Garry Knight via Flickr
job for life

Repeat call for funding to train uilleann pipe makers

Last year’s warning that Ireland will lose the craft of making the traditional instrument still hits a note in 2011.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS been warned that the craft of making uilleann pipes could soon drift from these shores.

It was reported last October that an Oireachtas committee had heard that the number of uilleann pipe makers in Ireland was at a crisis low level. A spokesperson for Na Píobairí Uilleann (NPU) had told the Joint Committee on Tourism, Culture, Sport, Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs that there was about €7m worth of orders lodged for uilleann pipes by musicians around the world.

However, a shortage of trainee uilleann makers means that this backlog will only get worse. As it is there are only around 20 Irish uilleann pipe makers working today – three out of four sets of pipes are made overseas.

Now the Irish Times is reporting that six months on, NPU has established a training school for new pipe makers in Clonshaugh, Co Dublin. However, the school will need at least €120,000 a year for five years to get at least 30 people started on the road to becoming craftsmen and women.

A fundraising night at the Grand Social in Dublin, with Damien Dempsey headlining, hopes to get the ball rolling.

If you’re interested in watching the painstaking craft of making uilleann pipes, get along to the Culture Box, Temple Bar, Dublin from now until 26 April.