O'Dowd Egan - Second shoot

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25 August 2010

The ownership of this set of pipes can be traced almost from the time of its manufacture to the present. They were made for John Coughlan (1837-1908) by Michael Egan – one of two sets that the famous pipemaker made for him in New York in the late 1850s. Egan had been induced to come to America by Coughlan’s father Thomas, and taught John for some time, as well as making the pipes for him.

John Coughlan became a celebrated piper in the United States, but emigrated to Australia in 1862, apprehensive at the disturbed conditions arising from the American Civil War. He settled in Melbourne, and later moved to Sydney. He acquired a great reputation as a piper and travelled throughout Australia, as well as to New Zealand, performing Irish music.

On his death in 1908 the pipes were bequeathed to his brother Tom, who was professionally known as “Tom Buckley, the Irish Comedian”. He travelled even further with them, bringing his comedy/music routine to India and throughout Australasia.

The ownership of the set is unclear for some time after this until they came into the possession of Australian piper Bill Crowe (an uncle of Joe Barry of Templemore), probably in 1945. Bill’s father Paddy, a Tipperary man, arrived in Australia in 1899, and Bill was born there. By occupation a fireman, he visited Ireland in 1956 taking the set with him. During a tour of Tara Street fire-station, he was introduced to “another mad piper”, Dan O’Dowd, who worked there. They struck up a relationship and Crowe stayed with the O’Dowds for some time before returning to Australia. Before he left he gave the Egan set to Dan.

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