THE European Pipe Band Championships to be held on Saturday, 22 June has a record breaking 4,200 pipers and 60 drum majors, and promises to be the largest assembly of pipe bands ever held in Ireland.
This year's championships, being staged at Ormeau Park Belfast, are being organised by Belfast City Council in conjunction with the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association.
Alongside the main championships, there will be a Highland Dancing Competition when 40 dancers will vie for the top prizes in the dance categories of, Highland Fling, Sword Dancing, the 'seanntriubhas' " and the 'reel of tulloch'.
There will also be trade stalls, displays, and food and beverage outlets. There will be a full programme of family entertainment including a fun fair and numerous side-shows of children's activities. Entrance to the Championships will be free.
The High Sheriff of Belfast, Councillor Wallace Browne, who will be Honorary Chieftain of the Day, said he was delighted that the final preparations for the competition were progressing well.
There will be no parking near Ormeau Park (except for drivers holding blue badges - previously orange) and the Ormeau Embankment will be closed for traffic throughout the championships.
There will be a Park 'n' Ride facility operating from loam until 7.30pm, with shuttle buses picking up passengers frequently throughout the day.
Pick-ups are from Oxford Street in front of the Waterfront Hall, Cherryvale Playing Fields, Ravenhill Road and Queen's PE Centre, Stranmillis Embankment, with drop off at the entrance to the championships. Frequent return journeys will be available throughout the day from the Ormeau Embankment.
The championships begin at 9.30am, continuing until 4.30pm when there will be a march past of all the competing bands followed by the prizewinning ceremony. The Championships will also be recorded by the BBC Northern Ireland for future broadcast.
It was once again a very successful day of piping and drumming when the Annual Co. Down Championships took place in Banbridge Academy last Saturday.
This contest is now firmly established as a highlight in the council events programme and brings many welcome visitors to the town.
Field Marshal Montgomery firmly stamped their supremacy in Grade 1 by winning 1st in the MSR, 1st in the Medley, 1st in the best drum and best bass sections, and 1st in the Marching and Deportment to make a clean sweep of every trophy available.
Ballycoan also continued on their winning ways to take 1st in drumming and 1st overall in Grade 2. Grade 3A shifted to a new winner last week when Tullintrain claimed victory in both piping and drumming. Finvoy in Grade 313, Aughintober in Grade 4A and Gransha in Grade 4b were the winning names on the leader board in their grades.
Special awards were presented for long distinguished service to the pipe band movement to treasurer of the Co. down Branch Jim Major and Pipe Major Charlie Dodds, who served for many years with the Carson Memorial Pipe band.
The Lagan Valley Championships will be held in Moira on Saturday 29 July.
The following Saturday will see the All Ireland Championships taking place this year in Kilkenny Castle on 6 July.
There will be the usual two weeks break then before the second half of the season commences with the North Down Championships on 20 July in Bangor.
|Grade 1||1st F. M. Montgomery (also best drums and best bass); 2nd St. Laurence O'Toole; 3rd Ballinderry Bridge; 4th Ravara.|
|Grade 2||1st Ballycoan (also best drums); 2nd Upper Crossgare, 3rd Ballinderry Bridge; 4th Killeen. Best Bass Bleary & District.|
|Grade 3A||1st Tullintrain (also best drums and best bass); 2nd Killadeas, 3rd Banbridge; 4th Syerla.|
|Grade 3B||1st Finvoy, 2nd Cottown; 3rd Bready (also best drums and best bass); 4th Fintan Lawlor.|
|Grade 4A||1st Aughintober (also best drums and best bass); 2nd Quinn Memorial; 3rd Annsborough; 4th Altnaveigh.|
|Grade 4B||1st Gransha (also best drums and best bass); 2nd St.Lawrence Howth; 3rd Queen Elizabeth; 4th Manorcunningham.|
|Novice Juvenile Drum Majors||1st Jason Morrison; 2nd Samantha Gordon; 3rd Simon Kerr; 4th Karl Love, 5th Linzie Hamilton.|
|Junior||1st Laura J. Lawson; 2nd Ryan Ferry; 3rd Elizabeth Sloan; 4th Donna Gillespie; 5th Laura McComb.|
|Juvenile||1st Teresa McMechan; 2nd Jennifer Elvin; 3rd Wendy Ferry; 4th. Danielle Sharvin; 5th Rachel Corr.|
|Senior||1st Alistair Patterson; 2nd Brian Wilson; 3rd kathy Megarry: 4th Lisa Silence; 5th Paula Braiden.|