History of Ceol na Gael

Ceol na Gael's roots go back to 1999 when the paths of two Hibernian pipers crossed.

Bruce Thompson had just moved to Charlotte from Myrtle Beach, SC where he was actively involved in a local pipe band.  That band happened to wear the traditional Irish saffron kilt which Bruce introduced to Ceol na Gael.

Michael Holian, a New Yorker all his life, had recently moved from Long Island to Rock Hill, SC.  Michael had piped for years in various New York area pipe bands and missed the social aspects of being in a band.  

These two gentlemen agreed that Michael should give lessons to aspiring pipers and, thus, the students could form a band.  Shawn Downs and Scott Sullivan were two of Michael's first students who turned the idea of an Irish pipe band into a reality.  Ceol na Gael was formed in Fall, 2001 with Frank Keenan in the key role of band manager and bass drummer.  Frank still serves in these roles today.

The band's first official performance as Ceol na Gael was the Emerald Ball in  Spring, 2002 at Charlotte's Adam's Mark hotel.  Our first parade was the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Charlotte on Saturday, March 16, 2002.