mary Black, Mick Hanley, The Chieftains, The Dubliners, Scullion and Cór Chúil Aodha and he has also been part of various ventures in modern experimental music, playing works by Bill Whelan, Michael Holahan, Roger Doyle and Paddy Meegan. He featured as soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra and with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra on their 1998 tour of North America and in the series Music in the Classroom. He was the soloist with the Ulster Orchestra in a performance in the Waterfront Hall in Belfast on St Patrick’s Day 2001 of The Brendan Voyage by Shaun Davey and has played the same work with the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland. He has twice been the winner of the Oireachtas uilleann-piping in 1994 and 1998 and also won the prize for slow-air playing in both those years.
He worked for over 40 years in RTÉ Radio One with a special interest in traditional music and his weekly programme The Rolling Wave enjoyed a large listenership in Ireland and abroad. He also presented and produced programmes such as Sounds Traditional, Áirneán, Céilí House and in the late 1970s presented The Long Note. Noteworthy broadcast projects included researching, presenting and producing series of documentary programmes on the lives and music of famous traditional players such as Séamus Ennis, Willie Clancy, Pádraig O’ Keeffe, Denis Murphy, Paddy Cronin, Peter Horan, Elizabeth Crotty and the 19th century traditional music collector Canon James Goodman.
He also produced a series of commercial CD’s for RTÉ featuring rare traditional music recordings from the RTÉ Sound Archives: The Return from Fingal – early archive recordings of the piper Séamus Ennis, Music from Sliabh Luachra – Denis Murphy, The Sliabh Luachra Fiddle Master – Pádraig O’Keeffe, Elizabeth Crotty – Concertina Music from West Clare, Labhrás Ó Cadhla, Amhráin ó Shliabh gCua, The Gold Ring, featuring the uilleann piping of Willie Clancy and Tuning the Radio, a collection of early (1940s) recordings made for Raidió Éireann by the MRU Mobile Recording Unit.
(Elected 15 August 2019)
A former employee of Na Píobairí Uilleann, Carolyne was voted onto the Board in 2020. She has a keen interest in Irish Traditional Music and in particular the pipes.
Carolyne also has an interest in the Irish Language and was awarded a Masters in Irish from Maynooth University in 2013.
She is a qualified Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Advisor and has several years of experience in the provision of audit and advisory services to charities in Ireland.
(Elected August 2020)
Barra has been one of the most prominent and best known lawyers in the Northern Ireland jurisdiction for many years, first as a solicitor and then as a counsel. He became a QC in 2007 and was appointed as the DPP for Northern Ireland in 2011.
Barra has a life-long interest in traditional music, plays the bouzouki and is father to a fiddler and piper. His wife, Brigid O’Neill is a professional musician and singer.
(Elected November 2020)
Tomás Mac Thréinfhir
His significant career background spans senior roles in commercial business management and board-level leadership across sectors, including professional services, technology, financial services and non-profit. Prior to being called to the Bar, he was Chief Executive of the Marketing Institute of Ireland where he led the transformation of the national professional body.
Tomás holds the International Executive MBA, and the Diploma in Corporate Governance, both from Smurfit Business School at UCD. He was awarded Chartered Director status by the Institute of Directors in London, and he has completed an executive programme at Harvard Business School. He was conferred with Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the world’s largest professional body for marketing, and, fluent in French as well as Irish, served as a member of the board of the Brussels-based Confédération Européenne du Marketing / European Marketing Confederation.
He has a family background immersed in traditional music, including uilleann piping. He is a noted fiddle player himself with a Masters Degree in Irish Traditional Music.