Andy Dowling plays traditional tunes on an ancient instrument the dulcimer.

Reporter George Devlin talks to Andy Dowling from Clonmeen, Erril, County Laois who says he is one of probably only two dulcimer players in Ireland, John Rae being the other. A fiddler before he discovered the dulcimer, Andy now plays this ancient instrument at Fleadhanna Ceoil and musical gatherings. He has also had a part in the film ‘Lock Up Your Daughters’. Andy Dowling was first inspired by the instrument having heard John Barton, a travelling musician, play the dulcimer at a fair day in Rathdowney, County Laois.

That's a most unusual looking yoke.

The hammered dulcimer most likely originated in the Middle East before it spread across North Africa and was brought to Europe by the Spanish Moors in the 12th century.  Called 'tiompán' in Irish, historical evidence suggests that hammered dulcimers were played in Ireland from the Middle Ages onwards.

This episode of 'Hall’s Pictorial Weekly' was broadcast on 26 January 1972. The reporter is George Devlin.

Frank Hall's amusing and satirical series began on 29 September 1971 with the full title 'Hall's Pictorial Weekly Incorporating the Provincial Vindicator' which became known as 'Hall's Pictorial Weekly'.

The series allowed Frank Hall to follow his own interest in the lives of viewers throughout the country. Regarded as RTÉ's flagship comedy show, it featured satirical sketches on current news stories and popular culture, as well as parody songs, comedy sketches, re-edited videos, cartoons and spoof television formats. The show ran for 9 series until 1980.

In the RTÉ Guide on the week of its first transmission, Frank Hall wrote 'The form and content of Hall's Pictorial Weekly should be impossible to forecast until the last moment. It should be as varied and absorbing as life itself'. He further commented 'I have an inexhaustible interest in the lives and times of the people who live in our country towns and villages; no event is too small to capture my attention, no community too out of the way...This programme is intended to be about you, your town, your friends, your local interests.' (RTÉ Guide, September 24, 1971, Vol.8, No.9, p.2)