History of Lisbeg
The townland of Lisbeg is situated southeast of
Ballygawley. Lisbeg House was built by Mr. C. V. Stewart in 1861
and he also built Lisdoart Mill. His father built and owned Martray
Manor overlooking Martray Lough.
In November 1943 the local Orange Lodge of Lisbeg
met and Mr. James Angus proposed that a committee be formed in order
to get a band started. The committee was made up of seven men: Mr.
James Angus, Mr. John Brownlee, Mr. John McClean, Mr. Jim Anderson,
Mr. Bertie Loane, Mr. Jim Watt and Mr. Jack Rea. On 3rd September
1945 Mr. Cecil Busby proposed that a pipe band be formed and this
proposal was seconded by Mr. Jack Rea.
In March 1946 a recruiting drive was put into action
in order to enlist new members for Lisbeg Pipe Band. It was decided
that once members were recruited it would take approximately 18
months to train the Band. Mr. Dick Rea and his two sons (from the
Howard Memorial Pipe Band in Dungannon), were employed to train
the new members.
Twelve sets of Robinson bagpipes were bought for
£14. each: as well as these there were three new rope side
drums purchased, also £14. each, and two new tenor drums.
The bass drum was kept on from Lisbeg Flute Band which was now off
On Monday, 12th July, 1948, Lisbeg Pipe Band led Lisbeg L.O.L. 186
to the Baffle of the Boyne celebrations in Caledon for the first
time. There were no uniforms available when the band went out first.
The members of the band wore their 'Sunday best' on the big day
in Caledon .
In July 1954 the Band started to raise funds for
the purchase of new uniforms for its members. A sale of work took
place in September of that year.
In January 1955 Mr. Desmond McCreery and Mr. Silas
Little ordered new uniforms and in 1955 the new uniforms landed.
There were two quotes acquired, one from Mr. Jimmy Tailor (Glasgow)
and the other from Dunlop's in Royal Avenue, Belfast. The new uniforms
were bought from Dunlop's at a cost of £30. each. This was
a Highland Rig and the tartan was King George IV tartan.
The mid and late 70s saw a number of members coming
and going. At this stage Mr. David Allen, our present Pipe Major,
joined the Band. His late father, Mr. Dennis Allen had all of his
five children playing with him in the Band during the 80's.
In 1980 the Band once again came across problems
associated with uniforms. This time, however, it was the fact that
the uniforms were now 25 years old and were in need of replacement.
Two Band members, Mr. Sydney Somerville and Mr. David Allen, travelled
to Mr. Alistair Hennon, Kilt Suppliers (Lurgan) to select a new
tartan and uniform. This was a dress rig tartan and the pattern
was the Prince Charles Edward Stuart and cost 3,000. The Band wore
the new uniforms for the first time to a Sunday Church Parade in
Through the 80s and early 90s the Band attended
many band parades, sometimes three in one week, with all the other
local bands. By the end of the 80s Lisbeg Pipe Band were holding
their own parade in their own town, Ballygawley. These times were
extremely busy for the Band and members were willing to support
other local bands at their fund-raising events.
In 1995 the Band started to run a weekend trip
to the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow. This proved to
be a very enjoyable trip and has now been running for six or seven
years. Seeing some of the best piping and drumming in the world
helps motivate the youth in the Band to improve upon their skills.
In 1996 Band members were at an all-time high and
the Band went out with 12 pipers, 6 side drummers and a bass player
to the last Saturday in Portadown. However, this was to change.
Older members of the Band were starting to retire and younger members
were leaving due to work and school commitments. In 1997 the Band
had diminished to only 4 pipers, 3 drummer and the bass player.
With so few players the members found it very demanding to keep
up with all of the parades and it was decided that last Saturday
parade was to be stopped.
In 1998 two more pipers retired. This created big
problems for the Band. It was believed that this was to finish Lisbeg
Pipe Band. However, after some gentle coaxing, some of the members,
who had left the Band in the 80s due to other commitments, came
back. This caused a turn¬around and other 'new blood' joined
In September 2003 and 2004 the Band attended the record attempt
held at the World’s Largest Street Ceili’ in Ballygawley.
One of the highlights of 2004 for the Band was
a weekend to the Isle of Skye to participate in a Cultural Event.
Traditional music from Sweden, Germany, Norway, Scotland and Ireland
was played. This was all thanks to Dungannon District Council and
Ballygawley Festival Committee.
