Lurgan Park, County Armagh, Northern Ireland, once again came alive with the music of pipe bands when the prestigious All-Ireland Pipe Band Championships were held in the picturesque park for the first time on Saturday 1st July, write John Kelly and Andrew Cromie.
The championships rotate each year between a venue in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. It isnow in its 72nd year. It is one of the key outings in the pipe band calendar and came hot on the heels of the successful Craigavon & District Pipe Band and Drum Major Championships held in the park just two weeks earlier on 17th June.
It is organised by the Joint Association Council of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, Northern Ireland Branch (RSPBANI), and the Irish Pipe Band Association (IPBA) in partnership with Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.
About 49 pipe bands and 45 drum majors from all over Ireland, north and south, competed including Field Marshal Montgomery, St Laurence O’Toole, McDonald Memorial (Dromore) and Battlehill Pipe Band (Portadown). Bands from the Irish Pipe Band Association also attended including New Ross and District (Wexford), Thiepval Memorial (Donegal) and Manorcunningham (Donegal). Manorcunningham are pictured top celebrating after their win in Grade 2 was announced.
Elsewhere there was also plenty of entertainment on offer with a wide range of delicious food at the cuisine court, a staged area with cultural music, Highland dancing, face painting, balloon modelling and a kid’s fairground zone to keep the little ones entertained. . The Chieftain of the Day was Alderman Gareth Wilson, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.
The main drum major winners were: Novice – Louis Anderson (Crozier Memorial); Junior – Jamie Cupples (Aughintober), Juvenile – Kathryn McKeown (Battlehill) and Adult – Jason Price (Ravara).
• All pictures by John Kelly. Full results here. Read a short history of the championship here. The next major pipe band championship is the Scottish to be held at Dumbarton on July 29. The final major of the year, the World Championships, will be held on Glasgow Green on August 11 and 12. If you require tickets for the Grade 1 arena then move quickly as they are selling out fast. Tickets for the event and full information are available here. You can also buy tickets by calling 0141 353 8000 and in person at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall box office. Also selling out fast are tickets for the main attraction of Worlds Week, the concert by Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia, to be given in Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on August 9. Get tickets here. Another main highlight of Worlds Week is the parade of bands from Glasgow’s Blythswood Square to George Square on Friday August 11 at around midday. Overseas bands are the main participants and they are later invited to a reception in Glasgow City Chambers hosted by the Lord Provost. If you are in the city that day then why not make a point of turning out to give these bands, many of whom have travelled thousands of miles to take part in the Worlds, your support.