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Nihar Janga, a fifth-grader from Austin, Texas, has dazzled US and Irish audiences by successfully spelling 'uilleann pipes' as part of the US Scripps National Spelling Bee.

When asked to spell 'uilleann pipes', Nihar said: "Is that an Irish word for an instrument that destroys sessions and ear drums?" The judges nodded in reply with tears welling in their eyes at the thought of the instrument.

Nihar spelled the word successfully, drawing roars of disapproval from the audience who tried to discourage him from playing the instrument in celebration.

"I'm just speechless. You don't expect to be asked to spell something like that! And something that sounds so ghastly too! I think this is the first time it has come up in the competition and hopefully the last."

When asked to spell the word 'Donal Lunny' he asked the pronouncer, "Is that a man who stands behind things?" then whizzed through the word faster than Frankie Gavin goes through accordion players.

Irish musicians all over the country were said to be impressed by his spelling and even more impressed that he managed to learn the word without having to listen to the instrument.

"I wish I were him", said one musician, "To be able to live in a world where all you have to do is spell 'uilleann pipes' and not play with or hear them."


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