Patrick Byrne part 3: 1837-1840

In Part 1, I wrote about Patrick Byrne’s early years and education. Then in Part 2, we looked at his early career, working for patrons in Ireland and England.

By the summer of 1837, Patrick Byrne was approximately 40 years old; he had made a lot of contacts amongst the English and Irish aristocracy, and he had proved himself by his regular job at the rather high-class Royal Hotel in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England.

We will continue the story on Wednesday 18th October 1837, when Patrick Byrne left Leamington Spa and began the journey North to Edinburgh.

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Playing the harp for Nathaniel Gow

“Nathaniel Gow’s Dance Band Concert” last night at the Edinburgh Assembly rooms was far, far more exciting, beautiful and moving than I had expected. The venue was just stunning, the band was amazing, the dancers were elegant and alluring, the programming was just perfect and the audience was almost full and really engaged with the entire project.

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Nathaniel Gow’s annual ball, 1817

On Friday 20th January, I will be in the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh, playing as part of a bicentenary concert. Nathaniel Gow introduced Quadrille dances to Edinburgh in 1817, at his annual ball at the Assembly Rooms, and this year Talitha MacKenzie has organised a series of events commemorating this. The main event will be a Regency ball on Saturday 11th March, but there will also be dance workshops and the concert on 20th Jan.

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Restoration of the Brian Boru harp

On Thursday I was at the National Museum of Scotland store in Granton, a suburb north of Edinburgh. I went there with Karen Loomis, to look at the plaster-cast of the Trinity College harp which is kept in the store. We had a very productive hour, inspecting, measuring and photographing the cast, and discussing aspects of the cast and how it related to the real thing in the Long Room at Trinity College, and to later illustrations and depictions of the harp.

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Margaret 1281 concert at Northern Streams

On Friday 24th April is the first big public outing of the replica Queen Mary harp after it has been seriously reworked inside by Natalie Surina of Ériú Harps. I am going to present my “Margaret 1281” programme of storytelling, song, harp music and bowed-lyre tunes, as part of the annual Northern Streams festival in Edinburgh.

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Indyref poster competition

Last night Ealasaid and I were in Edinburgh for the exhibition and announcement of the winners of the poster competition organised by Bella Caledonia with other groups.

We had a great time looking at and discussing all of the entries. Of course, my entry did not win – far too oddball I think!

I got a copy of the winning poster, signed by the artist Ciaran Murphy

You can also see the shortlist of 20 designs, including mine. I think they are all excellent!

Thanks to Karen Loomis for this nice photo!