This clay pipe was found in top soil in Ballybeg, near Clarecastle.
Clay pipes was ubiquitous in the days before cigarette smoking was common practice in Ireland. They were particularly prominent at wakes where trays of tobacco filled pipes were handed around together with whiskey and Guinness.
It was considered the most important part of the hospitality offered at the wake. The wake would have lasted through the night and generally it was men who would only attend the mourning by night, perhaps this is where the word wake comes from the remaining awake during the sleeping hours.
Curative properties were attributed to snuff left over from a wake and the clay pipes used on such occassions were sometimes buried separately often in or near a prehistoric burial place. Quantities of old pipes often turn up at archaeological excavations; the fragments of several clay pipes were found during the excavation of a double-banked ringfort at Ballycally near Shannon.
Embossed on the bowl is the image of a bird.