harp society


Waterford City, March 2nd and 3rd 2018.

The Historical Harp Society of Ireland was founded in 2002. It leads a revival of Ireland’s ancient and now largely forgotten musical instrument, which is depicted in the national emblem: the early Irish harp. This noble instrument—also known as the Gaelic harp, early clarsach and wire-strung harp—is the historical harp of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands and Islands. It was played by immensely skilled, high status musicians in the Gaelic courts and later in the great houses from the early Middle Ages until its demise in the early 19th century.

The resonating chamber of an early Irish harp was usually carved from a single log, traditionally willow; its strings were wires of brass, silver or perhaps even gold, whose rich sustaining sound was selectively damped. The early Irish harp’s extraordinary sweetness was described in glowing terms at home and abroad. The best known surviving example is Europe’s oldest harp and the instrument depicted in Ireland’s national emblem: the medieval harp preserved in the Old Library of Trinity College, Dublin.

The much more familiar neo-Irish harp, invented in Dublin in the 1810s, has now replaced the early Irish harp, from which it differs greatly. Strung in gut or nylon, of different construction type, and played with a different technique, the more modern Irish harp is a descendant of the 18th century European pedal harp.

They are presenting four early Irish Harp Discovery Weekends in 2018, one of which will take place Fri / Sat 2–3 March in Waterford.

Friday 2 March will be about interacting with secondary school music students in Waterford, offering them an illustrated presentation on the history of the early Irish harp, which is part of their music curriculum, with some live harping as part of it.

On Saturday 3 March, they have a series of public events happening at City Hall.

For further information and all enquiries, please contact

The Historical Harp Society of Ireland
33 Altamount Park
Co. Kilkenny

Or visit there Website at www.Irishharp.org

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