IN the design to give publicity to the gleanings of years in this held of inquiry as for as it relates to the lives of famous or forgotten performers on the Uilleann or Union pipes, the aim of including the names of all Irish pipers of note of historical interest has been kept well in view.
Now that Grattan Flood has made known to us the names of so many performers on the Piob Mor, or warpipes of earlier times, can we be censured for availing ourselves of the opportunity to add them to the list, in this belated endeavor to enhance their fame.
Far more dangerous to England's interests than the harpers were the pipers considered, as they invariably headed all hostile ineursions into the Pale. Consequently they were outlawed as a class, and indiscriminately imprisoned in times of public unrest or rebellion.
Whether from the expense of their maintenance in times of peace or through the intereession of powerful friends, pipers were pardoned occasionally, and it is from the ofheial records of such instances of elemeney that we have been made aware of their existence.
State pardons were granted from the year 1550, to 1585, to the following named pipers:
Hugh buidhe (yellow).
Cormac the piper.
William the piper.
John O'Doran, of Brittas, County Wicklow, at the request of the Protestant Archbishop of Dublin.
Morighane piberre (Morogh an piobaire), or Morgan the piper. There were gentlemen pipers even in those days it seems, for this man whose address was the Park, near Gorey, Wexford, was one of the parties to a treaty with the then Lord Deputy of Ireland in relation to their estates.
Conley McFannin fionn.
Manus the piper.
Owen the piper.
Thomas reagh, (brown) Kings County.
Morgan the piper. The date of this pardon was 1584, although he had been previously pardoned in 1574.
Alexander the piper of the Park, Gorey, County Wexford.
Donogh Mac Cormac, County Limerick.
John Piers, "chief musician and piper to Sir Gerald Fitzgerald of Dromana."
One of the most distinguished pipers in the latter part of the sixteenth century according to Crattan Flood, was Dermot Mac Grath. He fell under the ban of the law nevertheless, for a pardon was granted to him in 1597 by the intercession of Fineen Fitzpatrick, "Lord ot Upper Ossory.”
Fineen Fitz John, was pardoned two years later through the influence of Edmund Viscount Montgarret.
Another batch of pardons to pipers is recorded in the State Papers for the years 1601 to 1603, both inclusive; and from the large number so liberated we can readily conceive how active in the national cause were the Irish pipers at this period, although it appears they were more in their glory half a century later. The Piob Mor or Irish warpipe continued in favor whenever the Irish engaged in battle, and the brave pipers always led on the army in times of warfare. Following is the list:
Murtagh Mac Coyne, Kilmallock, County Cork.
Owen Mac Hugh na bralie.
John intlea, a wandering piper from County Cork.
Cosney Mac Clancy, of Cloonanna, County Limerick.
Bryan Mac Gillechrist, County Wexford.
Fergus O'Farrell, County exford.
Donal Mac Fergus O'Farrel1, County Wexford.
Patrick oge O'Farrel1, County Wexford.
Daniel O'Cul1inane Burren, County Cork.
Conor O'Cul1inane Burren, County Cork.
Richard buidhe Mac James, County Wexford.
Turlogh the piper, of Tubberdower.
Owen O'De1aney, of the Park, Queen's County.
Dermot O'De1aney, of the Park, Queen's County.
John O'Tracy Liscarroll, County Cork.
Donogh O'Cullinane, of Mara, County Cork.
Cathal O'Kelly, County Wicklow.
Donogh buidhe O'Byrne, County Wicklow, and Donal the piper, pardoned at the special instance ot Mountjoy Lord Deputy.
Donal O'Kil1een, of Cloghan, County Westmeath.
Owen O'Kil1een, of Raltra, County Roscommon.
Donal Mac Donogh, gankagh (pugnosed) County Cork.
Bryan buidhe O'Clabby, County Sligo.
After the death of Queen Elizabeth the rigors of government persecution of the Irish Minstrels, were gradually abated. Still instances are not wanting to prove that pipers were not infrequently treated with harshness and even barbarity.
From ofhcial records of Cromwell's time, Grattan Flood notes an entry relative to one Cornelius O'Brien, an Irish piper, who in 1656, was "Sentenced to receive twenty lashes on the bare back,” in addition to a sentence of transportation to the Barbadoes. a penal colony in the West Indies, where
numbers of his profession had preceded him.
Even as late as 1676, John Cullinan was prosecuted for being a bagpiper. The specific complaint was that when the company (soldiers) went to the parish church at Ringrone, County of Cork, he went piping ahead of them to church.
The official records to the effect that the above named pipers were brought to account in the year 1661 for "piping before a corpse to the church,” remind us that the bagpipe whether in its primitive or improved form was until comparatively recent times, associated with every Irish custom and ceremony from the cradle to the grave.