Patrick Hennelly, now 75 years and probably the oldest living piper, paid a visit to Ireland during the Summer. Unfortunately we did not happen to be in the same place at the same time and thus failed to meet. With Patrick was Kevin Henry, another piper, who hails from Doocastle Co. Mayo, but now living in Chicago for some years. The paragraph hereunder was written by Patrick in response to a request for some information about himself:
“I was born near Claremorris, Mayo and came to the U.S.A. in 1924 and to Chicago in 1927. Being of a musical turn of mind I lost no time in contacting the then existing musicians especially pipers. I have lived by the trade of cabinet maker and journeyman carpenter and having learned the trade of coach builder (I must have been the last of that wonderful craft) and got it from a most wonderful craftsman, Joe O’Dwyer of Castlebar to whose shop came some wonderful mechanics in the various trades. I loved the blacksmith work as well as wood work. Therefore I was able to make my own reamers, stitch the bags bellows, fold and solder the various ferrules, turn ivory and make my own reeds, an which I learned thru many hours, even days of experiment with some instruction. I have seen many pipes and chanters from time to time nearly all ruined, Egans, Taylors, and one by O Mealy which was indeed a work of art and was stolen from me a few years ago along with other parts. I try to teach all I can to those interested. It is hard to get German silver and impossible to get ivory at this time. I would like to make a couple of flat sets before the curtain falls and if the health permits I will”.