Museum Visit

9 Oct

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As I explored the National Museum of Ireland I tried to find an object I could personally relate to. I meandered through the many exhibits until I saw something that I knew meant a lot to Ireland and me. It was a harp mount. While this harp mount was reconstructed, the harp, in general, was a significant part of Irish history. I loved this artefact, because I play piano and I sing. I thought this harp would be the perfect item for me to talk about in this blog, because it is a love Ireland and I share. The harp mounting is a wooden mount. While there were no strings in the harp, they were usually made of metal. It has a triangular shape, with a rounded top. It has thirty-six tuning pegs, and next to the mount were some of the copper alloy harp pegs.

Harps played a significant role in Irish history. They were a Celtic instrument that has been played and cherished for many centuries. Music and dance have always been a large part of Irish culture. The reconstructed harp in the National Museum was most likely based off of a fifteenth century Celtic Harp. These harps were popular not only in Ireland, but also in Scotland and England. Harps of this size were very expensive, and probably owned by elite Irish families. Harps were a large part of court life, and many lords had people on staff to just play the harp. Others noblemen would play the harp themselves. Harp music was often accompanied by poetry in these lords’ homes. The harp in the National Museum was surrounded by other items higher class families used in Medieval Ireland. I did not see another harp or musical instrument in the exhibit, and that just reiterated how important this one instrument was to Medieval Ireland. It was the central focus of elite social gatherings. The harp was also almost used on the Irish flag, because of the reverence the harp has in Ireland. The harp has also been associated with Christianity and heaven. These aspects of the harp and the beauty of the music gave it great importance in Irish history.

September 18, 2013

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