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Corcomrue Abbey – 1267

Feilding Star 24th March 1902 p4 (abridged)

Clay pipe Photo: Frankwm1 Wikimedia Commons

Clay pipe
Photo: Frankwm1
Wikimedia Commons

It is pleasant for people of the present day, who do not like tobacco, to know that Sir Walter Raleigh was not the person who introduced the habit of smoking into Ireland anyway, whatever he may have done for England.

The learned Dr. Petrie, the acknowledged chief of Irish antiquarians, says “Smoking-pipes of bronze are frequently found in our Irish tumuli or sepulchral mounds of the most remote antiquity. On the monument of Donogh O’Brien, King of Thomond, who was killed in 1267, and interred in the Abbey of Corcumrue, in the County of Clare, he is represented in the usual recumbent posture, with the short pipe or dhudeen in his mouth.”

Tobacco, after all, was only a substitute. Long before it was introduced into England smoking was commonly practised. The favorite smoke was dried leaves of coltesfoot. In the Historic of Plantes by Dodoens, published in 1578, is the following passage ‘The parfume of the dryed leaves (of coltesfoot) layde upon quick coles, taken into the mouth of a funnell or tunnell helpeth such as are troubled with the shortness of winde and fetch their breathe thick and often.”

In ‘The Travels of Evliya Effendi’ it is stated that an old Greek building in Constantinople was converted into a mausoleum in the early part of the sixteenth century. At the time of the alteration it was computed that the building was a thousand years old. In cutting through the walls to form windows, a tobacco pipe which even then smelt of smoke, was found among the stones.

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