When George Eggleston was playing his uileann pipes with harpist Celia Briar at a music session she told him that there were about 300 Ukrainian refugees living in Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim, but they had no musical instruments.

This alarmed George. As a multi-instrumentalist, based in Elphin, Co Roscommon, he said he could not imagine what it would be like not to have a musical instrument, so he felt he had to do something.

Knowing that there are many unused instruments in rooms and attics in homes all over the country, he put out an appeal and within a week or so he had the promise of eight pianos and dozens of other instruments started flowing in – guitars, keyboards, tin whistles and many more.

It is just three weeks since George put out the word among his musician colleagues and that word spread, even as far as London, the instruments came from all over.

Now, professional music teachers like Viktoria Polianska of the Chernihiv College of Music can play again and teach piano to her fellow refugees living in the Lough Allen Hotel in Drumshanbo.

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Ms Polianska described the instruments as a great gift and one which she says is acting like therapy for refugees.

She said that Ukrainians are world famous as being musical and being able to sing and to play music is helping them cope with the trauma of having to leave their homes.

The refugees have now set up a choir and Kateryna Dorogina says that it has made people much happier.

She said they are very grateful to everyone who donated the instruments which are helping them to fulfill their talents, to sing and to cope with their sadness.

Guitar lessons will start next week

Guitar lessons will start in the hotel next week and Mr Eggleston is looking out for someone to teach fiddle.

In the meantime the choir is practicing for a first public performance on Culture Night, 23 September in the Island Theatre in Ballinamore, Co Leitrim.

A sewing machine has also been donated and is being used to make national costume for the choir

Mr Eggleston said this initiative is one which can be replicated in every county in Ireland.

And he urged people to contact the refugees in their area, ask if they want instruments and then put out an appeal for unused musical instruments and get this going all over the country.