Last week was Scoil na gCláirseach in Kilkenny.
I found a shellac 78 disc of Irish harp played by Treasa Ní Chormaic. I don’t know the date of this disc.
I have transferred both sides onto mp3 for you, using a modern turntable.
As I played through some of his settings of Carolan and other baroque Irish harp music, using a copy of an 18th century Irish harp, I started thinking about the whole issue of playing the harp with long fingernails.
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.
On Saturday I was driving south towards Dublin when we spotted the road sign turning to Monasterboice. I zoomed off the motorway and we stopped to look at the amazing high crosses there. I was especially pleased to get a good stereo pair of the carvings on the Cross of Muiredeach.
Bha mi anns Uachtar Ard an dè airson an éiclips. Bha e latha gu math. I enjoyed seeing the eclipse and we had fantastic viewing weather all through the maximum, with clouds suddenly covering the sky about 3/4 of the way through.
Yesterday I passed through Granard, and stopped for a very touristy photo-opportunity at the Market House, where the Granard Balls were held in the 1780s, which gathered together the last of the old Irish harpers.
I am looking forward to the eclipse a week today!
As part of a big push to re-do my stringing paper at earlygaelicharp.info, I was searching for the reference to the tiompán with strings of “ór dearg” (red gold), which Ann Heymann refers to in her article Strings of Gold.
I was pleased when I finally tracked it down, to find that the person holding the instrument is Aonghus, son of Boann and the Dagda, who lived in Newgrange, at Brú na Bóinne. This is the same Aonghus an Bhroga referred to in the praise poem to Aonghas Òig, Rì Innse Gall, which I was working on last year.
I was reading the descriptions of people’s appearance in Togail Bruidne Dá Derga (The destruction of Daderga’s hostel), an early medieval Irish story from the Ulster Cycle, when I was interested to note these quite vivid descriptions of people at the court of the Irish High King, Conaire Mór mac Eterscél, who is said to have reigned in the first century BC or AD.