A Celebration of Achill’s Pipe Bands

Scoil Acla is delighted to share some clips from the wonderful concert that took place in Óstán Oileán Acla earlier this year which celebrated over 75 years of Achill Piping and Drumming. 

Renowned piper Terry Tully (former PM of St.Laurence O’Toole Pipe Band) was commissioned by Scoil Acla to compose a special suite of music.

Hugh Connaghan’s March

During the 1940’s a major transformation occurred in the type of music heard on the island. Due to the trend of emigration to Scotland, Achill and Donegal people became extremely close, thus relationships blossomed and Mary Carr of Pollagh, and Hughie Connaghan of Aranmore Island in Donegal, married and moved to Achill in 1945.

Hughie had been a member of the pipe band in Aranmore and suggested to the people that it could be possible to set up a pipe band in Achill.

So after St. Patrick’s Day 1945, Dooagh and Keel began practicing simultaneously, both taught by Hughie.

John ‘Twin’ of Dooagh

John (Twin) McNamara taught in Dooagh NS during the 1960s right up to the early 2000s. In the early days, he secured funding from Mayo VEC and this enabled Mick Fadian to teach traditional Irish music in the schools throughout the parish of Achill.

John and his wife Mary established the first National School band in Achill in 1966 to provide a steady stream of pipers and drummers to the village pipe bands. They were both also instrumental in the re-establishment of Scoil Acla in 1985.

This tune honours the contribution John has made to traditional music and the pipe band tradition in Achill over many years.



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