Ronan Browne Harrington

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25 August 2010

Set made by Denis Harrington in Cork in the 1850s. It was sent from America to Leo Rowsome in part payment for a new set of Leo’s making, and in the 1950s it was purchased from Leo by Ronan Browne’s parents. Ronan has been playing the set for many years and, along with Geoff Wooff, has made the name of Harrington celebrated throughout the piping world.

In Irish Minstrels and Musicians (Chicago 1913), Francis O’Neill was able to provide only the scantiest information on Harrington’s career:
Harrington . . . was the son of a small farmer, but he couldn’t be kept away from music. He went to the city and lived on Hanover Street, where our informant often saw him making pipes. “Over fifty years ago,” says Mr. O’Neill, “the first exhibition in Cork was held. Harrington made a set of Irish pipes for the occasion. The keys and ferrules were of silver, and he sold them at the exhibition for fifty pounds. At the Munster Feis at Cork, about eight years ago, I complimented one of the pipers, named Cash, from the county of Wicklow, on the beauty of his pipes. He drew my attention to the words, ‘Harrington, Cork,’ branded on every stick of them. I have an old set of Harrington’s make left me by a piper named John O’Neill.”

Discouraged by the direful condition of affairs resulting from the famine, Harrington emigrated to America and all trace of him was lost.

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