"I recently had the good fortune to visit Ireland, the old country of some of my ancestors, and, like any good cultural historical tourist, I visited the Trinity College Library. They're famous for a collection of old and rare books. While most of Europe was soaking in the Dark Ages, Celtic monks kept learning alive and paginated. I walked though the dim rooms, viewing the Book of Kells and other illuminated incunabula.
Then, I emerged as from a dark wood to view that willow instrument to familiar from teh cans of Guinness stout. The Trinity College harp was enclosed in glass, as sensitive to heat, moisture, and light as the manuscripts. It is stringless now and stouter than any beer, in delicate appearance, even for a clársach. I don't know when it was last actually played, but I imagine it has a bit of that clangy resonance I love so dearly.
The Trinity College harp was claimed to have belonged to 11th century Irish king Brian Boru, although it more likely dates to the 15th century. Still, it is one of only three surviving medieval Gaelic harps, and the only one in Ireland. It outlasted other contemporary or earlier instruments and became the national symbol of Ireland.
While we were visiting Dublin, my mom got a tattoo of the harp:
Special thanks to guest blogger Jason Hall, author and Brand Manager for Budget Rent a Car (Brisbane, AU). He enjoys traveling immensely, as well as sharing his travels with others.
Would you like to share your love of Celtic culture, Celtic music, and Celtic harps? I'm always happy to feature guest bloggers. Contact me through the email address on my website at CelticHarpMusic.com to submit your article.