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McCallum Bagpipes
Arklow

History

Arklow Pipe Band was formed on 03rd April 1941 after a meeting in Magowan's Hall, South Quay, Arklow, Co. Wicklow, by a small group of young men who were determined to set up and provide a band for the local community as no band of any kind existed in the town at that particular time.  Times were hard and money scarce due to wartime conditions and the band eventually made it's debut public performance in Arklow on Christmas Eve, 1942, while wearing civilian clothing, it wasn't until 1945 that the band could furnish themselves with their first uniform.

Throughout the 1940's and 50's all band performances and engagements were mostly local outings, playing at parades and matches etc. and it was the 1960's before the band started to compete at competition level.  The first competition for the Arklow band to receive a 1st place prize was the Leinster Fleadh which was held in Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, in June 1964 and the band finished in First Place in the Senior Pipe Band Section.  Early 1970's brought the band firmly onto the competition scene and over the next few years picked up several band and solo prizes.  The band pulled off a unique feat in the history of the IPBA when at the All-Ireland Championships in Tralee in 1974 their 2 entries, a Juvenile and Senior band, finished in 3rd and 4th place in Grade 4.  A major step forward for the band came in 1975 when Tommy Geddis, Pipe Major of the Robert Armstrong Memorial Pipe Band from Belfast, came on board as instructor and remained on as instructor to the Pipe Corps until 1980.  During this time the band attended their first World Championships which were held in Hawick in 1976 and finished in 4th place in Grade 4.  At the World's in Nottingham in 1979 the band finished in 7th place in Grade 3 and took away the Trophy for Best Overseas Band.

The band has picked up many awards and titles on the competition front over the years including the All-Ireland Title in Grade 4A in 1993 under Pipe Major Michael Fitzgerald, also winning the Best Overseas Band and Best Drum Corps at the World's that year under Drum Sergeant John Martin, All-Ireland Title 1994 in Grade 3, All-Ireland Drum Corps Title in Grade 3 at Letterkenny in 2006 under Drum Sergeant Michael Cullen, Joint 1st place in Piping at the All-Ireland in Newcastle in 2007 and the highlight so far has been winning the World Title in Grade 3 in Glasgow in 2007.  The band now competes at the higher Grade 2 level under Pipe Major Chris Earls and Drum Sergeant John Martin.

It's not all competition though for the band and over the years many enjoyable trips were made to festivals and events at home and abroad with many strong friendships being made along the way.