Master musician will pipe in the Fleadh

A master musician will bring the mystical sound of the uilleann pipes to open Iúr Cinn Fleadh. And we can’t wait to hear him!

Michael ‘Blackie’ O’Connell has been described as one of the most exciting uilleann pipers in traditional music. And he’s bringing those otherworldly tones to the first of the weekend’s evening sessions.


Blackie has been playing the pipes from a young age. He was taught by Limerick piper Mickey Dunne. His influences are the playing of Paddy Keenan, who is a regular visitor to his home in County Clare, Finbar Furey and Johnny Doran.

These days, Blackie can usually be found playing his pipes amid the bustling musical community of County Clare. Although he’s very much at home in his local bars at Ennis or Doolin, he regularly tours Europe, the USA and the Far East.

Blackie is Chairman of the Ennis Trad Festival, one of Ireland’s premier traditional festivals, and is a full-time tutor at the Irish World Academy of Music, University of Limerick. He created ‘Piping Heaven/Piping Hell’, a weekly gathering of uilleann pipers in Ennis, which has become an event of international renown.


At concerts and sessions, Blackie performs with gusto. Audiences are said to be swept away by his exuberant and fast flowing piping style.

It will be a special night when we welcome Blackie as guest musician for the session at The Railway Bar on Thursday 24 August. We’ll open the Fleadh with a flourish.

Clive Price