The Auld Triangle

The song has great memories for me..

I played at an amazing festival in Tatihou, France with Freewheel some time ago. One of the most incredible places I've ever been. We put together an alternative setlist before the show, which included this song.. performed 'a cappella' by the four of us singing in harmony. We saved it for the last set, before a blast of jigs. You could hear a pin drop in between each of the verses. It was special, hair standing on the back of your neck stuff.

When we met people after the show, it was the one piece everyone spoke about. They wanted to hear it again!

Here it is, on uilleann pipes.

Merry Sisters Of Fate

So here's what I got up to on my Sunday evening..

I decided to try and record a reel on a few different instruments, while recording video of myself making the audio recordings. I've used Logic to record the audio and iMovie to put the video together. It's the first time I've used Apple's iMovie.. tricky enough to use. Trying to get all the videos to match the audio isn't as straight forward as it seems. After many 'Help' searches and 'how to' tutorials I managed to throw something together.

So here is the finished article. Hopefully I'll make a few more of these in the future.

Richard Neylon plays the 'Merry Sisters of Fate' Reel on Uilleann Pipes, Flute, Bodhran and Keyboard.

On Raglan Road

"On Raglan Road" is a well-known Irish song from a poem written by Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh named after Raglan Road in BallsbridgeDublin. In the poem, the speaker recalls a love affair that he had with a young woman while walking on a "quiet street". Although the speaker knew that he would risk being hurt if he initiated a relationship, he did so anyway.

Freewheel play Galway Oyster Festival 2015

Freewheel are set to launch the World Oyster Opening Championship in Galway on Saturday the 26th of September.

The festival will take place in the marquee at the Spanish Arch Galway after a parade through the town.

Tickets can be found by following the link below:

 - Oyster Festival Tickets

Freewheel consists of renowned fiddle player Fergal Scahill along with champion uilleann piper Richard Neylon. They will be joined on guitar and song by David Howley of We Banjo 3 and percussion maestro Eimhin Craddock - formerly of the Saw Doctors.

Sample Civil Wedding Ceremony

This is a general example of a civil wedding ceremony.

The layout here is very flexible and can be altered to suit your taste.

I have highlight the parts where there is music or song.

  • Entrance procession (Music - This is the big entrance, common pieces include "Gabriel's Oboe" or something Irish like "Tabhair dom do Láimh". Or else a song can work nice here e.g. "She Moves Through the Fair")
  • Opening Words by the celebrant. Can include the 'Giving in Marriage' speech here.
  • Music (e.g. Inis Oirr or a song)
  • First Reading
  • Lighting of the Wedding Candles (Music - something short here. This is played as the bride and groom are lighting their individual candles. I usually like to play a slow Irish reel on flute e.g. Absent Friends)
  • Definition of Marriage
  • Wedding Vows
  • Exchange of Rings
  • Music e.g. Ag Criost an tSiol
  • Lighting of Marriage Candle (Music - again this candle ceremony can be brief but it's nice to have some music playing as the bride and groom each take a light from their individual candles and light the marriage candle to symbolise their joining together. I like some Irish music here again e.g "Mo Ghile Mear")
  • Sand Ceremony (Music - something soft behind the celebrant talking )
  • Closing - poem or prayer
  • Declaration of Marriage (Music - something short and fanfare-like to announce the new couple to the room while they kiss e.g. Sí Beag Sí Mór)
  • Signing of the Register (Music - this is where everybody starts to get a bit rowdy as the bride and groom get to the business end of things and sign on the dotted line! Something loud and lively works here - I personally prefer some rousing jigs or reels)
  • Introduction of Newly Weds
  • Recessional/Dismissal (Music - the part where everybody waves the bride and groom out the door. Some options -  a Song "Fields of Gold", or a lively Irish jig "Haste to the Wedding") 

Panis Angelicus

Panis Angelicus is a beautiful hymn made famous by the likes of Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban and Charlotte Church.

The title 'Panis Angelicus' translates as 'Bread of Angels'.

It is a song that I'm regularly asked to play at wedding ceremonies.

Here is my version of the hymn played on the Irish Uilleann Pipes.

Irish Piper @ Armada Hotel, Spanish Point, Clare

Something keeps drawing me back to County Clare. It must be that my father came from this part of the country. I feel I have a special connection to the place. I love Spanish Point, it has a sort of holiday vibe to it. It's only a few minutes drive from Miltown Malbay, where I spent many a summer attending the Willie Clancy Piping Festival. The Armada Hotel itself is a popular one for weddings and music gigs, and it's easy to see why.

We were unlucky with the weather today. What usually is a stunning location for a wedding instead was covered in black clouds. Still, never let it be said that bad weather ruined any good Irish party. This is the first wedding I played for where the bride and groom were invited up after the desert to officially "cut the cheese". Thankfully for everyone involved it had no relation to the release of noxious gases, but instead involved the newlywed couple cutting into a fine block of cheese. An interesting tradition! The cheese was served later on in the night during the band break - a nice touch.

The music went off without a hitch and everyone stayed dancing well into the night. Another great night down in the Banner county. I'm sure I'll be back again soon!

 

Inis Oirr

I have just recorded 'Inis Oirr' and have uploaded it to the website today. Inis Oirr is a beautiful waltz - more commonly played as a type of slow air. It is one I play a lot at weddings and in churches.

I chose to play this one on the low whistle and I decided to have a go at putting a bit of piano behind it myself.

Please have a listen to the track below or on my Music page.

Knockranny House Hotel, Westport

Irish Piper @ Knockranny House Hotel Westport

Irish Piper @ Knockranny House Hotel Westport

11th April 2015

The Knockranny House Hotel has been racking up awards over the last few years and I couldn't wait to visit. This time I was venturing with the wedding band and I had my trusty saxophone with me. I took the stunning back road from Galway through Connemara for a lovely Saturday drive in the sunshine. The scenery through Maam bridge and Killary is breathtaking  and makes for a relaxing drive, although the road never stops twisting and turning.. don't mention the wandering sheep!

I was impressed at the sheer size of the hotel. I thought from the name, that it would be more like a manor house but it seemed to me to be more like a grand hotel. Nevertheless very impressive, it seems to sit on a height overlooking Westport. 

The banquet hall was very elegant, and quite spacious - always makes for an easy set up. Even though this was a large wedding ~ 200 guests, I didn't seem in any way overcrowded. We kicked things off with "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran - a nice slow song, and proving an ever popular choice for first dances these days! I do like it myself, and it makes sure there are no mad dance routines required on the part of the wedding couple, just a nice slow embrace.

I really enjoyed this gig. Great crowd of people at the wedding and everyone seemed up for a dance, maybe it was just the music ;) Another late night, another satisfied crowd. Roll on the next..

 

Gregan's Castle, Ballyvaughan

Irish Piper @ Gregan's Castle Hotel

Irish Piper @ Gregan's Castle Hotel

10th April 2014

One of my favourite parts of the country - Ballyvaughan Co.Clare. Today I was playing for a wedding party in the beautiful Gregan's Castle. I had often heard great things about this manor house hotel, but never before visited. Set at the foot of Corkscrew hill, it is hidden from the road. It is nicely secluded and seems like a perfect location for a wedding.

On arrival I was presented with coffee and snacks and made feel very welcome - a nice touch for a travelling musician! The hotel was very relaxing and seemed well suited for a wedding, albeit one of a smaller, more intimate size.

I'm happy to say the music was well received with the guests and everyone was still partying when I left for Galway. My best wishes to the lovely couple, Zita and Patrick. 

Hopefully I will get to visit this stunning country manor again in the future!