All-Ireland first for Attleboro’s Torrin Ryan
By Ed Forry, August 30, 2013
Attleboro native Torrin Ryan took first place in the over-18 uilleann pipes slow-air competition at the recent All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil held in Derry, Northern Ireland. Ryan also finished third in the uilleann pipes competition. A former student of Patrick Hutchinson in BostonAs Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Music School, Ryan performs regularly with the bands Core 4 and NØÍR and plays frequently at sessions in Eastern Massachusetts.
Ironically, Ryan had been more confident about his performance in the solo dance music competition than in the slow airs. “I felt as if I had done well. No mishaps, and a difficult section of notes in the B part of ‘The Scholar’ had gone off without a hitch. But in the slow air competition, I actually felt as if there was no chance for me, as I had stopped mid-A part of “The Bright Lady” and had to restart the air. I had begun to mistake it for a part of “The Dark Slender Boy,” which I had just played.
“I didn’t think I had a chance at placing, even though the rest of the airs went off well, just due to this mistake. Naturally because of this, I was quite surprised when I’d been announced as first place.”
This was Ryan’s second visit to the All-Ireland Fleadh, which he attended in 2009 when it took place in Tullamore. Because of Derry’s size, he found the fleadh more “spread out” and less easy to navigate in finding concerts and other events. But he certainly enjoyed the overall experience, sometimes in unexpected ways.
“A couple of friends and I took a day trip to the Giant’s Causeway one of the days we were down, and we accidentally took a high path that led well past the Causeway itself. Once we came to an intersection that had the opportunity to go down to the Causeway, we decided to instead keep going to another formation known as ‘The Amphitheater.” I’m very thankful we kept walking to it, because it is definitely one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
“We hear a lot about the competitions that everybody makes their way over to Ireland for, but the real beauty is in the people you meet, the sights you see, and the tunes you play with others.”
– SEAN SMITH