Píobaire, An, Volume 2, Issue 10, Page 2

Píobaire, An, Volume 2, Issue 10, Page 2
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periodical Publisher
Na Píobairí Uilleann
periodical Editor
Chairman, NPU
periodical Title
Píobaire, An
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SOME MUNSTER PIPERS (11)FROM THE ARCHIVESThe contemporary of Shelly wasJohn Power of The Great Wood inIkerijn. Power was really a magnif-icent performer on the pipes, forsuch was his fame and the esteemin which he was held, that whilcthe Duke of Rutland was Viceroyof Ireland, Power was frequentlyat the Castle, where he delightedthe guests of his excellency withhis wonderful notes. Power, whoultimately took up his residencepermanently in Dublin, lived inLacys Lane off Merrion Row one of his sons became a first rateviolin player in that city, others ofhis children, all of whom weregrown before his death, were desti-tute. Power, in addition to hisdexterity on the pipes, was a greatball player. He was of middle size,dark complexion, smart and ener-getic looking and he usually worea blue frock coat. I need not addthat he was not blind. Jack Powervisited all the houses of the nobilityand gentry of his county am! ofDublin while his star was on theascendant.Kyran Fitzpatrick was another ofthc celebrated pipers of his dayand is pretty well remembered inthe south of Ireland by some ofthe oldest inhabitants. He wasquite blind, large, heavy, gentle-manlike ii i look and manner venerable rather in appearance.Clonmel was his headquarterswhere he was accustomed to playto delighted audiences. He was theimmediate predecessor of JohnMurphy, a native of Cahir, Co.Tipperary, who was a well dressedrespectable, gentlemanlike man his coat was always of the bestblack cloth, and well made. Hewas blind hut his blindness wascaused by gutta serena and hislustrous eyes did not look as ifthey were sightless. In height hewas about 5 ft. 7. lIe was moderatein his habits; unlike nearly every-one of his predecessors and con-temporaries he indulged but littlein the way of drink. He was quitewell able to tell the name ofeveryone in the company, by thevoice, no matter how low thewhisper in which they spoke. Hisdeath occurred about 40 years ago,and was caused by a species ofparalysis.Hannigan appears to have been thelast of tile celebrated pipers ofthis generation he played admir-ably. The Marquis of Normandycountenanced him I am certainthat he played before Her MajestyQueen Victoria, in 1837. His aftercarcer was not prospcrous and likemany of his calling he drank, Igather, too much. Hannigan, inthe commencement of his career,was encouraged greatly during hisvisits to Waterford, where he gaveperformances in the Town Hall ofthat city one of his most activepatrons was Alderman JamesDelahunty of that city who tooka decided interest in him, and whointroduced him to many personswho befriended him.Of all these pipers, Power was theforemost and best; he was accus-tomed to call about him occasion-ally all the pipers of country ands d them playing for an hour ortwo. He would then begin himselfwhen the others would observe amost respectful silence: his pipes,which were furnished with adouble-chanter and which were ofthe very best pitch and tone,could not be excelled. He taughtseveral and gave them his ownmethod and superiority of style.Griffin, another of the class ofdeparted pipers, was not wellknown as a player but he was anadmirable musician, and an amiableand temperate man; he was theson of an old retired officer of theExcise who lived in Wateriordabout 35 or 40 years ago andwhom I knew very well. He pos-sessed a costly set of pipes, but liewent to London and there placedhimself under a master to learnthe organ, at which instrument, Iafterwards heard, he becameproficient he was blind. Griffinsfather was a native of Kerry.William GearyorGuiry of Hospitalplayed in excellent style at thehouses of gentry on the Unionpipes; and though blind from hisinfancy he was one of the bestcard players in Munster beingonly told the trump, so delicatew s his touch, that he knew thecard in his hand, as though he sawit. Geary died of cholera in 1832.Shanahan of Kilfinane and Buckleyof the same place brothers-in-law- were first-class pipers.There were indeed many pipersbesides these enumerated. Scarcelya gentleman of the last centurythat had not his piper as an essen-tial member of his establishment,and that had not his fool besides.Garret Nagle of Ballinamona,County Cork was one of thosefine old gentlemen who was neverwithout a piper and fool. I am notinformed of the names of Naglespiper and fool.Of fiddlers their name islegion one ofthe oldest of thecraft, to whom I was introducedin childhood, was a certain NedKelly who was accustomed toperform at all the parties and C. inand about Canick-on-Suir, whereon occasional visits there I wasaccustomed to listen to his mani-pulation of the violin with some-thing like the interest that Irejoiced in the wizard strains ofPaganini and in the variouswonders of Ole Bull, Signor Violti,Herr Ernst, Master Burke, and c.,in after years. Kelly wore a queue dressed in the fashion of the lastcentury; played pretty well for hisday and time but his perform-ance of the Fox Chase and theFoxhunters jig and c. I consideredin my childish estimation, unsurpassed and unsurpassable by anyplayer of olden or modem times.He was under the middle-size-spare in frame - of florid corn-ple cion and I remember he neverrefused to play the Fox Chasewhen I asked him: for which hewas usually well rewarded with anextra measure of his favouritebeverage.John OBrien, who played inScotts great public house in theIrishtown, Limerick, and who paida guinea to hear Paganini, isremembered by those whofrequented Scotts forty years ago,as is also, Jerry OBrien, anothergood player whose Fox Chasewas universal favourite. He was agreat card player. He and theformerJohn OBrien were contem-poraxies but not relatives bothwere blind. (Concluded)L Ct A 1 ri3 :inJi c. Jt cT ii sTHE BOYS OF BLUEHILLs3T J TTn r itj 1tHlr TVtefC1CIrxttltr iCHIEF ONEILLS HORNPIPETJ)tItf jYtt icL .. I 4 Lgtfl- The three tunes below were notated from th playing of Willie Clancy and came to hand afterthe publication of Pat Mitchills collection. The first two were recorded by Matt Molloy inJanuary, 1959. Chief ONeills hornpipe was taken from a radio programme of November, 1972.TA l lER JACK WALSH
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Píobaire, An, Volume 2, Issue 10

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