Dooagh Pipe Band.

Mayo and Manchester bands celebrate 150 years of Irish piping

ACHILL Island's Dooagh Pipe Band and Manchester’s’ award-winning Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band are joining forces to celebrate this year's Home to Mayo Festival in May.

The bands, who are both celebrating their 75th anniversaries, are to stage a special joint celebration during the afternoon event on Sunday, May 29, as part of the week-long Home to Mayo Tradfest which runs from May 26 to 31. The Tradfest will be touring Mayo and staging events in Attymass, Ballina, Castlebar, Cong, Ashford Castle, Achill Island and Westport.

Tony Hennigan from Mayo Manchester commented: “We are delighted to be returning to Achill to stage this unique event to celebrate 150 years of Irish piping in Mayo and Manchester. It is just one of the action-packed events of our week-long festival of traditional Irish music, song and dance.”

For more information about the festival and how to get involved in it, email or visit

Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band at Ashford Castle.

The Manchester-based Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band are the UK’s longest running, award-winning pipe band. They have been a key part of the annual Mayo Manchester Tradfest which has won a number of awards since it began in 2013.

The band are currently planning one of Europe’s largest pipe band events, the United Pipers for Peace, which will take place in Manchester in September along with a festival in France in front of a crowd of 60,000 people. They also hope to take part in New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade and a tour of America in 2023 as part of their 75th anniversary celebrations.

Mayo's St. Patrick’s Pipe Band was established in the village of Dooagh on the western shores of Achill Island in 1947, with a membership of 11.

However, the roots of the pipe band delve much deeper than just the past 75 years, with the original band in the village - the Dooagh Fife and Drum Band - formed in 1882. The fife band played a significant role and provided moral support with their music throughout pivotal times in Irish history such as the times of Michael Davitt’s Land League and the struggle for Irish independence during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Dooagh Pipe Band - one of its first performances.

Today the St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Achill is perhaps the most unique celebration in Ireland, if not the entire world, with no less than five pipe bands marching from early morning to late in the evening.

Achill’s annual St. Patrick’s Day tradition continued to be one of the highlights of the year throughout the ebb and flow of Irish society throughout the 20th century as the band contended with pressing factors - namely emigration. From that winter of 1945, when the first steps were taken toward the formation the pipe band tradition in Achill, to today, where over 150 pipers and drummers march, it is something the community can be proud of fostering and nurturing over the course of many decades.

Throughout the following years and on to today, Dooagh Pipe Band have been a familiar sight at important events in the west and beyond, welcoming important visitors to the region, festivals and events, weddings, football matches and even the opening of Knock Airport, which illustrates just some of the wide range of performances outside of the band’s regular schedule of St. Patrick’s Day, Easter Sunday and New Year’s Eve.

2022 events

This year is promising to be a famous year in the history of Dooagh Pipe Band as celebrate 75 years.

A series of events to mark the occasion will take place over St. Patrick’s Day and right throughout the weekend. You can keep up to date with these events and much more on the Dooagh Pipe Band Achill Facebook page or see the website,