Five pipers compete in Belfast Tradfest Solo Piping tomorrow


The Belfast TradFest Solo Highland Piping Competition takes place tomorrow, Sunday July 23, at The Deer’s Head, Lower Garfield St, Belfast. Five of Ireland’s top pipers will perform a 6-8 minute medley selection of their choice showcasing their unique playing styles.

Order of competitors:

  1. Kris Coyle
  2. Reece Doherty
  3. Ashley McMichael
  4. Alastair Donaghy
  5. Alan Glenholmes

Tickets are available from Belfast TradFest Solo Highland Piping Competition

Belfast TradFest Solo Highland Piping Competition

The competitor line-up includes:

Ashley McMichael is an esteemed piper, both as a soloist and as a member of reigning world champions Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band. Having started his Piping career at the age of 9 receiving tuition from Hugh Cooke, Ashley went on to receive tuition from the late Bertie Todd and Willie McCallum.

During his time in FMM he has won numerous major championships, two grand slams and nine world championships while enjoying a successful solo career including 6 x All Ireland titles, 5 x NI Piper of the Year, 4 x Ulster champion, Winner of the B Grade Piobaireachd (London, 2022), A grade MSR (London, 2021), B Grade MSR (Northern Meeting, 2014) and Highlands & Islands Young Piper of the Year, 2012. Currently residing in Antrim with his wife Ashleigh and daughter Holly, Ashley is a warehouse manager for Maxwell Freight Services in Crumlin.

Alastair Donaghy has had a very successful solo piping career, both here in Northern Ireland and over the water in various competitions. He has won the Senior Ulster MSR prize as well as the Senior Ulster Hornpipe and Jig prize. To add to this, he has also won the C grade MSR and Hornpipe and Jig prize at the prestigious Highland Society of London Competition.

Alastair has been a member of the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band since 2016, and during that time he has won the World Championships 3 times, as well as a host of other major and All-Ireland championship prizes.

Kris Coyle from Carrickfergus has enjoyed a successful piping career to date with many notable achievements including 4 x Northern Ireland Piper of the Year, 2 x Ulster Solo Champion, 5 x Ulster Solo Champion Hornpipe and Jig, Inveraray Games (B grade Piobaireachd) 2018, Inveraray Games Overall B grade Champion 2018, 4 x Loch Lomond Highland games Overall Champion, 3rd place B grade S&R Argyllshire Gathering 2022. Kris is currently a member of Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band.

Reece Doherty is an up-and-coming solo piper who has had success in local solo competitions and is the current U18 All Ireland champion. Reece’s piping career started at the age of 8 when his late grandfather Billy Doherty started him on the practice chanter, after a few months Reece joined Kildoag Pipe Band where he played for 2 seasons, he then piped in Raphoe Pipe Band along with his grandfather for another 2 seasons before making the move to grade 2 with Colmcille Pipe Band. At present Reece now plays with Manorcunningham Pipe Band from Co Donegal.

Outside of piping, Reece is currently completing his A-Levels, including music at Limavady High School an enjoys playing the Smallpipes and low D whistle.

Alan Glenholmes from Cullybackey currently competes with Grade 1 Closkelt Pipe Band and has previously played with St Laurence O’Toole and Cullybackey Pipe Band. He has won several prizes in solo competitions across Ireland.