115 year old set of pipes by Richard L O’Mealy pitched around C#
Hi There everyone, So what we have here is a unique, one of a kind set of Uilleann pipes built in 1901 by the make R.L. O’Mealy of Belfast. The set has been identified from a picture in the Sean Reid society journal as the set from Memo. Link to picture below.
The set came to me over a year ago now after being found by a widow under a bed in Belfast, After bringing the set home with me to Clare it came to the attention of Ronan Browne and following a visit to Ronan ‘s house and doing long comparisons with the photograph it was decided that the set in front of us was indeed the lost set featured in the Memo picture.
After identifying the set I set about looking to see if it was possible to get the set restored and playing again as Sadly not all of the set had survived its 115 year life.
So the set went off to a specialist and after many hours of labour I received a phone call 2 days ago on the 19th of April to say the set was playing again and ready for collection.
At this point I have decided that I needed to make a decision. Was the set going to be for me to keep, play and cherish or was it going to be for someone else?
So after a lot of thought I have decided to offer the set for sale for someone else to take up. I have only been playing the pipes for a short period I would feel happier and more comfortable learning on a D set rather then a flat set and I feel that such an iconic set should be played by someone more deserving of it then I.
Ronan Browne is very excited about the appearance of this set after it has been lost for so long and is very happy it is up and playing again. It is an iconic set of great historical importance as it is very early in O'Mealy's career when he was still experimenting and it was before he went on to do his Taylor style sets with the double bass regulators and instead follows the normal configuration of tenor, baritone, bass. Its only a personal theory and there is no way to substantiate this but it seems odd the set was built in 1901 and the picture we have is around 1905 so I personally believe that this was built as O'Mealy own personal set and played by him for a few years. Of course I could be wrong.
So onto the set itself. The set when I found it was not playing at all and consisted of the original leather bad and bag cover and in-between another kind of line material separating the two. An O’Mealy chanter in Boxwood. Now this is an Original O’Mealy chanter but it is clear that it is a replacement chanter, probably attached to the set by himself but it is a later design. Now remembering that at the time of the sets construction his pipe making was in its infancy and he was clearly experimenting trying to find his style and so it is possible that the original was not the best chanter and who ever eventually bought the set may have asked for a new chanter at a later date in O’Mealy’s career. This however is just speculation as there are several other reasons as to who the chanter was replaced.
The mainstock is original and dated and stamped and has a think piece of horn were it connects to the bag. There is also the iconic one off Baritone regulator which has an upturned tube and puck, as stamped and a baritone reulator. The tenor drone is sadly not O'Mealy's work but was clearly taken from another old set and plays well with this one. There is a dummy drone (chair leg) blocking were the tenor reg would go and the bass drone sadly lost has been plugged. The original hand stitched bellows is also with the set.
So the work that was done to get the set playing including new reeds, re-hemping, cleaning, a new part was built for the tenor drone slide to mount on, a new Keller Bag and a lot of hours of labour. The original parts that were replaced have been kept and are with the set. As I said, the set playing as it is but if it was to be returned to its former glory the next job would be to build a new Bass drone and the two missing regulators.
An interesting point about the fittings, the thick ring around the stock is clearly horn but the other fitting at first were thought to be ivory but have in-fact turned out to be a very early form of plastic which I'm was identifiable as it was made up of 30% celluloloid!! This is not only interesting but also handy as moving a set with ivory fittings can be problematic.
I cant seem to load images to this advert so when I have it advertised on other site I will copy in the links or if anyone Is interested I can forward them on any Pictures they would like.
I also have a short video clip of the pipes being played which is available on request.
If you are interested in the set please get in touch with me with SENSIBLE OFFERS ONLY please. You can contact me via email at email@example.com or you can call me on my mobile 00353(0)874358244 or send me a PM.
Sell your pipes, reeds, bellows, whatever, here.
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