Píobaire, An, Volume 1, Issue 4, Page 6

Píobaire, An, Volume 1, Issue 4, Page 6
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periodical Publisher
Na Píobairí Uilleann
periodical Editor
Chairman, NPU
periodical Title
Píobaire, An
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C37)PIPERSTarlach Mac SuibhneThe 1964 volume of Bealoideos , the journal of the Folklore of Ireland Society, contains two interestingaccounts in Irish about pipers. The first by Padraig MacSeam, is about Tarlach Mac Suibhne , AnPiobaire Mor, and forms part of a longer article dealing with Clann tSuibhne, the Sweeneys A dealof the information is taken from O Neills account of Mc Sweeneys visit to Chicago in 1893 where heplayed outside The Donegal Castle at the World Fair. The buffoonery about his relations with thefairies which Mc Sweeney indulged in in Chicago is repeated and is seriously offered as an example ofGaeltacht humour, His coldness of manner and taciturnily which ONeill ironically suggested to bethe visible effect of maintaining the dignily befitting a distinguished piper of the once powerfulClann tSuibhne are actually here attributed to the pipers memories and pride of ancestry.Not surprisingly, we find that McSweeney had a very high regard for his own music. Not for every-body would he play. He was very friendly with the clergy and they proved good to him. He wasaccustomed to receive an invitation each year from Lord Leitrim and concluded his weeks stay withthat gentleman by playing in the fields for his cattleHis set of pipes and the music book he made such a mystery of are now in Mr. MacSeams custody 0They were entrusted to him by Canon Cunningham, P.P., Glenties. who as a young priest inGweedore, had received them as a gift from the aged piper whom he attended during his last illness 0The mysterious book, as ONeill rightly surmised, was OFarrells National Irish Music for the UnionPipes 0 MacSeam is in error in stating that McSweeney won the allIreland pipes competition in 1897.He was second to Thompson of Cork, Tom Rowsome being third, Cash and Flanagan receivingconsolation prizes, Mc Sweeney did, however, receive first prize for unpublished airs on thatoccasion, The pipes were believed by some to have been an heirloom, inherited by Clann tSuibhnefrom Sean an Diomais in the sixteenth century. Others had it that the set belonged to one ofO Neills pipers, while a third account declared the chanter was ONeills. The portrait ofMcSweeney is reproduced from ONeills Irish Minstrels and Musicians. It will be obvious to anypiper looking at this picture that the set is a modern one, three drones aid three regulators probablyby Coyne or Egan and certainly made after 1818, the year McSweeney was born. The worn fingerholes of the chanter misled MacSeam into accepting these stories about the age of the pipes, Thisis not surprising since one may meet with pipers who believe chanters can be worn by the fingers inplaying over the years. The grooving at the finger holes is the result of filing, done as a help incovering the chanter,Tarlach s father, EamonnRua,and his grandfather were pipers. None of his own children followedhim in the professions He died on 13. VI. 1916 and was buried in the graveyard of Machaire Gathlainat Gweedore, The tombstone marking the grave is now fallen and broken.Col lain in and BanksIn Scealta_agus Seanchas on Achreidh Ciaran Bairead gives some information about pipers whoflourished around Claregalway received from an informant who died in 1953 at the age of eighly-nine 0 Collainin and his son, fiddler and piper, are mentioned as a pair who played at the bonfireon St. Johns Eve, A halfpenny on the plate was the reward. Martin Banks was another piper inthat village. There used be dancing and singing in the barn. Banks used send lads up to the localpub for whisky to keep himself warm but they used drink some on the way back and then top if upwith waterMen and women used drink in those days after Mass on Sundays and they had a great many songsIt was the custom for the women to buy loaves aid divide them among the men in the evening.Eamonn CeanntEamonn Ceannt was the chief founder and first Secretary of the Old Dublin Pipers Club, and aslong as it survived (about nine years) was a frequent attender at its meetings.con td.,,6
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Píobaire, An, Volume 1, Issue 4

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