Pipe bands from across the Province, along with visitors from Belgium, competed in the North Down Pipe Band Championships last Saturday, July 23.
There was a tremendous turnout of spectators for the event at a sun-drenched Castle Park.
The big prize winners were: Grade 2 Ravara; Grade 3a, Manorcunningham; Grade 3b, Matt Boyd Memorial; Grade 4a. Thiepval Memorial Convoy and Grade 4b Closkelt.
North Down MLA Gordon Dunne said it was a fantastic day: “The event was an excellent success and I would like to pay tribute to the quality of the bands which were on display.
“I know that these type of events are very competitive amongst the various grades of pipe bands and the event on Saturday certainly provided a great platform for the various bands to showcase their talents, and I would like to congratulate all those who took part, and a special mention to the prize winners.
“There was a great family atmosphere on the day, and I wish to thank the organisers who helped to make this event such a success.
“It is great to have events like this in North Down which attract many visitors, and it also provides a welcome boost to the local economy. I feel there is great potential for similar events in the future, and it is something which we can all play our part in to try and bring about.”
Contest administrator Mervyn Herron said: “It was a wonderful day — plenty of sunshine, plenty of good bands and North Down Borough Council were very helpful.
“We had a band over from Belgium called Borderline, who weren't anticipating a win but then ended up coming 3rd in their grade, so they were delighted with the result and the gifts they received.”
The Gilnahirk Pipe Band, originally formed in 1919 and who had previously reached a Grade Two rating, were among those competing for “the first time in more years than we care to remember," said a spokesman.
For more informationon the bands visit www.rspbani.org