The Dominie Dirtch was powered by the Chimes and upon striking the Dirtch, a wave of powerful magic is emitted and kills every living thing in its path. The effect it has on living beings is horrible, sloughing flesh off of bone. An individual can pass the Dominie Dirtch safely by simply stuffing his or her ears full of material sufficient to keep from hearing the terrible tone it produces.
It was believed that the Haken warlords brought in all of the Dominie Dirtch and used them as a weapon of mass murder during their takeover of Anderith. When the Anders regained rule, so the story went, they decided that the Dirtch was the only "Haken" instrument they would retain. It was later learned by Richard Rahl that Joseph Ander himself created these powerful weapons in order to defend the land he ruled from the Hakens and other threats.
During Soul of the Fire, when Zedd tried to offer his own soul to the Chimes in hopes that they would "choke on it," all of the Dominie Dirtch go off at once, despite not a single one having been struck. It has the effect of killing everyone in front of it.
Upon the banishment of the Chimes back to the underworld, the Dirtch crumbled and fell.