Ethel’s workshop is located on the site of a famous Irish Claypipe factory in the village of Knockcroghery in County Roscommon.
Knockcroghery was renowned for the almost 300 years for the production of clay pipes or dúidíns. By the late 1800’s virtually the entire village was involved in the manufacture of the pipes which were distributed extensively throughout the country. They were smoked by both men and women and were predominantly the pipe of the common man.
Clay pipes were particularly popular at wakes where trays of tobacco-filled pipes were laid out for the mourners. Traditionally, after the pipes were smoked at the wake, they were broken while saying ‘Lord have Mercy’. This custom was often repeated at the grave side where the broken pipes were laid on the grave. Used wake pipes were sometimes kept as mementos of the deceased.
Inscriptions on pipes were also used for advertising or to indicate the smoker’s political inclination. For example : Home Rule, Parnell, Who fears to speak of ’98, etc. Other inscriptions were simply decorative. eg: Basket-weave design.
Production of the pipes ceased abruptly in 1921 when the village was burned by the Black and Tans during the War of Independence.
We have revived the craft of pipe making using the original moulds and tools. Each pipe is hand-made using the same skills employed by artisans centuries ago.
Traditional craftsmanship renders each pipe a unique, authentic Irish craft-piece.
Visit our Claypipe gallery to view our range of Irish Clay pipe designs.
These make excellent gifts for anyone celebrating their Irish culture.
We also have a limited number of antique pipe heads dating from the early 1800’s to 1921. Each pipe head is professionally framed and individually authenticated at the Claypipe Centre, Knockcroghery. Considering the historical and cultural significance of these unique pieces, this is a rare opportunity to acquire a genuine piece of Irish history at a very affordable price.
These may be bought separately or as a collection and will enhance any home, office or even a bar. They are a great conversation piece for anyone with an interest in their Irish culture.
Ronan Kelly's Ireland: Pipe dreams in Knockroghery, Co Roscommon