The Irish Bagpipes

From A Smaller Social History of Ancient Ireland 1906

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CHAPTER XIII....continued

The bagpipes were known in Ireland from the earliest times: the form used was something like that now commonly known as the Highland pipes—slung from the shoulder, the bag inflated by the mouth. The other form—resting on the lap, the bag inflated by a bellows —which is much the finer instrument, is of modern invention. The bagpipes were in very general use, especially among the lower classes.

The simple pipe—as we might expect—was much in use, blown by the mouth at the end; the note being produced either by a whistle as in the modern flageolet, or by a reed as in the clarionet.

Irish Piper playing at the head of a band marching to battle

FIG. 70. Irish Piper playing at the head of a band marching to battle (From Derrick's Image of Ireland, 1578).

We find it often sculptured on the high crosses, as shown in fig. 71, which will give a good idea of shape and size.

Harp and Pipe players. Figure on Durrow High Cross.

FIG. 71. Harp and Pipe players. Figure on Durrow High Cross. (This is a pipe, not a trumpet). (From Miss Stokes's High Crosses of Castledermot and Durrow). Belongs to about the tenth century.

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