Leonard Barry, from North Kerry, is one of Ireland's finest uilleann pipers. He has played and taught the pipes in the USA, Europe, Asia and Australia. Leonard has worked with many of Ireland’s leading singer songwriters including Luka Bloom and John Spillane. To coincide with the release of his second album 'New Road' he is touring with some of the special guests who play with him on the album.

Leonard Barry

Leonard Barry has regularly been described as one of Ireland’s leading Uilleann pipers. Born in Tralee, Co. Kerry and raised in Kilmoyley, ten miles outside Tralee, Leonard started his musical journey at the age of eight under the guidance of his Uncle Bert O’Brien.

It was at the age of 15 when Leonard when an interest in the Uilleann pipes started when Leonard met piper Dave Hegarty. Shortly after that encounter he heard his Uncle’s recordings of The Bothy Band and Planxty, and that prompted Leonard to contact Dave Hegarty and get his first lessons. Paddy Keenan and Liam O’Flynn quickly became a big influence on Leonard’s piping, along with Finbar Furey. Other influences would be; Leon Rowsome, Johnny Doran, Willie Clancy and Seamus Ennis.

Upon finishing school Leonard moved to Cork city and went to many sessions at the time in The Lobby Bar and in The Gables. Attending sessions and meeting musicians in the Sliabh Luachra area would go on to have a big influence on Leonard. Listening to Johnny Leary and recordings of Julia Clifford and Denis Murphy also introduced Leonard to tunes that might not come from the piping repertoire. Time spent in the thriving Galway scene in the early 1990’s with musicians from all over Ireland also influenced Leonard's music.

After a period in London and travelling Europe Leonard settled in Kilkenny, where he remained for nigh on ten years. Leonard from there went on to perform throughout Ireland at many festivals with various musicians. Performances abroad followed, including appearances at many of Europe’s leading festivals including Shetland Folk Festival and Skagen Festival in Denmark, The Hong Kong Folk Festival.

Many more collaborations followed including recording with John Spillane, Pól Brennan (Clannad) and Luka Bloom of late, plus guest appearances with many others. In 2002 Leonard released his first solo CD, “Mind the Pipes” (which was co-produced by Declan Synnott) which was described as a “classic debut”. It was mentioned amongst the top albums of the year in The Irish Times that year.

Leonard has performed on national TV and Radio in many countries including; Ireland, UK, USA, Germany, Portugal, Malaysia, as well as appearing on over 30 recordings with artists in; Ireland, Denmark, UK, Germany and USA.

In 2004 Leonard took a break from full time music, and spent nearly 9 years working with the Dublin Simon Community, and has been living in Dublin. Leonard is again playing full time and is now much sought after both as a performer and teacher of the Uilleann Pipes, at home and abroad.

New Road

Leonard has now just released his second recording “New Road”.

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