The Ballinderry harp

Ballinderry fragments

Red / cyan goggles required for 3D viewing. Click to enlarge

Usually dated to the late 16th Century

On display at the National Museum of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin, Ireland.

"Large Low Headed" design;
36 strings

These metal fittings were said to have been found at a crannog, near Moat, King’s county, Ireland, in the 19th century. They consist of the metal cheek-straps, pierced for tuning pins, most of which are present, and a complex triangular mount for the bass end of the neck, and also metal reinforcements for the joint between the enck and pillar.

The metal fittings are displayed mounted on a mock-up of a harp. Although the metal fittings show the shape of the neck of the original harp, the shape and proportions of the pillar and soundbox are conjectural, and those shown in the museum display are almost certainly too big.

These fittings are of the highest quality and do not look heavily worn or used. Robert Evans discovered a fragment of a red brass wire string in one of the tuning pin stringholes.

Michael Billinge has recently written a detailed assesment of the provenance and design of these fittings: The Ballinderry Harp A Reassessment.


Simon Chadwick