These beautiful horns were played by people living in the Ballymoney area 2,500 years ago. They are among the most striking objects to be found in this region and demonstrate the skills of craftsmen at that time.
During the Bronze Age, horns were widely used in Ireland and over 104 have been discovered. The two shown here are part of a collection of four discovered in a bog at Drumabest, Co. Antrim. Ballymoney Museum has one on display, kindly on loan from York Museums Trust. The National Museum of Ireland has one and the Ulster Museum has the other two.
The horns occur in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and each one makes a different sound. For example, large horns blown from the end make a low bass drone, while those blown from the side produce a higher note.
Photograph reproduced courtesy the Trustees of National Museums Northern Ireland