Na Píobairí Uilleann

Na Piobairi Uilleann (NPU), the Society of Uilleann Pipers, was founded in 1968 by pipers with the aim of protecting a threatened art form. Now, forty-six years later, NPU is a thriving arts organisation with thousands of members, dedicated to servicing the aims and needs of uilleann pipers worldwide.

NPU also maintains a significant online presence. Source, a web-based piping and traditional music resource, provides an accumulated training, tutorial and archive materials to lovers of Irish music around the world.

The Problem

The client had an outdated online web presence serving thousands of members worldwide. The old website was fragmented over different hosts with no integrated login.

The objective was to build an integrated online platform to serve their membership that seamlessly integrated with the applications and services that were developed previously.

Our Solution

Our relationship with the Na Piobairi Uilleann started back in 2007 when we developed an enterprise search solution built using Lucene. They had a large archive dating back hundreds of years, which they wanted digitised and made available online. Documents were scanned and OCRed. Software Design’s solution indexed the scanned documents and made the images searchable for relevant search terms.  A proprietary algorithm was developed that highlighted search terms on the images contained in the pdfs.

In 2009 Software Design developed a Media Library called “Source” to enable Na Piobairi Uilleann publish their archive of photos, music sheets, videos and tutorials online. The client organised and added metadata to the digital assets so that it could be indexed and searched online. Categories, titles, descriptions and other information was added to facilitate the logical and intuitive organisation of the archive.

In 2011 we developed an interactive educational resource DVD-ROM called “Pipe Up”.

In 2013 Software Design was engaged to redevelop the Na Piobairi Uilleann website and ecommerce store. Two mobile applications Moving Cloud and Pipe Craft were created using PhoneGap.

The project involved the seamless integration of the previous applications developed Software Design using the latest tools, technology and frameworks to provide a best of breed application.

We developed a mobile friendly responsive website integrating the applications through the use of web services and custom API’s. A data migration of content, member accounts and profiles was performed before going live. The project was successfully launched in January 2014.


Software Design delivered Na Piobairi Uilleann an integrated enterprise web application to serve their membership for the coming years. The application utilised the latest technologies and met all the project requirements.

Technologies Used

PHP, C#, ASP.NET, ServiceStack, MS SQL Server, PhoneGap, WordPress, WooCommerce, HTML/CSS/JavaScript, jQuery, Bootstrap, Lucene, JSON, iTextSharp


“We have worked with Software Design on several other projects and we knew we could rely on them to deliver what we needed within the timeframe and budget that we had.

One of our problems with the old site was that it was fragmented over different hosts with no integrated login. We now have a unified member self-service portal, including a web store, on a robust platform which integrates seamlessly with our back office Microsoft Dynamics GP and CRM systems.

We have been able eliminate some time-consuming processes and with our web subscription model we have noticed increased traffic and revenues.”

~ Gerry Lyons, Head of Development, Na Piobairi Uilleann