PORTRUSH had all the ingredients last Saturday to make the Ulster Championships the most successful venue of the 2005 Northern Ireland Pipe Band competitions.
Blazing sun, record number of bands, and thousands of holidaymakers mingling with supporters, added to the atmosphere of carnival time in Portrush.
Many of our bands and drum majors played and danced up the main street in what has been hailed as pipe banding at its very best.
World champions and Ulster champions made the last local competition for this year a truly spectacular and colourful event and all duly received the applause of the waiting crowds, many of whom had been gathered along the route for two to three hours keen to get the best sight of Ulster's elite bands men and women.
Field Marshal Montgomery led by Pipe Major Richard Parkes and Leading Tip Keith Orr, winning their 15th Ulster Championship title, collected seven trophies in Grade 1 winning best MSR, best Med, 1st overall, best pipes, best drum corps, best bass section and Marching & Deportment.
Their next big challenge will be the Cowal Highland Championships in Dunoon on Saturday August 27 when all in Northern Ireland will be cheering them on to victory. Ravara with Pipe Major Sammy Connolly and Leading Tip Aaron McCartan won Grade 2 in convincing style claiming best pipes, best drum corps, best bass section Marching & Deportment and first overall.
World champions Drumlough added the Ulster trophy to their collection of silverware won this season in Grade 4B and are looking forward to competing in the higher grade of 4A next year. The band is under the leadership of Pipe Major Nigel Burrows and Leading Tip William O'Brien.
Other Ulster champions were Marlacoo in Grade 3A who also won best drums and best bass section as well as Marching & Deportment, Battlehill in 3B along with best drums, Castlerock in 4A winning best pipes and best drums and best bass section.
Ulster Drum Majors champions were Kiera Wilson (Novice Juvenile), Linzi Hamilton (Junior), Ryan Ferry (Juvenile) and Ian Young (Senior).
Twelve bands and seventeen drum majors will travel to Dunoon to compete in this year's Cowal Highland Games, which takes place on Saturday August 27.
Among the line up will be three of our world champion bands – Castlerock, Annsborough and Seven Towers. Entries for the All Ireland solo championships close this Saturday with Mervyn Herron. The solos will be held in Dublin on Saturday September 17.
The Co. Antrim village of Portglenone will host the fifth 'Gig'n The Bann' Cross Community Music and Dance Festival on September 1-4.
On Saturday September 3 there will be a Pipe Band event in the Playing Field Portglenone Marina commencing at 1 pm.
For further information contact Portglenone Enterprise Group 2582 0150 or log on to www.gignthebann.com
Novice Juvenile drum majors - 1st. Kiera Wilson (also Champion of Champions). 2nd. Laura Abraham. 3rd. Lauren Muldrew. 4th. Dale Fisher. 5th. Emma Barr.
Junior - 1st. Linzi Hamilton (also Champion of Champions). 2nd. Simon Kerr. 3rd. Sharon Martin. 4th. Samantha Gordon. 5th. Caroline Clydesdale.
Juvenile - 1st. Ryan Ferry (also Champion of Champions). 2nd. Donna Gillespie. 3rd. Alicia Dickson. 4th lemma Chambers. 5th.Jemma Clydesdale..
Senior - 1st. Ian Young (also Champion of Champions). 2nd. David Brownlee. 3rd Paula Braiden. 4th. Kathy Megarry. 5th. Brian Wilson.
Grade 4B - 1st. Drumlough. 2nd. Cullybackey. 3rd. Raffrey. 4th. Killadeas. M&D - Wm Kerr Memorial.
Grade 4B. Best Drums:- Monkstown Mossley. Best Bass section:- Moneygore.
Grade 4A - 1st. Castlerock, also best pipes, best drum corps and best bass section. 2nd. Aughintober. 3rd. Queen Elizabeth. 4th. Cullenfad.
Grade 3B - 1st. Battlehill also best drums and M&D. 2nd Annsborough also best pipes and best bass section. 3rd. Killen. 4th. Frank Rainey Memorial.
Grade 3A - 1st. Marlacoo also best drums and best bass section and M&D. 2nd. Seven Towers also best pipes. 3rd. Banbridge. 4th. North Belfast.
Grade 2 - 1st. Ravara also best pipes, best drums, best bass and M&D. 2nd. Cullybackey. 3rd. Upper Crossgare. 4th. Eden.
Grade 1 - 1st. F. M. Montgomery also best MSR, Best Medley, best pipes, best drums, best bass section and M&D. 2nd. Ballycoan also 2nd best drum. 3rd. Ballinderry Bridge.
Grade 4A - Drumlough Drums Antrim.
Grade 4A - Aughintober Drums Castlerock.
Grade 3B - Battlehill also Drums.
Grade3A - Seven Towers Drums Marlacoo.
Grade 2 - Ravara also drums.
Grade 1 - Ballinderry. Drums Ballycoan.