Pat McNulty

Pat McNulty

Born in Glasgow to Irish parents, Pat McNulty’s maternal grandfather and great-grandfather from Co. Monaghan had both been uilleann pipers, though Pat himself began playing tin whistle, fiddle and piano before taking up the pipes in the 1950s. In the following decade he dominated the All-Ireland pipes championship, winning the title on six occasions. Naturally, he was an original member of the NPU and was the first person to be recorded by Brendan Breathnach who had set himself the task of taping all pipers present. Back in Britain, Pat founded a similar, if smaller group, SOUP (the Society of Uilleann Pipers) and continued to play at folk clubs and festivals, while also broadcasting on radio and TV. His most noteworthy appearance, however, was as the first piper to appear in a British concert hall with a full orchestra when he featured in John Tavener’s A Celtic Requiem. His own first album appeared in 1976, but the only one currently available is Autumn Apples where, in part he uses a full set of Egan flat pipes from the mid-19th century. McNulty exhibits striking employment of drones and regulators throughout and the reels Music of the Forge/Stoney Steps, learned from Séamus Ennis and Leo Rowsome respectively, are glorious piped dance music. Other pieces include the grand lament from Co. Limerick, Slan Le Maighe, and several of McNulty’s own, such as the air Doohamlet Church, celebrating his forbears’ village.

Cass Autumn Apples (1992, Ossian). Mature as a prime vintage, McNulty’s music makes splendid savouring.


PIPER'S DREAM, THE. Irish, Set Dance (6/8 time). D Major. Standard. AABB. A modern composition by Glasgow piper Pat McNulty. McNulty (Dance Music of Ireland, 1965; pg. 29.)

Pat McNulty's Fancy - feature article in the Living Tradition magazine

Collection of the Dance Music of Ireland: Pat Mcnulty: 9780946005420: Books
DANCE MUSIC OF IRELAND compiled by Pat McNulty. This is the fourth edition of this book first published in 1965. A classic collection of reels, jigs, hornpipes, slip jigs and set dances. In Pat McNulty's introduction he comments on the problems of playing Irish tunes too fast. In the 1988 comments Rutherglen says that the tempos used today are excessive, and individual expression and interpretation had waned. What would they say today?

See Albums: Autumn Apples