RELAND’S rich musical heritage will be showcased at Clare Museum in Ennis during Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, with an exhibition of some of the oldest known musical instruments, spanning more than 6,000 years.
Ancient Music Ireland will present the interactive, multi-sensory exhibition at from Monday to Friday next.
Featuring reproductions of ancient horns and trumpets from pre-Norman Ireland back to the Stone Age, the collection will feature rare and historic bodhráns, with a story to go with each drum.
Among the frame drums to be displayed are the oldest known surviving bodhrán and stick in Ireland (circa 1935), a drum made from the last goat on Coney Island and examples of drums made by the renowned Charlie Byrne of Thurles.
Horns and trumpets are displayed to showcase the evolvement of music and ritual from the Stone Age (circa. 4,000 BC) to the Early Medieval Christian era (circa. 700 AD). A progression of musical culture is represented from cow horns through cast and sheet bronze trumpets, to sacred religious wooden horns covering a 5,000-year period.
Of particular interest is the Bronze Age musician’s outfit reproduction or ‘the oldest known musician’s outfit’. The original hoard found in Booleybrien in Clare from which the outfit is taken, is on permanent display in the museum. The artefacts include buttons, a cloak pin, bronze horn, chain necklace or horn carrier, axes, a belt buckle and a sword.
John Rattigan, curator at Clare Museum, stated, “Experts from Ancient Music Ireland will perform music with a reproduced bronze age horn and other ancient instruments, while they will also reconstruct the earliest musician’s outfit based on the Booleybrien hoard. The reconstructed parts will be demonstrated in their original role as a specific dress/outfit worn by a Bronze Age horn player from between 1,000 and 800BC.”
Mr Rattigan is encouraging Fleadh visitors and locals to attend the exhibition, which he said will “bring music archaeology to life” adding that “several of the instruments play exquisite accompaniment to cross cultural indigenous instruments and singing and consequently, the exhibition organisers are inviting collaboration from musicians”