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Re-launch of Wexford Pipers Club

Rev Arthur Gay McKeon

Wexford town was all a-buzz last weekend, the first of this year's Wexford Festival Opera and, its wild cousin, The Fringe. Those hopping from exhibition to exhibition along Main Street on Saturday afternoon were stopped in their tracks by the gloriously plaintive sound of the uilleann pipes issuing forth from the steps of St Iberius Church.

The occasion was the launch of the reformed Wexford Pipers Club. The county has always had a great reputation for piping, right back to the 1700s. Yesterday's special guest, Gay McKeon of Na Píobáirí Uilleann, was proudly playing a set of pipes made in the early 20th Century by Wexford man Sam Rowsome. The idea to re-establish the Wexford Pipers Club came from Wexford's Catherine Roche, a very fine player in her own right. Catherine is one of those behind the successful Shelmalier & Crossabeg School of Music which runs weekly traditional music classes. She is hoping to use that same organisation skill to build the Wexford Pipers Club back into the powerful musical force it once was.

The highlight for those in attendance at yesterday’s launch was seeing Rev Arthur Minion getting a hands-on lesson in uilleann pipes playing from the master himself, Gay McKeon. The latter was mightily impressed with how quickly Arthur got to grips with the task at hand. Who knows, services at St Iberius Church might be about to take on a whole new dimension!

If you are interested in playing the uilleann pipes get in touch with Catherine Roche at (087) 053 3952. Alternatively keep an eye on

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Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann is the largest group involved in the preservation and promotion of Irish traditional music. We’re a non-profit cultural movement with hundreds of local branches around the world, and as you can read in our history we’ve been working for the cause of Irish music since the middle of the last century (1951 to be precise). Our efforts continue with increasing zeal as the movement launches itself into the 21st century.

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