This is my bodhran and that is me playing it back in 1978. (Click on photos to enlarge) I bought the bodhran in 1976 from a company in Belfast called William Hewitt Drum Makers. The Hewitt’s were famous Lambeg drum makers from Sandy Row and apparently they made their bodhrans out of busted Lambegs.
Famous drum manufacturer William Hewitt of Sandy Row, Belfast, additionally claims that his grandfather produced the first lambeg drum in 1870. Author and well known flute player and Church of Ireland minister Gary Hastings however, contradicts this tale, highlighting that ‘the oldest reference to them was when two were bought for an Orange Lodge in 1823. They were called ‘lambegs’ as early as that and it is likely that they were made in the village of Lambeg (County Antrim) as I am not aware of any other explanation of the name.’ There is also the renowned legend that the lambeg drum was initially brought over from Holland by King William’s troops during the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. According to Fionnuala Scullion this theory could well be true, since a drum resembling the size and shape of the lambeg is displayed in Rembrandt’s 1649 painting entitled, ‘The Night Watch.’ Whatever about the Lambeg I have had this bodhran for 36 years and have recently started playing it again. Any trad bands out there who need a “moron on the bodhran” I’m your man!