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Plea for more uilleann pipe makers

Three out of every four set of the traditional instrument are now made outside of Ireland.

IRELAND WILL LOSE the craft of making uilleann pipes if more investment is not made in training, an Oireachtas committee has been told.

Fewer than 20 makers of uilleann pipes are working in Ireland today – while three of every four sets are being manufactured overseas.

Traditional musician Seán Potts, a founding member of The Chieftains, spoke to the Joint Committee on Tourism, Culture, Sport, Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs about the “urgent” need for investment, reports the Irish Times.

Irish pipers sometimes have to wait up to seven years to get their own full set because the world’s leading manufacturers are based in countries like the US, Britain, France, Canada and Germany, Potts said.

Potts, the honorary president of Na Píobairí Uilleann (NPU), explained that more and more young people are interested in playing, and that the situation is unacceptable:

It’s great to see the students coming at 13 and 14 years old but they have to wait then for the pipes . . . I will guarantee you that a lot of them will go off the boil.

The NPU says that the demand for uilleann pipes is so great there is a backlog valued at €7m.

What could Ireland lose if the craft of uilleann pipe making dies? See below…

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