Bunratty Hosts Harp Celebration

A celebration of the harp and its special place in Irish folklore and culture takes place at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park in County Clare on September 2nd and 3rd next.

The inaugural two-day celebration features harpists and harp music experts from across Ireland with a series of exhibition, talks and performances marking the instrument’s unique position in the medieval banquet offering at Bunratty Castle.

‘A Celebration of the Irish Harp’ coincides with the 60th anniversary of the Bunratty Castle Medieval Banquet and the recent launch of a new exhibition chartering the history, evolution, and popularity of one of Ireland’s oldest running evening entertainment shows.

The celebration is hosted in collaboration with Deirdre O’Brien Vaughan, Director of the Irish Traditional Music Institute. The internationally renowned harpist, musician and music teacher has nurtured thousands of musicians over the last 30 years, toured and taught across the world, and has performed with Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Éireann, The Chieftains and Liam O’Flynn.

According to Ms. O’Brien Vaughan, “Ireland's heraldic emblem is the harp, and we are the only nation to have a musical instrument as our national emblem. Its use as the arms of Ireland goes back to medieval times when the instrument was played in banquet halls across the country and, most notably, at Bunratty Castle where its melodic sounds have had a presence over the centuries.”

Marie Brennan, Events Manager at Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, said:

“More than 3 million people have attended the banquets in Bunratty since the dramatic idea of a medieval meal in a 15th century Irish castle captured the imagination of travel agents, dignitaries, and celebrities worldwide in the 1960s. The Irish harp is the one musical instrument that people associate with this long-running event and, therefore, we are delighted to be able to celebrate its status as a symbol of Irish culture at the visitor attraction next week.”