from broken traditions to living traditions

Saturday 22 May, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Ancient Music Ireland: Simon and Maria O’Dwyer

This presentation introduces the characteristics of the great Iron Age Irish/Welsh trumpets and their possible uses in antiquity.   A research trip to Nepal opened up viable reasons for the S-shape and semi-circular aspects of the Iron Age ‘trumpa créda’ and ‘trumpa mór’.

In 2011, Ancient Music Ireland were invited to present a series of lectures in the Music Department of the University of Kathmandu.  Interviews with players and makers alongside footage of a traditional Nepalese wedding band, reveals living musical traditions that aid research into the possible uses for the Irish/Welsh Iron Age trumpets.  Was making circles in the air with pairs of trumpets to celebrate a royal wedding a common event in Iron Age Ireland and Wales?  This 30 minute segment by musician and music-archaeologist Simon O’Dwyer,  presents a convincing theory!

Simon and Maria will be available on the chat line for comments and questions when the presentation streams.


Born in 1955, Simon O’Dwyer has dedicated his life’s work to the study and the reconstruction of prehistoric musical instruments. He is in the vanguard of the pioneering research which is taking place into the music of prehistory worldwide. Simon has composed and registered many pieces for Bronze Age horns and trumpets, Iron Age trumpets, Early Medieval horns and bodhrán. Simon plays with the band ‘Reconciliation’ and has recorded several albums. He is a poet and songwriter.

Maria O’Dwyer is dedicated to the promotion, research and documentation of the ancient musical instruments of Ireland. She has correlated a large library of archive material, including public performance at festivals, museums, universities, conferences worldwide and rare footage of the measuring and discussion of original instruments. Maria also plays with the band ‘Reconciliation’ and has composed and recorded on several albums.