Siúinéir, seodóir, ceoltóir i gCondae an Chabháin. A pipe maker explains his craft.
Time, patience and a keen ear are just as necessary for the making of uilleann pipes as the exotic materials used by Mícheál Ó Cianáin in his County Cavan workshop.
Also known as Michael Keenan, he receives orders from all over the world, but mainly from the United States. Pipe making is a craft that takes time,
Suppose you had nothing to do only start on a set of uilleann pipes. Well, it could be compressed into a fair number of hours. But it would really probably have to be spread over at least six months.
The materials used in the pipes travel a long way before they reach the shores of Ireland, and are carefully chosen silver, African Blackwood, and ivory. Not all of them are easily come by,
I need African Blackwood. The first consignment I got now, and had no prospect of orders, only make my own pipes, I had to buy a half a ton of it...they wouldn’t ship any less. That was about 1950 or thereabouts.
Mícheál Ó Cianáin charges around £60 for a fully mounted ivory set of Highland pipes and up to £150 for a set of uillean pipes with an all-silver finish. Northumbrian pipes will set you back anything from £55 to £65. Having made so many sets of pipes for musicians over the years Ó Cianáin is modest to a fault,
Some say I have a keen ear for music, and some says maybe not.
This report for ‘Féach’ was broadcast on 17 March 1968. The reporter is Diarmaid Ó Muirithe.
The bilingual current affairs series Féach reported on national and international events and was broadcast from 1967 to 1984. Féach was aired every Sunday evening and featured reports in both Irish and English. The Irish word "Féach" meaning "Look" gives an indication of what the programme was about as editor John Ross stated "It will try to show, from a fresh viewpoint, what is happening at home and abroad each week". (RTÉ Guide, 14 July 1967, p.17) The show was originally anchored by Andy O'Mahony with reporting assistance from Seán Duignan and Mícheál Ó Briain.