Pipes of peace commemorate WW1 in County Mayo

Enjoying the trip
Enjoying the trip

The young pipers of the “Lads and Lassies o’the Tapp” recently visited County Mayo to explore the commemoration of World War One in West Ireland and discover shared links with our own local heritage.

The trip was generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund through the Young Roots Programme and is an important feature of the young pipers on-going history project.

The two groups piping meeting for the first time in Westport Town Hall before their 'concert'  outside

The two groups piping meeting for the first time in Westport Town Hall before their 'concert' outside

In partnership with Ballymoney Museum the project focuses on how the Great War is commemorated across Ireland and the role of pipers during the terrible conflict a century ago. The group would like to thank Keith Beattie from the museum for all his hard work behind the scenes in helping to make this trip so successful.

The highlight of their visit was a chance to meet young pipers from the Clew Bay Pipe Band. The aim was to form a cross border link between both bands, sharing music and culture. The young people immediately made friends and within minutes were performing an impromptu concert on the streets in the centre of Westport, stopping traffic and attracting an enthusiastic audience of passers-by. It is hoped that the young Clew Bay pipers will visit here next year and have the opportunity to perform with The Lads an Lassies o’the Tapp in Ballymoney.

The “Lads and Lassies” also took part in a moving ceremony at the County Mayo Peace Park, Castlebar, remembering the men from the county who fought and died in World War One. The service was led by Michael Feeney MBE, the man responsible for the creation of the famous war memorial. Representatives of the band laid a wreath at the memorial and performed music and readings. Michael accompanied the group throughout their stay and helped co-ordinate the packed itinerary which had been planned and organised by Mick Baynes, Events Co-ordinator, Castlebar Chamber of Commerce. The group were formally welcomed by members of Mayo County Council including the Chair, Councillor Blackie Gavin.

The trip also introduced the visitors to diverse aspects of Mayo’s past, with entertaining talks and tours given by local historians, such as Ernie Sweeney who told them about the impact of the Famine in the area. Toss Gibbons took them on a tour of the “Titanic Village”, Lahardaun, visiting the Titanic Memorial Park and the village church to see the beautiful stained glass windows which depict the tragic story of the loss of the great liner. Brian Hoban provided valuable insight into the history of the Irish Civil War.

Robbie Bellingham is piping at a service of remembrance

Robbie Bellingham is piping at a service of remembrance