VIDEO: Pipe bands battle for Euro crown

THE European Pipe Band Championships on Saturday were the final instalment of a three-year agreement between Belfast City Council and the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA) to host the major competition in Belfast.

The grounds of the Civil Service Sports Club in the Stormont estate have provided an excellent venue over the last three years and seen some superb performances from bands, drum majors and dancers who have travelled to compete.

Saturday’s competition was just as intense, with Scotland’s Boghall and Bathgate Caledonia crowned the 2012 grade 1 European Pipe Band champions, while in the lower grades, Northern Ireland bands claimed titles of their own – with the PSNI taking the honours in grade 3a, Killeen in grade 3b and Tullylagan in 4a.

Hosting a major championship in Northern Ireland is a big thing and hopefully one will return in the near future. For now the European Championships move to Forres, near Inverness in Scotland, for the next three years.

Reflecting on the success of the three European Championships that have been held at Stormont, RSPBA president George Ussher said: “Stormont has provided a magnificent venue for the European Championships over the last three years and this has been reflected in the excellent turnout of bands and drum majors we have seen and the crowds of spectators who have attended each year.

“The Europeans are a fantastic spectacle featuring more than 3,000 musicians and dancers and I’m sure everyone here will take back happy memories of a great event.”