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Photographer's Note

The Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin resembles an iconic Irish symbol… the harp

Cláirseach = Harp

The harp and Celtic harp music has been an important emblem of Irish nationalism since the 10th Century. King Griffith of Wales employed harpists in his court at the end of the 11th century. By the end of the 12th century, manuscript illustrations show harps with more advanced designs. The Irish were by then playing harps with brass, or bronze, strings.

Records from the 15th century show that both the terms "harp" and "clarsach" were in use at about the same time and seemed to have been a distinction between gut-strung European-style harps and wire-strung Gaelic clarsachs of Scotland and Ireland.

The earliest surviving harps from Scotland and Ireland date to about the 15th century. The Trinity College harp, one of Ireland's national treasures, is the harp from which the national symbol of Ireland is copied. The characteristic shape of an Irish Harp is familiar from Irish coins and bottles of Guiness Beer. Henry VIII of England had the Irish harp impressed on coins after obtaining control over Ireland. For centuries, the harp was an integral part of Irish life.

During English rule in Ireland playing of the harp as a folk and court instrument was suppressed to prevent a resurgence of nationalism. Harps were burnt and harpers executed.

By the late 18th century it was clear that traditional Irish harpers were practically non-existent . Harp music had always been handed down orally, very little of it has been preserved. The most important attempt to save the music was made in 1792. In order to encourage and preserve the old harping tradition, a festival was held in Belfast and newspaper advertisements invited all Irish harpers to come and play for cash prizes. Only ten harpers, ranging in age from fifteen to ninety seven, could be found.

Here is a larger version

A landscape view of the bridge can be seen Here

This photograph is copyright of Rosemary Walden - © Rosemary Walden 2013. All rights reserved. Any redistribution or reproduction of the image in any form is prohibited. You may not, except with my express written permission, copy, reproduce, download, distribute or exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Rosemary Walden (SnapRJW) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2497 W: 67 N: 5918] (26978)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2013-09-03
  • Categories: Architecture
  • Exposure: f/14.0, 1/200 seconds
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2013-10-29 0:46
Viewed: 614
Points: 58
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Additional Photos by Rosemary Walden (SnapRJW) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2497 W: 67 N: 5918] (26978)
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