Quinnipiac University

A Wild and Mournful Sound: Uilleann Pipes and Irish Identity

Bagpipes have a strong linkage to Celtic culture in the popular imagination. The Irish have their own special type of bagpipe, known as “uilleann” pipes. The development, eclipse and revival of uilleann piping is closely tied to Irish history. The distinctive Irish form of bagpipes has been a vehicle for preserving the musical heritage of Ireland, particularly after the Great Famine, where immigrants to the U.S. worked to encourage the collection of traditional music and the playing of the pipes. Since 1968 Na Piobairi Uilleann, headquartered in Dublin, has worked to promulgate the art of uilleann piping worldwide. Through their efforts, the uilleann pipes have been recognized as an unique cultural heritage symbol by UNESCO.  

This presentation will discuss the development of uilleann pipes, their place in Irish history, and the wild and mournful sounds they make. The event will include a demonstration of the pipes through a sample of musical types and also allow interested individuals to “try them on for size.”

John Donohue is a cultural anthropologist, a member of NPU, and a board member of the Pipers' Gathering, a US non-profit dedicated to promulgating bellows-blown bagpipes like the Uilleann pipes. He has taught at the college and university level for almost 30 years and has presented at regional, national, and international conferences. Harboring the ambition to play the uilleann pipes in the worst way, he is now living that dream.

Admission is $5, free for Quinnipiac students and museum members. Registration is required.

Saturday, November 17, 2018 at 2:00pm to 3:00pm

Ireland's Great Hunger Museum, IGHM 104 Lower Gallery
3011 Whitney Avenue, Hamden CT 06518 USA

Event Type


Administrative departments/offices

IGHM Administration


Off Campus Sites


Students, Faculty and Staff, Alumni, Parents and Friends, General Public




$5 general public, free for QU students and museum members

Google Calendar iCal Outlook

Event Registration Required

This event requires registration.