History of Irish Piping
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Irish Piping in St. Louis


        St.Louis has a long history of Irish pipers. The first known reference came from the St.Louis Register newspaper in the 1800’s in reference to the old Kerry Patch neighborhood where many survivors of the famine came to live. In the 1920’s a grandson of a one of those pipers would play the pipes in Fr.Tim Dempsey’s Irish Pipe Band.The band was founded at St. Patricks parish where Fr. Dempsey was the Pastor.The band folded after the death of Fr.Dempsey.
        In 1952 Pete Sullivan a native of Irelands Co Kerry moved to St. Louis. He founded the Shamrock Pipe Band and was its Pipe Major. He started the band with two pipers that had played in Fr.Dempsey’s band and began teaching members of the St.Louis Irish community to play and they joined the band. The Shamrock Pipe Band played regular gigs in the Old Gaslight Square at O’Connell’s Pub in the 50’s and 60’s. and at all the Irish events. After the band folded the pipers continued to play solo gigs.
        Like myself Pete was a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, an Irish Catholic fraternal organization and a member of my parish, St Gregory the Great in St.Ann. Fellow Hibernian piper Dave Holmes in 1995 helped me get a set of pipes and a practice chanter and got me started. In 1996 I began taking lessons from Pete. He felt that Hibernian pipers should never loose their Irish identity. This is reflected in the tunes to be played and the uniform to be worn. As a result I will only wear solid color kilts like the dark green or the saffron color, a dark rusty sort of burnt orange color that is the National Kilt of Ireland. I also have a saffron kilt that is a lighter dark gold color. The saffron kilt is worn by the pipers of the Defence Forces of the Republic of Ireland. Brogue shoes with a large buckle are also a traditional part of the Irish pipers uniform. I am proud to wear the cap badge of the Irish Volunteers. The same badge is also worn today by the Irish Defence Forces.
        It is a great honor for me to be one of the pipers leading the Hibernian St.Patricks Day parade in Dogtown, playing at the yearly Emerald Ball where the the St.Louis Irish Person of the Year is honored, the annual Commeration at Calvary Cemetery of the Dublin Easter Rising of 1916, the annual Corpus Christi Procession, the Hedgerow Mass, the Irish Country Fair at St.James Parish and many Irish weddings , funerals. And Memorial Masses around St.Louis.

To discuss your event, I can be reached at:

Phone: 314-423-6816
Email:IrishWarPiper@aol.com

Links:

Dave's Warpipe Site
Irish Defense Force Pipers
History of the Irish Warpipe
St. Louis Irish Pipes and Drums
Thomas Davis Pipeband - Co. Cork Ireland
Irish Pipeband Association
Irish Air Corp Pipe Band
Bob Dunshire's Bagpipe Web Directory
O'Faolian Academy of Irish Dance

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