Historical Harp Society of Ireland

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Scoil na gCláirseach 2008

The Historical Harp Society of Ireland announces the sixth

Scoil na gCláirseach–Summer School of Early Irish Harp

Kilkenny, Ireland

20th-26th August 2008

We look forward to welcoming old and new friends. Come and join international participants from the USA to Europe to Japan, to immerse yourself in the Gaelic world's ancient and exquisite historical harp with intensive tuition, lectures, informal talks, concerts and a field trip to museums to see surviving instruments.

The Scoil extends a particularly warm welcome to absolute beginners. Harpists who don’t yet play early Irish harps but who are interested in historical playing techniques and repertoire are also very welcome to attend.

There will be a limited number of historical Irish harps available to rent on a first-come, first-served basis. Our rental instruments, made for us by master luthier, David Kortier, are accurately copied from surviving historic harps and are fitted with brass and sterling silver strings. Scoil na gCláirseach caters for all levels, from raw beginners to advanced and professional players.

In accordance with our usual policy, we will have a dedicated Beginners class in addition to Post-beginner / Intermediate and Advanced levels. We will also have our usual tasty menu of lectures and talks given by staff and guest scholars (incorporating our unique two-tier lecture system, with parallel streams both for beginner to intermediate level and also for very advanced students), in-house and public concerts and a trip to see many of the surviving instruments held in Irish collections.

This years faculty includes old Scoil friends

Siobhán Armstrong (Ireland) Director,

One of Europe's leading historical harpists

Simon Chadwick (UK) Assistant Director

Organologist and founder of earlygaelicharp.info

Ann Heymann (USA)

The world pioneer of the modern revival of early Irish harp

Seán Donnelly (Ireland)


Keith Sanger (Scotland)

The latter two scholars are the respective leaders in the field of early Gaelic harp research in Ireland and Scotland.

In addition, we are delighted to announce that

Andrew Lawrence-King (Guernsey),

the world's foremost historical harper, will be joining the faculty for the first time as a tutor and performer.

Our other Scoil debut guest lecturers are

Mary O'Donnell (Ireland)

A University of Limerick doctoral student who is researching 19th Irish harp history


Jim Hunter (N. Ireland)

Author of several publications on Irish harpers such as O'Hampsey and O Cathain, among other musical subjects.

For more information and to download an application form, please visit http://www.irishharpschool.com We need to receive your completed application form and deposit by 20th June to confirm your place. EARLY BOOKING BONUS: Deposits paid on or before 20th April entitle the participant to a Euro 25 discount on the balance of the Scoil fees. If you would like a printed version of the Scoil brochure and application form, please let us know.

N.B. Kilkenny is a busy tourist destination in August; if you are planning to come, do get in touch as early as possible so that we can help you to find reasonably priced accommodation.

Beginners' Workshop for Early Irish Harp at Galway Early Music Festival

On Saturday 17th of May, the HHSI collaborated with Galway Early Music, to provide a Beginners' Taster Workshop for Early Irish Harp at Galway Civic Museum, as part of the Galway Early Music Festival, 2008. This highly regarded early music festival is at the forefront of bringing historically informed concert performances to Ireland, so the HHSI was delighted to accept the invitation to present Ireland's historical harp to a new audience with the help of a short illustrated lecture and a 'hands on' workshop.

The workshop, conducted by the HHSI's Western Harp Circle, attracted an extensive audience of over 30 people not only from Ireland but also from other parts of the world including France, Germany and Japan. The participants learned about the history of the early Irish harp from Maura O Cróinín (early Irish harpist and Galway Early Music chair), about harp construction from Natalie Surina (apprentice to Paul Doyle - Galway harpmaker). Then, with the help of Sylvia Crawford (early Irish harp player and music teacher), fifteen lucky participants had a unique chance to try their hands on the HHSI Student Trinity College and Downhill harps as well as on a new Trinity College harp copy built in Paul Doyle's workshop just three months before.

Prior to the workshop, audiences at Galway Early Music Festival had a unique chance to hear the sound of Ireland's historical harp as well as a continental Renaissance harp at a concert in the Poor Clares closed order chapel on Friday 16th May, performed by historical harpist and Scoil na gCláirseach 2007 tutor, Javier Sáinz.

The HHSI would like to thank Galway Early Music, Brenda Malloy, Western Harp Circle, Eibhlin Ní Hír, Catherine and Mimi La Farge and all the participants for supporting and collaborating in this event.

Photos - courtesy of Peter Walsh.