Pewter Irish Harp Brooch Made in USA
1 1/4" (32 mm) High x 1 1/4" (32 mm) Wide
History of the Irish Harp
Clàrsach is the Gaelic word for 'a harp'. In English, the word is used to refer specifically to a variety of small Irish and Scottish harps. The Irish are generally credited with bringing the harp to Europe and is now the national symbol of Ireland. It is believed by some scholars that the harp was actually brought to Europe from Egypt by the Phoenicians in pre-Christian times as a trade good. The harp and Celtic harp music have been important emblems of Irish nationalism since the 10th Century. King Griffith of Wales employed harpists in his court at the end of the 11th century. 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. Traveling harpists in Ireland were known to be at the focal point of rebellions - so much so that the harp was banned. During the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth I issued a proclamation to hang Irish harpists and destroy their instruments to prevent insurrection. By the late 18th century it was clear that traditional Irish harpers were nearly extinct until a festival was held in Belfast in 1792 to preserve the old harping tradition.