Neither, according to my aged, sainted great-grandmother.
According to legand in my family, a friend of my great-grandmother's father
invented the bagpipes in County Cork.
Paddy O'Hara, loved music, lived for music, and was always trying to
find the perfect instrument. It was spring, the sun was warm again
after a particularly long, bitter winter and Paddy was courting. T
He wanted so to impress and perhaps, dare he hope, win the beautious Megan
McCarthy. But, how? Megan loved to dance and was known for miles around
as the star of County Cork. Paddy resolved to make a new instrument
that would wail at the bitterness of the winter past and sigh at the
softness of the summer to come. This would be his gift for his Megan
He went to work with a will. Soon, the bagpipes were born and Paddy ru
rushed off to play them for his darling.
He had been so busy, that he had not heard the local gossip. Megan's father
had taken her off to town to buy fabric and sugar and such else the farm
required. In his saddness, Paddy played his new pipes. The pipes re
responded to Paddy's heartache and wailed like a lost soul, the sound
rose from the pipes and floated out over the village. All who heard
found tears in their eyes, their hearts filled with the sorrow the
For days Paddy wandered the village, playing his mournful music, until
his own neighbors turned against him.
"Go from here, Paddy," they cried. "Come home when you have lost that
beastly instrument." Lower than low, Paddy left.
For weeks, Paddy traveled, carrying his pipes with him the whole time.
Before long, he realised that Megan would be home now. Perhaps she would
find another young man to love. He had to get home, before he lost his
Megan. How could he get rid of his pipes? He had made them, and was
proud of them. He tried selling them, but the minstrils had all heard
the pipes lament and would not stay long enough to hear them sing.
Now Paddy knew he was in a pickle. He would not simply abandon the pipes
for he knew their worth.
Finally, a merchant heading for Scotland and points beyond offered to
take the pipes for Paddy. After exacting a promise that the pipes would
go to someone who would appreciate them, Paddy agreed. The deal was made
and Paddy rushed home to County Cork.
Paddy married his coleen and nothing was heard of the pipes in many a
After a time, though, word reached Paddy and Megan that a troupe of
musicians from Scotland was passing through with a new attraction.
The Wailing Pipes, given away t
o a minstral in a card game, they had
become the pride of Scottish minstralsy.
Lost to the Scott in a game, no doubt. Paddy was happy that his pipes had
found a good home.
My great-grandmother always smiled at the end of this story and added
"The Irish gave the bagpipes to the Scotts as a joke and they took us
Of course this tale is not historically accurate, and I appologize for
the length, but I thought you all might enjoy this bit of blarney.