Who Knows Irish

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    unknown-user on #163015

    When I first started playing, my friend had a catalog of Irish harps available to order from Ireland, and there was a model or the company was called Brian Boru. These were the most beautiful, decorated Irish harps I have ever seen, but never seen one live. Does anyone remember these or know who the company was?

    unknown-user on #163016

    I don’t know Irish but… the harp you are thinking of is probably a replica of the Brian Boru harp or Trinity Harp. Here are a couple of links

    Original harp http://www.haverford.edu/engl/faculty/Sherman/Irish/harp.htm

    Recent Replica http://www.irishharp.org/shop/patton_trinity.htm

    I think Ann Heymann plays a Trinity on her “Harp of Gold” (gold wire strings that is) CD but I am not sure.

    Bonnie Shaljean on #163017

    How long ago was this, Saul? Any idea where in Ireland? If it was Belfast, it could have been a McFall harp. There were other makes from elsewhere, but that was the most ornate. This was years ago, however, and I don’t think McFalls are being made now. (Also they had hopeless semitone systems, and you would probably not like the thin-gauge nylon strings.) “Brian Boru” sounds like a model name rather than a brand name, but it’s a pretty popular one – a time perspective will help.

    Bonnie Shaljean on #163018

    Bear in mind that the ones Karin is referring to above will be wire-strung, and I don’t believe they were available that many years ago.

    Audrey Nickel on #163019

    I do know Irish, but I have no idea at all what that has to do with this question.


    Seoid OC on #163020

    As Karin says, it was probably a replica of the harp in Trinity – the Brian Boru harp.

    tony-morosco on #163021

    I know

    unknown-user on #163022

    This was in the year 1976, that I saw the catalog. It probably used Brian Boru as a model name. McFall strikes a chord, perhaps that was the company.

    Bonnie Shaljean on #163023

    It could have been a “Walton’s” harp – ? I write the name in quotes because Walton’s is actually a music shop in Dublin (still going) rather than harpmakers per se, and they handle a lot of other instruments, in addition to sheet music & accessories. Not sure who made the ones they sold in the 70s, or if they were even always by the same maker. I don’t remember theirs being particularly ornate, though. Walton’s may have sold McFalls in addition to the other ones, but I have a feeing that McFall was no longer manufacturing by the 70s. (I could be wrong, though.) These days they import Camacs, possibly Aoyamas too.

    With any small harps from this period, prepare yourself for the above complaints of unsatisfactory semitone blades and thin nylon strings. You’d certainly want to try one out before buying. If you’re interested in one for playing, you’re probably better off to get a more recent instrument. They have improved hugely in the intervening years.

    Bonnie Shaljean on #163024

    Quick clarification: I mention Walton’s because that got specified as a brand name even though, strictly speaking, they were sellers rather than makers. But that “Brian Boru” model rings a faint memory bell. I still think McFall is the most likely candidate –

    patricia-jaeger on #163025

    Ron Konzak made beautiful small carved harps patterned after the famous Brian Boru harp displayed at Trinity College in Dublin. Unlike the original, they had 25 nylon strings, and the string spacing of a classic concert harp. The dimensions were 31 inches high, and 12 inches wide. The tone was rich and long lasting.

    unknown-user on #163026

    Webster’s are similar, so I think it must have been McFall.

    mary-savard on #163027

    Hi Saul:

    catherine-rogers on #163028

    You need another d in that address or you’ll never get there. It’s http://www.harpanddragon.com

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