Bodhrán (Kearns) and Roundstone Musical Instruments have received many recommendations
from all around the world.
EXTRACT FROM FROMMERS
Malachy Kearns of
Roundstone Musical Instruments (Tel: 095-35875) and Fax:095 359800, works in the ancient
Franciscian monastery IDA Craft Centre in Roundstone. The bell tower and outer walls of
this 16th century monks home and local school are still there, and in the summer seals and
dolphins gather at its outer walls near the workshop .Malachy is a master craftsman, and
the only full time bodhrán maker in the World. The Bodhrán is an ancient Irish one-sided
frame drum, and for the best results, it is vital to have the quality goatskin Malachy
uses. While you wait his wife ,Anne, a Celtic Artist, can decorate the skin with Celtic
designs, initials family crests or any design you request in old Gaelic script Malachy's
workshop also makes wooden flutes(ebony), tin whistles, and harps, and he has an excellent
mail order service. The workshop/craft shop and Folk museum are open daily from May to
October from 8.so to 6.30pm, Monday through Friday other months. This is one of my
personal favorite stops in Connemara. The Kearns also have a shop on the Mail Street in
Clifden (Tel: 095 21516), open daily from 9am to 7pm from April through to October, Monday
through Saturday in winter.
AN EXTRACT TAKEN
FROM "Ireland's Traditional Crafts."
Shaw-Smith, Thames and Hudson.
origin of the frame drum known as the bodhrán is obscure. It is
thought to date from pagan times, but in more recent years it has
become associated with the 'wren boys an old custom where by on
St. Stephen's Day a wren is captured and paraded from house to house,
accompanied by music.
Kearns, who lives and works in Roundstone, Co. Galway, is respected
as a fine bodhrán maker. The most favoured and common
skins he uses are goat and deer; greyhound and donkey hides are
also good. The skins are cured in hydrated lime mixed with ingredients
that are the close secret of every bodhrán maker; cured thus, they
will keep indefinitely. They are then soaked for seven to ten days
in a solution of lime sulphide, which softens the skin and partially
dissolves the fatty tissue so that fat acid hair can be easily removed
with a scraper.
After the skin has been stretched on a frame for two to three days
and scraped further, a portion of it is removed and tacked under
tension onto the beech wood frame of the bodhrán using brass upholstery
nails. As an added precaution it is also glued. Next the cross-pieces
are fitted. The beater can be turned from holly, oak, beech and
In the hands of a skilled player it can be a subtle and exciting
instrument. The skin is struck in a variety of ways, even using
the heel of the hand and fingers, the hand support the instrument
tucked in behind the cross piece, varies the colour and intensity
of the sound pressing oil the skin. The side of 'the beater is also
used to good effect on the wooden rim.