Northern Ireland news

Musician appeals for return of 'priceless' uilleann pipes

Emmet Rice's uilleann pipes have a distinctive bronze colour.
Seamus McKinney

A Derry musician has appealed for help in recovering a set of priceless uilleann pipes which his late father had made to celebrate his birth.

Emmet Rice’s father, Paddy celebrated his son’s birth 43 years ago by having well known expert, Finnbar McLaughlin make a set of uillean pipes for his new son. The Derry man produced an exquisite instrument with distinctive light brown drones and a rosewood chanter.

Emmet (43) in turn started playing the instrument, becoming an accomplished piper.

However, the pipes – which are specially adapted for Emmet’s left-handed playing – were lost last month.

Emmet said: “The pipes were lost on Sunday 13th May on my way home from Waterloo Street to my home on Strand Road; presuming I left them in the back of a taxi but equally possible to have been left in the chip shop.

“The pipes are deeply sentimental having played at many a wedding and wake; plus an historic piece as they are the first set of pipes Finbarr McLaughlin made back in 1973.”

Emmet’s instrument is priceless as his late father died some years ago, making them hugely important to him.

Emmet’s father was a well-known traditional musician and businessman in Derry. For many years he co-ordinated weekly Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann music classes in the former Bridge Street school in the city centre. His music shop at Carlisle Road was one of the most popular in the city and he served as president of Derry’s chamber of trade.

Despite issuing a social media appeal, the pipes have not yet been returned. Emmet said that whoever had the pipes must know he was looking for them. He appealed to anyone who had the instrument which was in a brown wooden case to contact him at

Derry musician, Emmet Rice has appealed for the return of a set of uilleann pipes made to celebrate his birth.

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