It’s hard to think of tobacco pipes made in Ireland and think of anything other than a Peterson Pipe.
Petersonof Dublin is, far and away, the most famous Irish pipe brand. Known around the world for their distinct design, P-lip and unique smoking system, these pipes have over a century’s worth of Irish history behind them. For most enthusiasts, smoking an Irish-made tobacco pipe means smoking a Peterson. However, they were not the only Irish brand.
History of Irish tobacco pipes
Traditional briar pipes did not catch on in Ireland until Peterson partners, Friedrich and Heinrich Kapp, came on the scene in the mid-1800s. The primary reason is the lack of native briar. Ireland is not an ideal climate for producing the wood needed to create a briar pipe and importing it didn’t occur in any major way until the Kapp brothers opened their shop in Dublin.
Prior to the Peterson partnership of the Kapp brothers and Charles Peterson, most Irish pipe smokers used clay pipes. Inexpensive, easily replaced and easily made, these pipes where much more accessible to the vast majority of Irish smokers.
Other tobacco pipes made in Ireland
In the 1970s and early 1980s, a small company called BPL--Briar Pipes Limited were sold primarily at airport duty-free shops. It is a common misconception that these tobacco pipes are actually Peterson pipes, since Peterson did sell pipes labeled “Shannon” at the Shannon Airport during this time. However, BPL pipes are not Peterson’s, despite what you might see on eBay.
Traditional Irish Clay Pipes
The village of Knockcroghery has produced Irish clay pipes for over 300 years, long before Peterson came on the scene. These pipes were smoked by both men and women. Known as, Duidins, they were used in burial rituals where they were smoked and then broken and laid to rest with the departed soul. Although the burning of the village in 1921 ended the mass-production of clay pipes in the area, artisan producers like Ethel Kelly, still produce them today.