A rare glimpse into the world of musicians playing Ireland’s most enigmatic instrument, the uilleann pipes, Good Piping offers an absorbing portrait of the tradition through intimate encounters with uilleann pipers across Ireland. From his secluded home and kitchen in Carna, Connemara, a candid Seán P. McKiernan conjures music and stories from his past alongside Irish language poet Micheál Ó Cuaig. We travel in Dublin with Néillidh Mulligan to check on a new set of pipes being made for his son Fiachra and head to the Naul to connect with the spirit of Séamus Ennis. Jimmy O’Brien Moran takes us on a deep dive into how-the-pipes-are-put-together with a gorgeous set of tunes by the fire in Waterford. Kevin Rowsome invites us in to learn about the lean days of uilleann piping in Ireland and the mighty contributions of his grandfather Leo. In Clare, with Máire Ní Ghráda, we toe into a conversation on gender representation that takes us back through the archives to spotlight women pipers. Banba Fitzgerald and her wonderful teacher, Joe Doyle work out a new tune and we wind up in Kinvara with the accomplished Eugene Lambe learning the craft and history of uilleann pipemaking.
These are just a few of many highlights to look forward to in this remarkable documentary by Davis Watson, which weaves together stories and footage from the past and present of Ireland’s fascinating tradition of uilleann piping.
Filmmaker Davis Watson set off to Ireland in 2008 on his own dime to begin crafting a portrait of this guarded tradition. Davis himself is an uilleann piper, having played for 10 years before beginning the film. To be able to sit at the feet of so many Irish masters, hear their stories and music, and be so deeply welcomed has been the honor of a lifetime.