Search billions of records on



Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Carlow Pipe Band

© Artwork by M. Brennan 2012 copyright - All rights reserved

Click on images to enlarge
"Carlow Pipe Band" image was taken after 1948 with Garry Hearns holding the flag unfurled.
(Garry Hearns was Margo Hearns Brown father formally of Graiguecullen).
"Carlow Pipers Band at Killeshin on a May day parade. My father, Garry Hearns, is in front with the flag."
It was probably taken in the early 1940's. I don't know why my father is caring the flag furled, unless they were on their way to the parade starting point.
The images above were submitted by Margo Hearns Brown in Jan 2007
"Carlow Pipe Band"
Back Row (L-R): Sean Byrne, Pipe Major. Dan McGath. Gary Hearns (Flag unfurled). Tony Kirwan. Frank Connolly. Jim Dunne. Liam Sullivan. Martin Shaw, Tom Sullivan, Tom Doyle
Front Row (L-R): Paddy Payne, Michael Cradden Jun. P. Foley. Tom Shaw. S. Birmingham. Paddy Riley. Billy McGrath.

Some members who joined the band after this photo was taken: Denis Haughney. Paddy Dooley. Paddy Hunt and Martin Brophy.

The youngest member of the band was Paddy Dooley (he is the one on the left) and Michael J. Cradden Jun., on the right.
(Sent in by Michael J. Cradden Jun. April 2007)
Michael Cradden Jun joined the Carlow Pipe Band after he left the CBS in 1948.  The band room was on the top floor of the Workmans Club in Brown Street, Carlow.
The above photo was submitted (24 Jan 2007) by Michael J. Cradden Jun who is in the front row and is a scanned image of the original photograph taken c1948/49. This photo shows two extra members of the band which were cut off when the one at the top left was published.
To the best of my knowledge that names above are correct
Michael J. Cradden Jun. Formally of Montgomery Street.

My Thanks to Michael & Margo for this very valuable piece of history on the Carlow Pipe band.

An early photograph of the old Carlow Pipe Band. The date of the picture is unknown but the dress puts in the c.1940's.
Source: The Nationalist Sept 16th 1988
Carlow Pipe Band pictured in 1966 or 1967, the year in which they won an all-Ireland title in New Ross. The pictures were loaned to us by Mr. Mick Byrne, 201 Maher Road, Governey Park, Graiguecullen who played the big drum in the band in the sixties.
Source: The Nationalist Sept 16th 1988
Carlow Pipe Band
(Attempted colorization by Michael Lyons)
In this photo: Jimmy Dunne, Larry Dowling, Martin Mulhall, Tommy Lyons, Frances  Dowling, Matthew, Liam Dooley, Mick Byrne, Mathew Kearney, Pat Byrne, Tom Byrne, Michael Byrne.

Source: Michael Lyons Facebook

Carlow Pipe Band at Bennetsbridge Co. Kilkenny in 1968. — with Tommy Lyons, Pat Byrne, Liam Dooley, Mick (the Big drum) Byrne and Tom Byrne.
Source: Michael Lyons Facebook

This is a storey written over 70 years ago about a famous Carlow family of Irish Pipers

During the whole of the 19th century the members of one family, named Byrne, were famous throughout the County Carlow and indeed throughout South Leinster for their skill in playing the pipes.
The first of them that could be traced was. “Old Jimmy Byrne”, who was born at Shangarry, near Myshall in 1770 and died in 1852. The site of his house, was pointed out by an old man named Doyle. Of Old Jimmy, it was said that towards the end of his life, that so skilful was he, that if he started a tune on the pipes and then left them on the floor they would of themselves finish the tune correctly. One old person who remembered old Jimmy was Mrs. O’Connor who was 8 years of age at the time of old Jimmy’s death. She lived at Ballymoon Cross, and this was a favourite resort of the pipers.
Jimmy had three sons, James, John and Thomas. James was the best musician of the three. It was he who taught the pipes to old Sam Rowsome of Ferns, who died in 1916, aged 91 years. Sam Rowsome was grandfather of that famous piper the late Leo Rowsome. James Byrne died about 1867.
John Byrne, the second son of Jimmy, was also a great piper. He travelled about more than his brother and so he is better remembered by the old people of the County Carlow. Eighty four years old Owen Hayden of Augha remembered Johnny Byrne well. He recalled him as a fine handsome man, who used to wear a tall hat, top boots and a swallow-tail coat. Owen Hayden himself was an expert flute player.
Johnny Byrne went to America in 1860. Patk. Doyle of Shangarry a returned exile met Johnny Byrne in Chicago and heard him play there.
No one in Co. Carlow seems to have had a good opinion of Thomas, (3rd son of old Jimmy) as a musician. He lived in a cabin in Muine Bheag. He was a frequent visitor to Ballyloughan and used sometimes to stay in houses there for weeks at a time. He was a deeply religious man. Unfortunately he sank into poverty and died in Thomastown workhouse, about 1890.
Certain tunes are still known to traditional musicians in Carlow and Wexford as Byrne’s tunes and some of them are unpublished.

(The notes on which this article is based were collected almost 74 years ago).

Source: CARLOVIANA 1983 Edition No. 30

Irish Bagpipes
Although there is record of what type of bagpipes the Byrne's played there were many types of Bagpipes associated with Ireland over the years:

Uilleann Pipes: Bellows-blown bagpipe with un-keyed chanter and keyed drones, from Ireland. The most common type of bagpipes in Irish traditional music.

Pastoral pipes: Although the exact origin of this pipe is uncertain, it was developed into the modern Uilleann bagpipe.
Brian Boru bagpipes: Carried by the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and had three drones, one of which was a baritone, pitched between bass and tenor. Unlike the chanter of the Great Highland Bagpipe, its chanter is keyed, allowing for a greater tonal range

Great Irish Warpipes

The Great Irish Warpipes, (Irish: Píob Mhór - Great Bagpipes), played at least for over 1500 years, are closely related to the Great Highland Bagpipe, with which they are essentially synonymous. The first references to the bagpipes in Ireland are found in the 5th century Brehon Laws. Mention is made in a dinnseahchas or topographical poem, “Aonach Carman”, the fair of Carman, a composition of the eleventh century found in the Book of Leinster. The earliest representations of pipe-playing are to be seen on the High Crosses some 1500 years ago, and illustrations are further recorded in the 16th century. A rough wood carving of a piper formerly at Woodstock Castle, co. Kilkenny. The pipes depicted are obviously the prototype of the present day Píob Mhór or war pipes. In form they are one with the types depicted on the Continent about this time (e.g. Dürer’s piper, 1514). There is no record of the pipes or any other musical instrument being played on the field of battle in pre-Norman Ireland. In later times the pipes were regarded by foreign commentators as being peculiarly the martial instrument of the Irish.

Historically after the late 1800s the Great Irish Warpipes differed slightly from the Great Highland Bagpipe by having two drones instead of three, a tenor drone pitched one octave below the chanter, and a bass drone pitched two octaves below the chanter. In fact, the Great Highland Bagpipe also had two drones until well into the 1800s when the present three drone configuration can be seen. Historically the two drone bagpipe predates the three drone type. Nearly all players of Irish warpipes today play the three-drone pipes with two tenor drones and a single bass drone, the two-drone pipes having nearly died out.

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia

More on Carlow Piper's

The information contained in these pages is provided solely for the purpose of sharing with others researching their ancestors in Ireland.
© 2001 Ireland Genealogy Projects, IGP TM  By Pre-emptive Copyright - All rights reserved