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The Harp – The National Symbol Of Ireland

The musical Harp is Irelands national symbol to the credit of its cords which have echoed through generations of oppression which the Irish suffered and through its angelic melody which it directs. The Harp prepared the way for a rebellion against the English crown, it shaped the musical landscape of Ireland and produced thousands of great poetry writers and performers that Ireland has ever seen.

Medieval Ireland seen an immense eruption of Harp players who traveled and played country wide. Musicians composed beautiful music that they performed at huge events which were often played along with the reciting of poetry for guests. The host of events would often request that new music would be composed especially for the performance. The Harpists were extremely talented and evidence suggests that many of them were blind and taught how to play the instrument in order to make a living.

Irish society viewed Harpists in high regard and wealthy people employed them to play at their exclusive events or when they wanted to hear them at home. Harpists were well paid and often were wealthy individuals who traveled throughout Ireland playing for different families and events. Irish society eventually became flooded with Harpists and the prestige with which a Harpist was once held at was now declining. The art began to reduce and the dedicated Harp players were forced to live on the road looking for work to support themselves.

While the Harp was a dying talent, it was still seen as a huge source of pride and patriotism in Ireland. Because of its symbol of pride, it eventually became a symbol of resistance to the English crown – causing the English to completely ban the Harp in revolt to the Irish resistance. They had the Irish Harp destroyed across the country along with any musical writings they found. Harpists were executed and to this day, the Irish has not recovered much of the music which was destroyed by the English.

The oldest Harp in Ireland is believed to belong to Brian Buro. It can be seen in Trinity College in Dublin. Only fourteen Harps survived from that time period in total.

The Harp is now seen in Ireland as a sign of patriotism and is on official government documentation as well as many huge Irish brands including Guinness and Ryan air.

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Claddagh Jewellers – The Celtic Jewellery Specialists.