St Michael's band are Ireland's best!
THE PEOPLE of Gorey have known it for years, but now it's official – St Michael's Pipe Band, Gorey, is the best in its class in Ireland.
The 17-strong band scooped the All Ireland prize in the 4B Grade at the All Ireland Pipe Band Championships in New Ross on Saturday, and they were given a heroes' welcome home to Gorey on Saturday night.
The Gorey band competed against 15 other bands from across Ireland and Northern Ireland to take the top prize. 'We're over the moon. It's unreal,' said John Cullen, chairman of Gorey Pipe Band. 'We last won it in 1976, but hopefully it won't be as long again.'
The band members range in age from 10 to mid fifties, and three of the current line up – John Cullen, Tom Doyle and Matty Behan – were part of the band that won 38 years ago.
It's been a busy year for the band. They took first prizes at competitions in Howth and Malahide, and a third in Lisburn, and have four more competitions to go, including Arklow, Cookstown, Omagh, and the World Championships in Glasgow.
There was a fine turnout in Gorey on Saturday night as word of the band's win spread, and they were met at The Monument by Cllrs. Robbie Ireton and Pip Breen, before parading down the town. 'The band really appreciates the support from the town. It means a lot,' said John. 'We had a bus full of supporters down to New Ross on Saturday.'
John put their success down to hard work and practice. 'Everyone is so enthusiastic and works so hard,' he said. 'We were judged on our piping, drumming, and the ensemble.'
Tributes were paid to Pipe Major Tom Doyle; Drum Sergeant Paul Dempsey; and Arthur Bass who put a lot of work into achieving the band's sound.
'It's a real team effort,' said John. 'We pride ourselves on being a community pipe band for the people of Gorey. We also have members from Waterford, Kildare, and Clonroche.'