Simon Chadwick’s
Early Gaelic Harp Emporium

DVDs by David Shaw-Smith


Hands no. 15 - Harp Making
David Shaw-Smith / RTÉ, 1989
This 26 minute film was made as part of a long-running series on Irish TV. Each programme visits a traditional craftsman at their workshop. In this film, we are taken to Kenmare, Co. Kerry, to visit Peter Kilroy, his wife Corry and three children. The film follows Peter as he selects and fells a willow tree for the soundbox, right through to the stringing and tuning of the completed instrument. We also see Peter locating an ancient bog pine tree deep in the peat, to use for the back board, and we see film of his children helping out by cutting the mortice and tenon joints and filing and drilling the brass metalwork. There is also a little background information on the history of the Irish harp, and on Peter and Corry's Ogham theories, though inevitably in less than half an hour all of these areas are just briefly touched upon. The soundtrack of the film is pretty good early Irish harp playing by Corry Kilroy and also Paul Dooley. The filming is superb and very atmospheric, so that though we don't have enough time to see all of the detailed technical proesses and subtelties, we get a vivid and humane impression of a personality at work - by the end of the film you feel that you really know the Kilroys and their lives and work. Highly recommended.
£20 +