By Harry Keaney
Two guitars belonging to the Harp and Shamrock Marching Band, from Clara, Co. Offaly, were stolen in New Haven, Conn., on St. Patrick’s Day.
The band, comprising of 44 girls, aged 8 to 18, marched in parades in Milford and New Haven, Conn., and in the New York parade on St. Patrick’s Day on March 14. During the New Haven, someone broke into the band’s van and stole the guitars, a wool jacket and a camera.
One of the guitars had sentimental value. It belonged to the mother of a 9-year-old band member and had been used for 25 years in performances across Europe. The other guitar belonged to a 15-year-old band member.
"We are really hoping they will turn up," said John Hanlon, who organized the band’s trip to the U.S.
Hanlon’s parents also come from Offaly. He told the Echo that he had read about the band in the Westmeath-Offaly Independent newspaper and, last St. Patrick’s Day, he saw it march in the New York parade. He immediately began making arrangements to bring the band to the New Haven parade.
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Hanlon said the band returned to Ireland on March 18 and, despite the theft of the guitars, will have "great memories" of their visit. He said the band members were a credit to their parents and teachers in Ireland.
He asked that anyone with information about the stolen guitars to call him at (203) 387-5301.
also, as previously reported, on March 5 five instruments owned by Peter Barnes of the Cathie Ryan Band were stolen between shows from the dressing room of a lower Manhattan venue. Taken were a seven-key wooden Irish flute made by Nellysford, Va.’s, Patrick Olwell and four ebony and silver whistles made by Chris Abell of North Carolina. Three of the whistles have the serial number 3 on them, while the remaining C whistle doesn’t.
Anyone with information about these instruments may call Barnes at (781) 259-8442.