By the 11th century, it had made it's way to Europe. Stone high crosses in Ireland have carvings of players blowing on bone pipes w/ narrow conical bones.
With the 12th century, bird bone whistles were used. The High Street excavations in Dublin's old Norman quarter have yielded the oldest specimens of this Irish version of the whistle .
In the 19th century, the "Feadan" was whistle made from from hollowed stalks of such plants as cane, elder, and wild reeds and grasses.
As craftsmen became more proficient in bonecarving and woodworking, new materials were used for the exterior, reeds and fipples or flageolets. The newer ones were made of clay.
In 1843, the tin whistle was made by Robert Clarke after he modified the design of a wooden whistle he himself owned and played. The Clarke Tinwhistle Company is one of the largest manufacturers today.
By 1870, the Boatswain's Pipe was used to give commands to the crew of ships. Even though the name has the word "pipe" in it, it's truly a unique whistle. The high pitched notes can be heard in the worst gales. Today it's used mostly for ceremonial purposes.