Billy Mag Fhloinn - Bronze Age Horns/Iron Age Trumpet
Billy Mag Fhloinn is one of the very few living people who play and make the Bronze Age Irish Horns that were revived by Simon O'Dwyer in the 1980's. A member of Ireland's Bronze Age recreation society 'Umha Aois', Billy built his own replica of an Iron Age-style trumpet and can be heard playing it in the clip posted here. This is an experiment with four tracks, as the surviving Iron Age trumpet of Loughnashade was one of four identical instruments recovered from the lake near the mythic and archaeological site of Emhain Macha. Evidently, this type of instrument was meant to be played in concert with each other.
Billy was born and raised in a musical family in Limerick City. He began playing traditional music in 1996, beginning on the bodhrán. He then progressed onto the bouzouki, after a chance find of an old Greek model in a music shop in Limerick. He learned much of his playing from musicians Mick Broderick and Tony Davoren when living in Dublin, and gained great experience playing the wild dance music of west Kerry when living on the Dingle Peninsula.
Billy has been a member of the Umha Aois experimental archaeology group for over eight years. The group is a collective of archaeologists, artists, craftworkers and artisans who work together to explore the art and technology of Ireland's prehistoric metalworking traditions. The group has successfully cast several replica bronze trumpets, of a kind that were played around 3000 years ago. Billy has also created a replica sheet metal trumpet of the kind played in the Iron Age, and is currently working on creating several more such instruments for the Clare Memory Orchestra.
He has recorded on several albums as an accompanist, and has shared the stage with a variety of performers, including Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Gerry O'Beirne, Éamon Doorley, Donal Clancy and Ross Martin. Billy has Ph.D. in Irish Folklore studies and when he's not playing music, he lectures in Irish Studies at University of Limerick and Mary Immaculate College.
The image above is of an Irish Iron Age Trumpet recovered in Loughnashade, Co. Armagh.
The image below is of a bronze horn cast by Umha Aois in 2011.