Saturday 19 October 2019

New Pipe Major to lead Ross band

Ciarán Mac Murchaidh.
Ciarán Mac Murchaidh.

David Looby

The award winning New Ross Pipe Band has a new musical director.

The Musical Director (Pipe Major) of the 'A' band Nigel O'Neill has stood down after 11 years in charge and a new Pipe Major has been appointed - Ciarán Mac Murchaidh.

Nigel, who began his piping career as an 11-year-old piper with the band and who has spent the past 11 years as Pipe Major of the 'A' band, has decided to retire as Pipe Major.

Nigel, who has been resident in Northern Ireland for the past two years felt that the commute was becoming impossible and also that he couldn't find the time necessary to work with players on a one to one basis in order to bring the band further. During Nigel's tenure as Pipe Major, the band won two World Pipe Band Championships at Grade 4A and Grade 3B levels, as well second place in the World Championships at Grade 3A level. Each new grade involved a promotion based on the previous season's results.

The band's members also won All Ireland Championships at Grade 4A and Grade 3B level, as well as numerous other placings at All Irelands, along with first prize at the Scottish Pipe Band Championships while in Grade 3B.

Due to the consistent success and progress, the band was promoted to Grade 2 at the end of the 2017 season.

The highlights for New Ross & District in Grade 2 over the past two years were qualifying for and competing in the 12-band final in the World Championships in 2018 and winning the Mid-Ulster Championships in 2019.

Band spokesperson Brian MacMahon said: 'We in the New Ross & District Pipe Band are extremely proud of the journey we have taken, especially with one of our home grown players. The band is currently in the top six bands on the island of Ireland. We owe Nigel a debt of gratitude for all his commitment and hard work and hope that he will continue to be involved with the band in the coming years.'

Ciarán is a Professor in Dublin City University and resides in County Kildare. He first learned to play the pipes as a young boy with Cavanacarragh Pipe Band, the local band where he grew up in his native County Fermanagh.

Ciarán joined New Ross & District's Grade 2 band in September 2017 and has played there since. During his time as P/M with Lord Edward's Own, the band won prizes in many contests in Ireland and Scotland.

Ciarán said he is delighted to have been chosen to take over the position of Pipe Major with New Ross & District along with Drum Sergeant Mark Bardgett. Ronan Maguire of the St. Laurence O'Toole Pipe Band will continue to work with the New Ross & District 'A' Pipe Band in an advisory capacity while Brian Mac Mahon, Paul Connolly and Matt Ryan will continue their work with the 'B' band.

New Ross Standard