Grattan Flood - A History of Irish Music, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 40

Grattan Flood - A History of Irish Music, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 40
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periodical Publisher
Browne and Nolan Ltd, Dublin 1913
periodical Editor
periodical Title
Grattan Flood - A History of Irish Music
volume Number
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64HISTORY or IRISH MUSIC.Meantime, Donnchadh Cairbre OBriain, King ofThomond, seni his own harp_ the jewel of theOBriens as a pledge, to Scotland (for the ransom orreturn of the bard ODaly), where it remained for over8o years. Thus, we can accurately trace the history ofa rare harp of the OBrien sept, sent to Scotland, aboutthe year 1221, as a forfeit, by the valiant King ofThomond, whose death took place on March 8th, 1243.About the year 1229, Gillabrjde Mac Conmidhe [ MacConniee, Mac Namee, or Conineej, a famous Ulsterbard, was commissioned by King OBrien to endeavourto ransom the much-prized harp. In response to thisrequest Mac Conmidhe_also known by the soubriquetof AThan cjg on account of his many visits to Scotland_Composed the well-known Ransom song, in commemoratjon of his playing on its chords for the lasttime. At that time, the power of a bard was very great,and even a song fetched a high price; but, alas! thelovely harp of the OBriens-_the so.called harp of BrianBorn__would not be restored for whole flocks ofsheep, and so, as OCurry considers, it remained inScotland until Edward I. took it with him to West-minster. Finally, on July 1st, 543k when Henry VIII.created Ulick Mac William de Burgo Earl of Clan-rickarde, he present j the Earl with this Irish harp,which had belonged to Donnchadh Cairbre QBriain.Vallancey says that this harp, having reverted to theEarl of Thomond, was purchased by Lady Huxley, fortwenty rams and as many swine of English breed,and bestowed by her to her son-in-law, Henry MacMahon, of Clenagh, County Clare,* who about the year The husband of Lady Elizabeth de Burgh.IRISH MUSIC IN THE MIDDLE AGES.1736, bestowed it On Mat MacNamara of Limerick,Esq., Counsellor-at-Law, and some years Recorder ofthat city. In the year 1760, Arthur ONeill, the greatharpist, played on this venerable instrument, newlystrung for the occasion, through the streets of Limerick.It was bequeathed by Mr. MacNamara in. 1778 to RalphOuseley, Esq., of Limerick, who, in 1781, presented itto the Right Hon. Colonel Conyngham, and, at length,in 1782, Conyngham donated it to Trinity College,Dubljn.*The following is Petries description of the OBrienharpFrom recent examination, it appears that this harphad but one row of strings; that these were 30 in num-ber, not 28, as was formerly supposed, 30 being thenumber of brass tuning pins and of corresponding stringholes. It is 32 inches high, and of exquisite workman-ship; the upright pillar is of oak, and the sound boardof red sallow; the extremity of the fore-arm, or har.monjc curved bar, is capped in part with silver, ex-tremely well wrought and chiselled. It also contains alarge crystal set in silver, under which was another stone,now lost. The buttons or ornamental knobs at the sideof the curved bar are of silver. The string holes of thesound board are neatly ornamented with escutcheons ofbrass carved and gilt. The four sounding holes havealso had ornaments, probably of silver, as they havebeen the object of theft.t The bottom which it rests uponis a little broken and the wood very much decayed.The whole bears evidence of having been the work ofa very expert artist.There is a remarkable entry in connection with theyear X225 in the Annals of Lough Ce, amply demonstratEgerton MSS.. No.t In z876 one of th.. orname was found in the Phcenjx Park.(See 7oeri.aj R.&A., for Octob.r,1$ 7 8.)p
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Grattan Flood, Wm. H.
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Grattan Flood - A History of Irish Music

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