A successful year for the Achill Pipe Band in which they won two major competitions culminated with a third place in the World Pipe Championships and promotion to a higher grade level.
The Achill Pipe Band travelled to Glasgow over the weekend for the World Pipe Championship - the Olympics of the piping world - where they competed against 52 other pipe bands from Britain, New Zealand, the US, Switzerland and Pakistan in the 4b grade.
In a season when they secured the Irish, British and European titles, the band were hopeful of securing a third major. They came top in their qualifying group and made it into the final 12 but success on this occasion eluded them but they were delighted to finish in third place - their best ever finish in the ‘World’s’.
The Achill Pipe Band was founded in 2007 with the sole purpose of taking part in formal competitions and consist of up to 20 members from the different village pipebands. Joe Mulligan, PRO of the Achill Pipe Band told The Mayo News that 2011 was a very successful year for the band and they were thrilled to be now promoted to compete in 4a competitions next year.
“After winning the British and European majors, the expectations were high going into the Worlds and while there were hopes of coming first we are very happy with the result. It has been a very successful season where we have been promoted to a higher grade. We hope to strive to develop as a band and bring the Achill name to a wider audience. Next year the plan is to win more silverware, secure another major and keep getting promoted,” he said.
The members of the band vary in age and Joe paid tribute to their dedication and the sacrifices they have made to excel at what they do. He said they start training in September for competitions which start in April and continue until mid August.
“Of the hundreds of pipe band members in the parish, these are the core group who give freely of their time and commitment and make personal and financial sacrifices to do what they do. Each and every one of them put in such an effort to get to the stage they have got to.”
Each year they must raise around €20,000 to keep the band on the road and Joe said the success could not be possible without the ongoing generosity of the community people and the band were most thankful to them for their help, support and great encouragement.