Gilnahirk Pipe Band

Formed 1919

Helping out Dromara

Gilnahirk didn't attend the Twelfth of July celebrations as a Band this year but when the call came to help out another band, the members weren't slow to respond.

Dromara Pipe Band was short of both pipers and drummers for the Loughbrickland Twelfth. Anyone who knows the history of pipe bands in Northern Ireland will know that Gilnahirk's Pipe Major, Ricky Newell, had a hugely successful period in charge of Dromara, winning all before him, so it was a natural fit to combine the two outfits for the hottest Twelfth of July parade in recent memory.

Once again, it was an early start, with the Lodge and Band assembling in Dromara for 8.30am. Gilnahirk provided 3 pipers, 4 side drummers and 1 tenor drummer (Jesse making her first outing with the Band, joining husband George making a début on the pipes). Dromara provided the bass drummer and five pipers.

The day started with a parade through Dromara and then it was on to the bus for the short hop to Loughbrickland and a walk to the Assembly field. Although it was still early in the day, the heat was already searing and once instruments were downed, the players descended on the bottles of water provided by the Lodge and slapped on suncream for the rest of the day.

As the Band was with the leading District, the parade was soon under-way. The scorching temperatures were the main feature of the day and the ice cream vendors did a roaring trade. This parade is one of the biggest in Northern Ireland, featuring a great array of bands and a massive number of Lambeg drums.

Crowds were heavy along the route and the field was soon littered with the prone forms of exhausted bandsmen and Orangemen.

After the service and the resolutions, weary feet were once again employed for the walk back to the bus. A short journey later and it was back to Dromara for a quick walk round the town which was met with an enthusiastic response from the locals.

The (long) day over, the Band was pleased to tuck into sandwiches and buns provided by the Lodge, alongside the obligatory cup of tea.

Gilnahirk was very pleased to be able to help out Dromara - it was a case of making new friends and renewing old acquaintances. Clearly, we did something right - the Band featured as the "headline act" in UTV's coverage of Loughbrickland.

With the holiday over, attention now turns back to the contest season - and more hard work!