Pipes and drums descend on City of Culture

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness spectating at the All Ireland Pipe Band and Drum Major Championships with, from left, Fred Walker, RSPBA Northern Ireland branch president, Con O'Connill, Irish Pipe Band Association president, and Ray Hall, RSPBANI chairperson. (0907PG22)

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness spectating at the All Ireland Pipe Band and Drum Major Championships with, from left, Fred Walker, RSPBA Northern Ireland branch president, Con O'Connill, Irish Pipe Band Association president, and Ray Hall, RSPBANI chairperson. (0907PG22)

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More than 60 bands and drum majors from across the island gathered in Derry on Saturday to compete in the 68th All Ireland Pipe Band Championships.

Chairman of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, Northern Ireland, Ray Hall, said Derry was a fitting host city for this year’s championships.

“There is a rich cultural heritage of piping in Ireland and along with our counterparts in the Irish Pipe Band Association it gives us the opportunity to be involved in the City of Culture celebrations by showcasing in competition the finest pipe bands and drum majors from Ireland and further afield.”

Chief executive of Culture Company 2013, Shona McCarthy, said: “It is a privilege to be able to welcome any All Ireland championship to the city during our year as City of Culture.”

Meanwhile, Ciaran Mourdant, chairman Irish Pipe Band Association, said they were proud “to partner The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, Northern Ireland Branch whose turn it is to host the All Ireland Pipe Band Championships”.

On the competition field, Field Marshal Montgomery were the big winners taking the honours in grade one for the 21st time.

It was a day laden with silverware for Field Marshal as they won prizes for first MSR, first Medley, best pipes, best drums, bass and M&D, ahead of St Laurence O’Toole, also second drums, Cullybackey and Ravara. In grade 2 Bleary & District swept to success taking first place overall and collecting prizes for best pipes, drums and bass.

PSNI were second, also best M&D, Manorcunningham were third with Cullen in fourth place.