Wicklow Pipes

Are these pipes the parts of the oldest pipe organ or another multi-flute instrument in Ireland?

Wicklow Pipes are the oldest wooden pipes from Bronze Age that Bernice Molly found at Greystones, County Wicklow, Ireland in 2003.

Wicklow Pipes and the Site

County Wicklow is a county in Ireland which is part of the Mid-East Region of Ireland. Its name derived from Old Norse name Víkingaló which means Vikings’ Meadow. As a settlement from prehistory, County Wicklow has a rich history. It is why, many archaeologists performed excavations in this area. In recent years, they excavated many examples of Fulachta Fiadh in eastern County Wicklow. Fulachta Fiadh is a mound of burnt stone. Experts believe that early settlers used it for cooking.

According to their experiments, early humans would place the stones on fire. After a while, they would take them and move them into wooden troughs which they had filled with water. The hot stones would then heat the water to the boiling point, and the cooking could begin.

Also, one of these mounds provided experts parts of one of the oldest musical instruments in Ireland.

Wicklow Pipes (Instrument)

Wicklow Pipes

In 2003, Bernice Molly discovered six wooden pipes in one of the mounds at Charlesland, County Wicklow. These pipes were lying side by side in a trough belonging to an Early Bronze Age burnt mound (c. 2120-2085 BC). Experts discovered that early humans made them from yew wood. Although not all of them were complete, they ranged in size from 57 cm to 29 cm long. At first, they looked like flutes. But, they didn’t have finger holes on them. Therefore, experts believe that they may have been parts of a multi-flute instrument, perhaps an early pipe organ.

Dr. Peter Holmes has been studying on these pipes. Since then, he made a successful experimental reproduction of the pipes. However, how these pipes would generate notes is a subject of an ongoing debate. In conclusion, these pipes are parts of one of the oldest musical instrument in the world.

See Also

Outbound Links

Ancient Music Ireland

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