Enniscorthy Guardian

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Leo Rowsome weekend festival is still on the Council agenda for next September


Leo Rowsome.

Leo Rowsome.

Leo Rowsome.

It's hoped that the proposed inaugural Leo Rowsome Weekend set to take place in Ferns in September will still take place despite many festivals falling foul of the Covid-19 crisis.

The late Mr Rowsome, who passed on September 20, 1970, has strong links with Ferns where his father William attended a music teacher along with his two brothers.

The brothers were taught music theory and how to play various instruments and that knowledge was passed on from William to his son, Leo.

A third generation in an unbroken line of uilleann pipers, Leo Rowsome was revered throughout Ireland as one of the greatest pipers the country ever produced.

In addition to his music abilities he was also highly regarded as an instrument maker and music teacher.

Such was his talent at piping that he was appointed teacher of uilleann pipes at Dublin's Municipal School of Music [now Dublin Institute of Technology's Conservatory of Music and Drama] when he was just 16-year-of-age.

He made many recordings throughout his career and he the first Irish artist to perform on BBC TV (in 1933).

In 1934 he married Helena Williams, from Taghmon, and because of the strong links he had with County Wexford, the Enniscorthy Municipal District Manager, Ger Mackey, brought a proposal to the members' attention of staging a festival in honour of the legendary musician in Ferns from September 18 to 20.

In making his suggestion to the members Mr Mackey said: 'This inaugural event will celebrate the contribution that Leo Rowsome made to traditional Irish music and in particular the uilleann pipes.'

'It is appropriate that the Municipal District would commemorate this extraordinary exponent of traditional music on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his death,' said Mr Mackey.

Enniscorthy Guardian