Gilnahirk Pipe Band

Formed 1919

North West Championships 2013, Portrush

The contest in Portrush is always the subject of mixed emotions. In recent years, it has tended to be the close of the local contest season and, if the weather is good, it serves as a nice conclusion with a well attended parade of the town rounding off the day. However, it also signals the effective start of the Winter's practice and the hard work to come before we do it all again next year. 

Drawn to play towards the end of the 17 competitors in our grade, it was still necessary to get up to the Port nice and early to secure a parking space. A usual, the town was busy - and the Bank Holiday weekend probably exacerbated the transport issues. Nevertheless, Band members arrived on time and Lansdowne Crescent was soon alive with the sound of the pipes. The Band was playing for the first time with new pipe chanters, so a little tuning refinement had to be done before hitting the arena. Of course, none of this got in the way of a sneaky ice cream...
The weather stayed fine, if a little cold, for our run and a solid performance was delivered. Then it was time to sit back and enjoy the rest of the Grades before the finale. 
There was a brief shower before the bands all paraded in for the results, but the relative sunshine returned and Gilnahirk strode proudly on. Although the Band narrowly missed out on the prizes, the drummers were delighted to place second, just behind the corps which has been winning all season. This augers well for next season - with a strong off-season we would really hope to be challenging for honours in 2014. 

Portrush wouldn't be Portrush without the parade of the town and this year's effort was very well attended. As usual, it was slow progress down the main street, with crowds 5 or 6 deep in places. Gilnahirk received a very positive reception - it was just a pity we didn't have a trophy to carry down the street!
All in all, 2013 has been a great year for the Band. The addition of Pipe Major Newell has reinvigorated the Band and along with Leading Drummer Stephen Hoy, he has fashioned a better sound and a higher standard of playing. Other new players have boosted both the pipe corps and the drummers and the social side of the Band has never been stronger. We had our highly successful Burns Night earlier in the year and have plans for other events to raise funds for equipment. We have learner classes for both pipers and drummers with and eye on the future for the Band and we have also been approached by some more mature players who want to join the team for next season. Gilnahirk certainly has further to go in the rebuilding process, but firm foundations have been laid this year and we would be delighted to hear from anyone else who wants to come and be a part of it. Contact us on or follow us on Facebook if you want to know more - see you in the practice hall!