In Ireland, Boston P.D. Gaelic Column wins again

Three times they have traveled to Ireland to perform and three times they have taken away honors. The Boston Police Gaelic Column of Pipes and Drums did it again in Cork City, Ireland’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. The Column won the “Best Entry Trophy” again, having first won it back in 1997 and “Best Bagpipe Band” in 1996. The crowds erupted as the band marched down the Saint Patrick’s Street in the heart of the city playing hometown favorites on the pipes. The tunes, “Beautiful City,” “The Boys of Fairhill,” and “Banks of My Own Lovely Lee,” were easily recognized by the people of the area and great appreciated. Jim Barry, a Boston patrolman and president of the band said, “ It was hard work and dedication to the music that got us where we are today. All credit to these men and their families for the results of that work. We are a relatively young band (started in 1992) and to have the sound we have is extraordinary. It's an all-volunteer band, we do our rehearsals on our own time. We hired some of the best instructors and we listen to them.” The band performed at charity events, planned way before they ever arrived in Ireland. The Co-Action Rehabilitation Programs in West Cork had the group perform at an outdoor concert where over $1000 was collected. In Cork City, before the big parade, the Column also performed a fundraising concert for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. More than $1500 was raised. Barry said, “ Every police officer wants to help out, that’s why we came on the job and that's why we loved performing in Ireland.” Cork City was not the only highlight of the trip. The band performed at the dedication of the statue of Francis O’Neill, a Chicago Police Chief who preserved from loss over 5000 Irish songs and tunes at the turn of the last century. (The July/August issue of APB will feature an article about Francis O'Neill.) This performance was attended by Pat Byrne, the commissioner of the Irish Police force. The day before in Dromore, the boyhood school of Chief O'Neill, the Gaelic Column and the school children performed a concert of the chief’s favorite music.

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