Sleeve notes by Néillidh Mulligan Bláth na hÓige - The Bloom of Youth Some of our most respected uilleann pipers down through the years - Patsy Tuohey, Willie Clancy and Sean Mc Kiernan, to mention but a few - have been 'ciotógach' or left-handed pipers. Indeed, Willie Clancy would insist on only shaking 'left hands' with my 'ciotógach' piping brother Gerry, when they met on occasion all those years ago! Aithníonn ciotóg, ciotóg eile, is dóigh! Well into our midst comes a young píobaire ciotógach, Fiachra O Regan, who, judging by his evident talent and progress to date, will be aspiring to the ranks of that famous trio in the forseeable future! Fiachra hails from Roundstone, where he developed and nurtured his love of music and song in that revered bastion of culture that is Connemara. Starting out on tin whistle with lessons from his first teacher, Noreen O Sullivan in Carna, he subsequently took tuition on banjo. Eventually, seeking out a greater challenge, he turned his attention to the uilleann pipes and received his first piping lessons in a chip shop - then a converted classroom for the Summer School at Scoil Acla - on Achill Island! For many years after, Summer schools were to play a major part in guiding the young piper, along with regular and renowned teachers such as Tommy Keane and Éamon Ó Bróithe. Fiachra also drew inspiration from the recordings of previous generations of pipers and combined all these influences to mould his individual piping style, which we can enjoy today. He has chosen his selection of music for these recordings very well indeed. When first I listened to Aisling Gheal I was initially struck by Fiachra's superb slow-air playing and the influence of the sean-nós song tradition that it bears. This talent can only be developed through many years of listening to this unique art form. He is exposed and beneficially immersed in that rich sean-nós culture inherent in Conamara and this is very evident in his interpretive and emotional playing. His dance music has a relaxed and unhurried tempo and is enhanced with feeling, technique and tasteful regulator accompaniment.. Similarly his whistle playing carries lovely rythme, technique and control. The use of differently pitched pipes and tin whistle adds to the variety of this album. Fiachra has to be congratulated on recording a completely solo pipe album, which is a rarity in the modern world of album releases. The influence of the aformentioned Tuohey and Mc Kiernan is a facinating co-incidence in Carna today where Mc Kiernan, having inherited Tuohy's pipes, continues to play and to be an abiding influence on the playing of the younger píobaire ciotógach Fiachra! Píobaire den chéad scoth is ea Fiachra. Fágfaidh an ceirnín seo a rian ar shaol an cheoil i bhfad. Is fiú go mór do cheoltóirí óga eile éisteacht leis an gceirnín seo mar níl aon dabht ach gur ceannróidí é an píobaire óg seo do na píobairí eile atá amuigh ansin. Go maire a cheol amach anseo. Bláth na hóige! Néillidh Mulligan Baile Átha Cliath Mean Fhómhair 2008.