independent

Wednesday 24 October 2018

History in the making for Wexford's Pipers Three

Wexford pipers Mark Redmond, Ned Wall and Brendan Wickham meet President Michael D Higgins
Wexford pipers Mark Redmond, Ned Wall and Brendan Wickham meet President Michael D Higgins
The trio performing in the Abbey Theatre

David Tucker

Uilleann Piping received special recognition from UNESCO recently, with Wexford and its long history of pipe playing, taking pride of place.

On the day the news was announced the official UNESCO Twitter account featured a photograph of three Wexford pipers Brendan Wickham, Ned Wall and Mark Redmond.

And to mark the recognition, they were invited to perform in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin where the guest of honour was president Michael D. Higgins. Mark is from Gorey, Brendan, is from Rosslare and Ned is from Duncannon.

'It was a real honour for us because Wexford has a long and proud tradition of uilleann piping that goes back centuries. That is the the reason we were asked to perform at the UNESCO event in the Abbey,' said Mark.

'As well as that, the UNESCO Twitter account actually broke the news to the world with a photo of the three of us performing some years back in Liberty Hall Dublin in a concert organised by the pipers' organisation Na Píobairí Uilleann. Both Brendan and Ned come from piping families - Ned's great uncle, Tom White, was a renowned pipe-maker from Newbawn and both Ned and Brendan play uilleann pipes that were manufactured by him.

Some famous historical Wexford families boasted renowned uilleann pipers, including Laurence Grogans, of Jonstown Castle (who also composed melodies) and Dudley Colclough, of Tintern Abbey, who published a tutor for the instrument c.1820. Throughout the latter half of the 19th Century there were numerous other famous Wexford pipers, including John and James Cash, and the Rowsome family from Ballintore, who are without doubt the most famous family associated with the instrument's long history. Mark said much of the history of Wexford uilleann pipers is documented in 'Francis O' Neill's Minstrels and Musicians 1913' which demonstrates that Wexford was probably one of the strongest areas for Irish traditional music throughout the second half of the 19th Century. 'With all this history behind us, we were extremely honoured and were the last group to meet the president.. so we actually got to converse with him the longest,' said Mark.

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