While other sectors may be suffering, one that certainly hasn’t been affected by the recession is Uilleann Pipe making. The national bagpipe of Ireland is one of the most complicated instruments in the world to build, usually taking a master craftsman somewhere in the region of 400 hours from start to finish.
The waiting list for someone to get their hands on a set, which can retail anywhere from €7,000 to €20,000, is often more than seven years. Ireland currently commands only 20% of this €7million-a-year industry, so the possibility of expansion, and the creation of more jobs, is enormous.
To aid this possibility, Fingal LEADER Partnership and Na Piobairi Uilleann have teamed up to provide a three year course in Art of Uilleann Pipe Making. The comprehensive programme will cover all aspects of the trade, including basic engineering, fine precious metal mork, the history and evolution of the instrument, as well as how to run a practicing business.
It begins this year, and it is aimed that by the end of the course each student will have produced two full and high standard sets of pipes.