James O’Neil was a traditional Irish harper in the early 19th century. We have only two sources which mention him. But we can join these two and try to find the context for them, to start to tell his story.Continue reading James O’Neil
Tag: Irish Harp Society
Samuel Patrick was said to be a “bad harper” and arsonist. He had a long career working as a traditional Irish harper in Belfast and Dublin, including performing for Queen Victoria’s son, Prince Arthur. This post draws together what I know about him so far.Continue reading Samuel Patrick
Martin Craney (or Crenny) was a traditional Irish harper in the early 19th century. He toured in England and the Isle of Man; he went into Connacht trying to follow in the footsteps of Carolan; and he played concerts in the south-west. This post gathers information about him.Continue reading Martin Craney
Edward McBride was a traditional Irish harper in the early 19th century. He played for the King in Dublin, and he taught the harp in Belfast. This post gathers information about him.Continue reading Edward McBride
Patrick Murney was a blind traditional Irish harper living in Belfast in the 19th century. We have portraits of him and we have traditionary information from him. This post gathers together what I have found so far about him.
(Header image courtesy of National Museums NI)Continue reading Patrick Murney
Patrick McCloskey (or McClusky) was a blind Irish harper who died very young.Continue reading Patrick McCloskey
Hugh Fraser (or Frazer) is an Irish harper whose name appears quite often, because he taught the harp in Drogheda in the 1840s. This post is to draw together other references to him, to try and build more of a picture of him and his life.Continue reading Hugh Frazer
I don’t know very much about Bridget O’Reilly, but I thought it might be useful to start gathering references to her. There are also a few references to un-named female harpers which might possibly be her. Hopefully in time we will find more detailed references which will allow us to tell more of her story.Continue reading Bridget O’Reilly
“…George Jackson when he was stringing my Harp…”
In the early 1900s, the Belfast carpenter William Savage and his younger brother Robert made a very decorative copy of the medieval Brian Boru (Trinity College) harp. When the harp was finished, brass wire strings were fitted by George Jackson.
George Jackson had learned harp from Patrick Murney, in a lineage going back to the 18th century Irish harpers. I recently started to wonder if some of Jackson’s strings might still be on the harp.Continue reading “…George Jackson when he was stringing my Harp…”
Irish Harpers particularly from Belfast
File AI.80.019 in the NMI archive contains papers associated with a harp (NMI DF:1980.6) which is said to have originally belonged to Valentine Rainey, master of the Belfast Harp Society school in the early 19th century. The file includes letters relating to the purchase of the harp, as well as photocopies of a selection of other documents which may have come with the harp; there are some pages from Charlotte Milligan Fox’s book, Annals of the Irish harpers (1911), a photo of the harp with some information about its provenance, and a couple of handwritten pages of information about harpers.
There is no other information about these handwritten pages; all we have is the photocopies themselves. One is obviously a quick draft version, and the second a neater and slightly fuller version. The handwriting is difficult to read. This is my transcription of the two sheets.Continue reading Irish Harpers particularly from Belfast