Uilleann pipes to be celebrated as part of this year’s Kilkenny Tradfest

Uilleann piping is to the fore at the National Design & Craft Gallery

There’s something incredibly special about uilleann pipes.

Their unmistakeable sound is matched only by the incredible talent of the makers and players of uilleann pipes in Ireland. The heritage of uilleann piping will be recognised as part of this year’s Kilkenny Tradfest.

In December 2017, UNESCO added uilleann pipes, or rather uilleann piping, to their Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

What did UNESCO say about uillean pipes?

“This important global accolade reflects heritage cultural practices that are considered to enrich all of humanity. UNESCO has now agreed that Irish Uilleann Piping – often referred to as “The Sound of Ireland” – merits this recognition. As a result, the distinctive Irish musical art-form joins such other cultural expressions as the Argentinian Tango, the Armenian Duduk and its music, and the Baul songs of Bangladesh.”

Read the full description here.

And there’s uilleann piping as part of Kilkenny Tradfest?

Uilleann pipes, and uilleann pipe making head for the National Design & Craft Gallery on 16 March. Musican and master craftsman Mickey Dunne leads a ‘meet the maker’ type event from 5.30pm.

Mickey Dunne, making uilleann pipes.
Mickey Dunne, making uilleann pipes. Photo: mickeydunnepipes.com

Producer of traditional uilleann pipes, Mickey studied the art of uilleann pipe-making under the tutelage of the legendary master pipe-maker Cillian O’Briain. A musician all his life; Mickey now teaches masterclasses in the University of Limerick’s World Music Centre.

As such, he has inspired many of today’s best uilleann pipers. Dunne’s reeds are legendary so come along to experience a touch of his magic.

Locally, the Kilkenny Pipers’ Club has been to the fore in preserving pipe playing in Kilkenny and have trained many young pipers over the past 10 years. They will join in the discussion and the music.

The evening will be MC’d by KCLR’s Martin Bridgeman.


Ken McGuire

The one who kicked off KilkennyMusic.com back in the heady days of 2005. Now a radio head at KCLR, award-winning podcaster, producer, food blogger at Ken On Food, music nerd and everything else in between.

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