Clann Eireann Pipe Band

Band History


  Clann Eireann Irish  Pipe Band

Clann Eireann Irish  Pipe Band Inc. is believed to be the oldest, continuous and independent Pipe Band in the United States.  The band was originally formed back in 1930 by James Cramsie a Belfast native who was a Piper in the "Falls Road Pipe Band" before immigrating to the U.S.A. He Settled in Brooklyn N.Y. and subsequently, formed the band as we know it today.  He brought his gift, talent and love of the " Bagpipe" to anybody who would be willing to listen and learn.  The band, to this day, continues on with this exalted tradition with its purposes being :

  1.  To perpetuate the art of playing the Bagpipe and Drum.
  2.  To participate in functions of a public and private nature.
  3.  To encourage an interest in Celtic Music.
  4.  To create sociability and good fellowship amongst its members.

      The Band was incorporated as a non profit corporation in 1939. Today, the Band is operated and run under the guidance and direction of "Pipe Major" Robert O'Hare who has been an inspiration and positive influence in the Bands expanded repetoire and higher musical standards that we share today.

Marching Traditions

The Band First participated in the N.Y.C. Saint Patrick's Day Parade in 1933 with County Longford, then County Leitim and County Sligo. In 1949 the band started marching with County Limerick and continues with them to this day.  The band leads the Huntington, Long Island , St. Patrick's  day parade which is one week before the big parade in NYC.  The Band has been leading the Huntington Parade since 1934 .  The Band was the first Pipe Band to march and play in the Park Slope and the Bayridge, Brooklyn, St. Patrick's Day parades and to this day, still continues these commitments.  The Clann Eireann Pipe Band is also, the first Pipe Band to march and play in the Rockaway Beach, "St. Patrick's Day Parade" which first set off in 1971. the Band to this day, still participates in this parade. At the Rockville centre, Long Island, St. Patrick's Day parade you will see the band marching there, as we have Since 1997.

Throughout it's long history, Clann Eireann  has performed at the Worlds Fair, Yankee and Shea Stadiun, Meadowlands Arena, Long Island Arena (John F. Kennedy Campaign appearance),  Statue of Liberty,  The Aircraft carrier Intrepid ( moored in the Hudson River),  Coney Island, Washington D.C., Philadelphia ( with the Barry Club),  The Breezy Point Mardi-Gras. In 2002 the Pipe Band took a trip to Ireland and competed in Grade 5 in the I.P.B.A.( All Ireland Pipe Band Championships),  on the beautiful grounds of Kilkenny Castle, County Kilkenny.  We had never competed before and it was a richly rewarding experience. We received a plaque for the best overseas band of the day. We returned to compete in 2007 in New Castle, in County Down.

The Bands Uniform

Today the uniform is made up of four colors:

  1. Forest Green Kilt (no tartan) pleated with 8 yards of the finest quality wool, hand crafted in Scotland.
  2. Black, Barathea, Wool, Daywear Argyle Jacket with silver diamond shaped buttons mounted on a gauntlet cuff, on the pockets and on the ends of rope styled shoulder braids.
  3. Headwear is a black wool Tamo'Shanter with a green tourie on the top; two flowing black silk tails on the back.
  4. Purple Fly shawl with green fringe, to be worn on the left shoulder.
  5. White socks with green flashers, White shirt with green and purple stripe tie with the Clann Eireann Crest or Logo set in the center.
  6. Black shoes and sporran with white fur and three black leather knotted tassles on the face

(All in all, a very smart and dignified looking uniform)

The Band has changed and updated their original uniform since 1940 which used to consist of a white Jabot, dark green socks, and large vinyl Sporran.  Frank Kearney, one of the founding members of the band, leading drummer and instructor, also manager, was a tailor in Bayridge, Brooklyn. In 1940 the task was given to him to design and make the old uniform. Frank was talented , and had an eye for detail, He was as superb craftman and measured up each member and outfitted them with the fine looking uniform which only changed recently, as mentioned above.  Danny Harrold, a piper in the band modeled the first uniform, green kilt, Georgian styled tunic with a matchingvest and hard embossed buttons on the sleeves and vest. It had a white shirt with a white lace Jabot in front, forest green socks, and purple fly shawl with green fringe that was clasped down with a Tara Broach.

Succession of Pipe Majors

The Band has had four Pipe Majors since first forming in 1930.

  1. James Cramsie            1930-1953
  2. Desmond Whelan        1953-1965
  3. Christopher Coughlin  1965-1995
  4. Robert O'Hare             1995-present


Succession of Drum Majors

  1. James McHugh      1930-1954
  2. Patrick Heany       1954-1996
  3. Timothy Kearney    2000-2015


 The Band has honored these past members

  • Frank Kearney
  • Christopher Coughlin
  • Patrick Heany

By naming them "Emeritus"



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