Historical Harp Society of Ireland

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Early Irish harp lecture/recital at the the National Concert Hall

On Saturday, 23rd July, The Education Programme of the National Concert Hall, Dublin collaborated with the HHSI for the first time to present a lecture/recital on the early Irish harp in the aptly named Carolan Room of the NCH, followed by a Hands On beginners' workshop.

Both events were very well attended with most of the lecture audience remaining to observe the progress of the six participants who took part in the beginners' workshop. This was the first occasion on which four of the Society's new HHSI Student Trinity harps – recently built to the Society's
specifications by David Kortier – were placed in the hands of students. It was a rare pleasure to see these students place these measured copies against their left shoulders and begin to play!

Five of the participants, and indeed also some of the observers, have signed up for individual lessons which will begin in Dublin in the autumn.

Our thanks go to Lucy Champion, Education and Community Outreach Manager at the NCH for all her kind support.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

PRESS RELEASE: Scoil na gCláirseach – Summer School of Early Irish Harp

Scoil na gCláirseach –
Summer School of Early Irish Harp
17-23 August 2005
Historical Harp Society of Ireland

A unique summer school devoted to the early Irish harp, which is being held in Kilkenny next month has attracted participants from as far afield as the USA and Japan.

Scoil na gCláirseach – Summer School of Early Irish Harp will be held in Kilkenny 17th – 23rd August with lectures and concerts as well as instrumental tuition from the world authorities on this harp, Ann Heymann (USA), Javier Sáinz (Spain) and Scoil director Siobhán Armstrong (Ireland).

Organized by the Historical Harp Society of Ireland in association with Kilkenny School of Music, the Scoil is now in its third year and has become the premier international event for early Irish harp. Scoil students will study the techniques and repertory played in Ireland from medieval times to the 18th century, and will explore the history of the early Irish wire-strung harp.

“This summer school is part of a concerted effort by the Society to bring about a revival of the playing of our magnificent national instrument”, said Siobhán Armstrong, chair of the HHSI, who along with Ann Heymann, will perform on copies of the medieval Trinity College harp – the Irish national emblem – strung with both brass and 18-carat gold strings.

The HHSI (http://www.irishharp.org) was founded in 2002 to promote Ireland’s forgotten national instrument, the wire-strung cláirseach: the historical harp of Ireland and the country’s national emblem.

“The early Irish harp, of which the Trinity College harp is the most famous example, is almost unknown in Ireland and rarely heard now”, said Ms. Armstrong.

“The demise of this harp around 1800 led to the invention of the modern gut- or nylon-strung Irish harp which is now ubiquitous but which bears no resemblance to the original Irish harp’, she added.

She said that the original Irish harp was famous not only in Ireland but also throughout Europe from the early Middle Ages for the beauty of its sound and for the skill of the Irish harpers who played it with their finger-nails.

Further details on the summer school, the tutors, lecturers and performers are available through contacting tel +353 (0)51 646286 or info@irishharpschool.com and can be seen on http://www.irishharpschool.com.

Downloadable photos are available at www.irishharpschool.com and at www.clarsach.net/Siobhan_Armstrong/portraits.htm