In 2004/5 Lisbeg Pipe Band had 31 members and attended
more parades than ever, including Last Saturday 2004, their first
for seven years.
However, once again the Band encountered problems
associated with the uniforms. In 2004 the Band committee was up
and running again and it was decided that new uniforms were needed
to replace the old ones, now 25 years old. These were sold to Cooneen
and Feaugh Pipe Bands in Co. Fermanagh.
A list of fund-raising ideas were drawn up and
were put into action over 18 months. In December 2004, Mr. Todd
MacDonald, Kiltmaker, West Calder (outside Edinburgh), Scotland,
came and measured members for new uniforms at a cost of £16,000.00.
The tartan of our new kilt is the MacLean of Duart.
On 17th March 2005, the Band also attended the
St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Sligo, in connection with the
Sandy Row Community and Development Association in Belfast, which
a number of bands from Northern Ireland attended. This parade was
to be a annual event for Lisbeg for the next four years when funding
was to stop .
The youth is the future of any band and at Lisbeg,
we now have 50% of our band under 18 years of age. To keep the band
up and going for the next 60 years it is of utmost importance to
get children in at a young age. Anyone who is musical and wishes
to become a member can start practice in September of each year.
Our youngest member is Samuel Somerville who started in 2004 at
the age of 3 years.
In April 2005 the band had a dedication night in
Aughnacloy College. Ballinamallad accordion band , cavanaleck pipe
band playing brien boru pipes from Co.Fermanagh , Omagh Protestant
Boys melody flute band , Roughan Silver band & Gortaclare pipe
band all proformed outstanding music to a packed crowd. A souvenir
booklet was produced for the night which was supported by local
businesses & contained photos and history of band.
In 2006 the band continued to grow & for the
first time the band attended the Sloughan championships held in
Drumquin Co. Tyrone.
This was a pipe band competition held for pipe bands not in the
Scottish pipe band association & playing at competitions each
week . A total of 12 bands competed on the night & lisbeg come
home with 3 prizes . 1st for M & D , 2ND in drumming & best
overall band . The pipers wouldn t take this, letting the drummers
beat them, & the following year was to return & take 1st
in piping 1 st M& D & 2ND in drumming. All in all a great
result & something that all was proud off. The pipe major David
Allen & lead tip Adrian Somerville could now go away happy .
To the end of 2006 the band members asked about
going away on a trip again after the enjoymemt in the Isle of Skye
. This was left to Adrian Somerville & he come up with a 4 day
trip on the bank holiday weekend of May playing at The 21st Victorian
Extravaganza in Llandudno North Wales in 2007 .Lisbeg headed off
with a coach full of band & supporters to the seaside town.
The parade of the town each midday with a crowd lining the 2 mile
route in great warm weather was outstanding. The band had 14 pipers
,6 tenor drummers, 7 side drummers , bass & this time the World
Champion Drum major Donna Gillispie . A packed year was to be the
story for the rest of the year.
The band for the first time was asked to lead one
of the Royal Black lodges in Scarva in 2007, and again in 2008.
The band again applied for a grant for New Drums
from the National Lottery & this was to be THIRD TIME LUCKY.
They received over £ 4980.00 & went out and purchased
a new set of Pearl drums from Beat Street Cullybackey. 9 sets of
sides ,6 tenors & bass with 6 pipe bags were got at over £
6,500. A bit different from £14.00 each 60 years ago. At the
close of 2007 after the purchase of 2 or 3 new uniforms new set
of drums trips paid & general running of the band etc., the
band had spent just over £ 29,000 . Grants also come in from
Dungannon district council & Great support from THE ULSTER-SCOTS
The YEAR 2008 will in no doubt be any less boring.
With the 60th anniversary dinner in the folk park Omagh supported
once more by the Ulster- Scots & again Adrian Somerville speaking
to people when he should only be listening has volunteered Lisbeg
to take part in the INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL IN HANNOVER GERMANY
in October. This will be the first time a band from NORTHERN IRELAND
A great way for the band to celebrate 60 YEARS ON THE ROAD .!!!!!!!
THE COMMITTEE WOULD LIKE TO THANK ALL MEMBERS PAST
& PRESENT, THEIR FAMILIES & FRIENDS , OTHER BANDS IN THE
AREA WHICH HAS HELPED US , IN GOOD TIMES & BAD & WE HOPE
TO NEED YOUR SUPPORT FOR THE NEXT 60 YEARS & BE ON .