The Brian Boru Pipes


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Cavanaleck Brien Boru Pipe Band

 

Article on Mr Henry Starck

The Bagpipes are usually associated with Scotland but in fact most authorities now agree that the instrument came originally from Ireland. It is believed to have been introduced to Scotland following the invasion of the Pictish Kingdom by Fergus Mac Ere , Prince of Dalriada in North Antrim in the year 470, when the Kingdom of Argyle 'The Eastern Gael", was established .
The Piob Mor or Warpipe can be traced accurately as the Military Musical Instrument of Ireland from the Thirteenth Century, and it is interesting to trace the history of this warpipe in the British Army.
There is a popular mis-conception that the Brian Boru Pipe is a more ancient instrument than the Highland bagpipe but in actual fact the reverse is true . In 1908 the Pipe Major of the London Irish Rifles introduced a Patent Chanter which was incorporated in a bagpipe and was known as the Brian Boru Pipe. It was made in the key of E as opposed to the traditional key of A, and was made by Mr Henry Starck of London. In 1962 the 1st Battalion Royal Enniskillin Fusiliers decided to change to the Brian Boru Pipes, which in their opinion was a better pipe musically.
During 1947 and into the early 1950's there were many bands formed who played the Brian Boru Pipes . Their numbers were so great, that they formed their own Northern Ireland Branch for the Brian Boru Pipes and for many years, contests were held indoors in the Ulster Hall for full bands.
From around the mid 1960's interest began to fade in the Brian Boru Pipes due mainly to the fact that Henry Starck retired from Bagpipe making, and no one took up the challenge to continue with the manufacture of the Brian Boru Pipes. Because of this problem quite a number of bands ceased to exist. The main problem was getting chanters of good quality. So from around fifty bands in the early fifties until the present day where only ten bands exist . Quite a lot of the bands changed from the Brian Boru Pipes to the Highland bagpipes.
Many thanks go to Sam Kerr of Ballygowan Brian Boru Pipe Band for his help in writing this History of the Brian Boru Pipes.

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