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Celebrating the pipe organ, the King of Instruments

Mailbag: Visit to Ireland?

December 3, 2005

Dear Michael:
Have you ever considered visiting Ireland? We have hundreds of organs, many of them in poor condition. However there are many superb instruments, well maintained in recital condition. We have lots of 19th century organs replete with French reeds and rich foundation stops as well as many modern organs of varying size and quality! Several of our organs contain pipework dating from the 17th century and one organ has a case dating from the late 16th century! I play a wonderful organ dating from 1892 in my church, Saint Joseph’s, Glasthule south of Dublin. It has only 30 ranks but has a superb French style tutti. It was built by a Dublin organ builder with a shop in Manchester, England by the name of George Benson. I’ve made a recording of it. Please check our parish website www.glasthuleparish.com and also www.irishpipeorgans.com I’ve recently discovered Pipedreams and it has a become a staple of my online listening. Do keep up the good work.

Best wishes,

Ronan Murray
Dublin, Ireland

Dear Ronan,
Thanks for the suggestion and invitation. Frankly, I’ve not considered visiting Ireland, not for any deficiency in your beautiful country or its musical traditions. There simply are too many organs (etc.) in the world for me to ever be able to get to all of them or give them their due. What you describe below does sound interesting, but I’ve yet to get to Spain and Portugal, Belgium, or for that matter even England, all of which have contriuted mightily to the “organ culture” (with famous builders, players and composers) in proportion greater than Ireland. And I am just one guy, doing this program pretty much on my own…would that I could be cloned.

But thanks for the suggestion, and you never know…


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