Slovaks Have Bagpipes Too


August 31, 2017

Allan Stevo

As a child growing up on the south side of Chicago, at this time of year I watched practically everyone take any, even minuscule (1/256), Irish ancestry and parade it around like it was the coolest thing on earth. They would tell colourful jokes with brogues, discuss what it really meant for St Patrick to chase the snakes from Ireland, and would shout over green beers and green rivers about the potato famine.

The drone of bagpipes, a rebel instrument, was always my favorite part of the day. The drone of banned bagpipes. The drone resonates deep inside. It builds the soul, it solidifies the fortitude , it enlivens the spirit, it makes the brave braver.

The instrument is beautiful and evokes the emotion in me that rebellions are made of.

In this environment, I asked my family if we had any Irish blood. The answer I heard went something like this: “In the 6th century Celtic tribes invaded the land of our ancestors (Slovakia), raping and pillaging everything in their path. We may not have Irish blood in us, but somewhere, far enough back we surely have Celtic blood in us.”

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Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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