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'Today is a global milestone': Uilleann pipes get international recognition

President Michael D Higgins is among those to welcome the news

NPUUNESCO1 Niamh Landale, Brendan Gleeson, Irial Ó Casaide and Gay McKeon Source: Na Píobairí Uilleann

UILLEANN PIPES HAVE been recognised by Unesco as an important symbol of Ireland’s heritage.

The musical instrument has been added to the organisation’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

In a statement, Unesco said: “Uilleann piping offers an important way of socializing and plays an integral role in life events such as marriages and funerals, where it provides a sense of rootedness and a connection to the past.”

President Michael D Higgins is among those to welcome the news, saying it “represents an honour for a most valuable part of Irish culture, and for uilleann piping throughout the world, and is a valuable recognition of the skills, imagination, creativity and importance of those who make, restore and play na píobaí uilleann”.

He added: “We are very proud of our reputation for creativity and music traditions; a reputation which is greatly enhanced by our craftspeople who have passed their love of music and talent from generation to generation down through the centuries. Our music and craftwork connect us in profound ways, weaving together cultural memory and contemporary vision.”


Source: Maxwells/Vimeo

Gay McKeon, CEO of Na Píobairí Uilleann, said: “Today is a global milestone for uilleann piping and shines a worldwide spotlight on the Irish pipes. From movies to TV and now video games, there are new opportunities opening up all the time that showcase the versatility of the instrument and its distinctive sound.”

Josepha Madigan, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, said today’s announcement is “testament to the community of uilleann pipers across the country who, since the 1960s, have succeeded in their mission to stop the decline in the playing and making of the uilleann pipes”.

“The success today is a real community effort from Na Píobairí Uilleann, Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy, the Armagh Pipers Club, and other organisations and individuals who have contributed to the resurgence of interest in Uilleann Piping, in Ireland and around the world.”

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Órla Ryan

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