Patrick Byrne part 1: 1790s to 1822

Patrick Byrne is perhaps the best-known of the 19th century Irish harpers. We have a huge amount of information about him, too much for a single post. So I thought I would deal with sections of his life in turn. This first post in a series on Patrick Byrne will gather together all the information I can find about his birth, his family, his place, his early years, and his education up to the point where he was discharged from the harp school with his certificate and harp.

Continue reading Patrick Byrne part 1: 1790s to 1822

Harp Society House, Talbot Street, Belfast

I have already written about the Irish Harp Society running its harp school from a house in Cromac Street for 18 years, from 1820 through to about the end of 1838.

At around the end of 1838 the harp school was moved to a new premises in Talbot Street, where it ran for over a year, until some time in 1840 when it appears to have shut for good.

This post is to try and work out where on Talbot Street the Harp Society House was, and whether we can say anything useful about it.

Continue reading Harp Society House, Talbot Street, Belfast

Harp Society House, Cromac Street, Belfast

The Irish Harp Society in Belfast was based at a few different addresses from the beginning of the first Harp School in 1808 until the finish of the second Harp School in 1840. I have references to the Harp Society House being in three different Belfast streets at different dates: Pottinger’s Entry, Cromac Street, and Talbot Street.

This post is to collate as many references as I can, to try and work out where the house in Cromac Street was.

Continue reading Harp Society House, Cromac Street, Belfast

Valentine Rennie

Valentine Rennie was a traditional Irish harper and tradition-bearer in the first half of the 19th century. He taught the harp in Belfast for fifteen years, passing on the inherited tradition to perhaps twenty or more young harpers in the next generation. We have loads of information about him including two different portraits (header image courtesy of National Museums NI)

In this post I am going to try and cover everything so it will be very long. We will start by going through his life in order, and then after that we will look at things like his harps and his portaits.

Continue reading Valentine Rennie