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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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 –
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.
saw these on ebay and it made me think of this post…
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