I sent this message to the bagpipe list and received an interesting reply from
a Mr. Ballard. I wonder if there is anyone on the Irtrad-l who knows anything
about Egan pipes. I enclose Mr. Ballards reply. Does anyone know of the
pipemaker Johnnie Bourke of Bray, Co. Wicklow? As I live in Sweden I'm not all
that familiar with uilleann pipemakers currently active in Ireland.
Best wishes Thomas Johnson (I play a Williams set with one regulator. I've had
them nearly 14 years now and they are sounding better all the time. I, however,
am still learning)
To: bagpipe list
From: Johnson Thomas on ons 5 jan 1994 15.15
Subject: Uilleann pipes by Egan
is there anybody out there who has any information at all about Michael
Egan's pipes or the man himself? All I know is what I've read in O'Neills
"Irish minstrels and musicians". Apparantly there was a set in York museum, but
according to the bloke who made my pipes, Dave Williams, the set was stolen
some time around 1983. Is there anybody who's seen a set or played an Egan
chanter? If so what did you think about the workmanship and playability? It's a
while since I read O'Neill's account, but from what I can remember, after the
bayonet incident in Liverpool, Egan deemed it in his best interests to leave
England for Americay. What happen to him after that? There must be pipes or
bits of pipes by him somewhere in America. Did he marry and have children? I
find it all fascinating and would like to know more. Prehaps there is a 300
page biography about the man that I'm completely ignorant of. Egan's dad was
also a pipemaker. Do any of his pipes exist?
It's not a matter of life or death, but ever since I first got involved with
uilleann pipes and heard of Egan, I've always wondered about his instruments
and the life he led. I suppose to come across a set of Egan or Coyne pipes or
even a chanter must be something akin to stumbling over a Stradivarius violin
or a `58 Les Paul Standard or a 1920's Gibson Lloyd Loar F-model mandolin.
Grateful for any information
Best wishes for the new year and Giorrai/onn beirt bo/thar Thomas Johnson Lund
Sweden: [log in to unmask]
Till: Johnson Thomas
Thomas Johnson Lund asked about Egan the pipesmaker who moved to New York
City. I don't know of any more in the way of published biographical
information on Egan. He was one of a family of music instrument makers. The
harpmaker was also thought be be related. I have heard several different
relationships ascribed to these two.
I have made measurements from a beautiful set of two relgulator pipes in
Ebony, silver, brass,bone, and ivory made by Egan. It was in D flat (okay,
okay, C sharp) with the most exquisite detailing. The rivets for key
springs were star shaped brass set in silver keys. I also had a rather long
discussion on the man and his instruments with my friend, the late Johnie
Bourke of Bray, Co. Wicklow Ireland who made several reproductions of Egan
pipes. I think you have seen about as much information as is available.
Back issues of Ceol may shed a little more light, but probably not alot.
By the way, ma gheirionn beirt an bothar, goide dheanfas treoir do?