Strick Up The Band; 

Búionn Piobairí Barra Naofa.
by Eibhlín Uí Cheilleachair


Bunaiodh Buionn Piobairi Barra Naofa  sa bhliain 1928.  Roimhe sin bhi "Fife and Drum Band" i mBeal Atha'n Ghaorthaidh agus nuair a cuireadh deireadh leis an mbuionn sin chuaigh roinnt des na baill a bhi ann sa Bhuionn Piobairi.  Timpeall an ama sin chuaigh Seamus O Se, Dinny Leary agus Danny Hyde R.I.P. go dti Shanbally "to buy the Band".  Bhi Buionn Piobairi Shanbally ag cur deireadh lena mbuionn fein agus bhi se oiriunach do mhuintir Bheal Atha'n Ghaorthaidh uirlisi ceoil agus culaith eide a bhaint amach mar seo.  Is fir ar fad a bhi pairteach sa Bhuionn Piobairi an uair ud agus ar feadh i bhfad ina dhiaidh san.
The Pipe Band was very active in the 1930's as there were a lot of elections being held during that decade.  The Band used to take part in the Annual Manchester Martyrs Parade in Macroom around this time.  They attended alot of Feiseanna and other festivals and they travelled to all parts of South Kerry and from West Cork to Kinsale.  The local Tug of War team always travelled with them and took part in Tug of War contests wherever they went.  The group travelled in Tadhg Twomey's and Danny Shea's lorries.  These lorries were covered over and seated.
Diarmuid O hEaluithe,(Jerh Healy), Gurteennakilla  remembers his first outing with the Band.  When he was about 15 years of age the Band were invited to Kenmare to welcome Eamonn De Valera after he had won an election.  It was a very blustery night with high winds and Diarmuid was given the flag to carry before the Band.  The wind was so strong that Jerry Moynihan, Lackabawn had to come to his aid to keep the flag from blowing away.
     His best memory of his days with the Band is welcoming home the great Dan O Mahony to his native Ballydehob. The townland where Dan was born was called Goirtin Na Coille.  Dan was the World Champion Wrestler in the late 1930's having beaten all the top wrestlers in America and other countries.  The band were a bit late arriving in Ballydehob and after putting on their uniforms and tuning the pipes they proceeded to play through the town.  He remembers a huge crowd being present and bonfires go leor and the women dancing on the street.  There were two other Bands taking part in the celebrations, one from Bandon and the other from the city.  Bandon were leading the Parade and Buionn Piobairi Barra Naofa joined in at the back.  the Marshall in charge was up and down the road outside the towm keeping everything in order and then he made an announcement over the Public Address  that Ballingeary Pipe Band had been requested to lead the Parade.  It was a great honour to be chosen by a World Champion and in the following months while Dan O'Mahony stayed around his hometown  and organised regattas and other functions Ballingeary Pipe Band were always invited to participate.  Sadly Dan O'Mahony was killed in an accident involving his car and a parked lorry while on his way home from a Wrestling meeting in Dublin.
     Is cuimhin le Diarmuid la go raibh an Bhuionn Piobairi ag seinnt tri bhaile Scoil Mhuire (Schull) i rith an tsamhraidh.  Bhi slua mor timpeall agus bhi roinnt poncánaigh (Yanks) ann chomh maith.  Bhi poncánach amhain togtha leis an gceol agus thaitin an Bhanna chomh mór leis gur thug sé an dream ar fad isteach i dtig tabhairne agus cheannaigh se deoch do gach duine diobh.  Ag an am sin ni raibh ach beirt as an grupa a bhí ag ól.  B'shin 45-50 bliain o shoin.
     In the 1950's Fr. Traynor from Lucan in Dublin used to spend alot of holidays in Gougane Barra and Beal Atha'n Ghaorthaidh. He had a great interest in Pipe Bands and brought down 25-30 members of a Pipe Band from Bray for a week. they camped in James Battie's meadow and spent the week playing music with the local lads.  On the Sunday they came to the village and played with Buionn Piobairi Barra Naofa after Mass.  Fr. Traynor is buried in Gougane where the old cells are. His grave faces the lake.
     In the 1950's the Band re-grouped  and at that time Fr. O' Neill P.P. (a native of Kinsale) who had been an army Chaplain obtained army jackets for the Band members.  These jackets were dyed black with orange braiding and worn with saffron kilts.  By now there were 12 Pipers in the band .  Many new members joined the band in the 1960's when it reformed again.  Things were going very well at this stage and the band was being trained by Micheal O Laoire R.I.P. and Liam O Liathain both form Cork.  Around this time Micheal O Laoire  and  Fionnbarra O Murchu organised a Mass Bands Competition in Beal Atha'n Ghaorthaidh in which many Bands paticipated.
     I 1962 bhuaidh an Banna Ceoil duais i gCoracaigh tareis pairt a ghlacadh i gcomórtas Bhannaí Ceóil na Mumhan.  Bhuaidh siad duaiseanna chomh maith i Mala i 1980, 1981, 1982 agus ag an Pan Celtic i gCill Airne.
     Ta alan athruithe tagtha ar an saol os na blianta atá luaite ach tá an Bhúionn Piobairi fos laidir.