Harps Alive| An Chruit Bheo| Harps Leevin Festival 2024

Harps Alive| An Chruit Bheo| Harps Leevin Festival 2024 

An all-island celebration of Irish harping

More than 230 years on, harp music resounds…

Harpers and historians join forces in Belfast, Drogheda and Dublin to celebrate Irish harping. Cruit Éireann | Harp Ireland, working in partnership with Belfast-based Reclaim the Enlightenment, presents the Harps Alive | An Chruit Bheo | Harps Leevin Festival of harping in Belfast, on June 14th and 15th and in Drogheda and Dublin on 13th and 14th September 2024.  

Harps Alive (Harps Alive│An Chruit Bheo│Harps Leevin), now in its third year, is a cross border collaborative festival, which brings together the finest harpers from across the island to celebrate the iconic 1792 Belfast Harp Festival.  

Festival 2024 celebrates Ireland’s close harping connections with Scotland, the ancient repertoire preserved by 17th and 18th century Irish and Scottish harpers, and shows new directions for harping through a dynamic series of cross-community and cross-border harp events. This year’s programme includes two major harp concerts in Belfast and Drogheda and features a series of recitals, talks and workshops bringing a contemporary spotlight to bear on our living harp tradition.

Harps Alive | An Chruit Bheo | Harps Leevin festival opens in Belfast on Friday 14th June with a concert featuring harper Éadaoin Ní Mhaicín, Gráinne Hambly, William Jackson and the dynamic Scottish duo, Catriona McKay and Chris Stout. 

Moving south on Friday 13th  September, some 280 years after the Drogheda Irish Harp Society’s Grand Concert in 1844, we will revisit the story of the Drogheda Harp School and the music performed at this concert with Teresa O’Donnell, Deirdre Ní Bhuachalla & Gerry O’Connor, Cormac de Barra and the Music Generation Louth Ensemble.

Chair of Cruit Éireann | Harp Ireland Aibhlín McCrann, stated, ‘It is very satisfying to see our collaboration with our northern colleagues continuing to flourish, and to highlight the important role that the Belfast Harpers’ Assembly played in the safeguarding of the harpers’ music. Our work together  is a true partnership, epitomised by collegiality, enthusiasm and positivity”.

John Gray, Chair of Reclaim the Enlightenment considers this event to be “a major musical festival rooted in history. A celebration of the heritage of the harp and the contemporary revival of harp playing, it continues to create more awareness of the harp tradition with the public, inspire younger harpers and leave a lasting legacy”.

The success of last year’s Harps Alive festival has encouraged harpers and other musicians to further explore the music of the Irish harp. “We are looking forward to celebrating with and welcoming audiences across Belfast, Drogheda and Dublin this year”, said Lauren Ní Néill, Cruit Éireann|Harp Ireland’s CEO. “Our exciting line-up of harpers shows that the harping tradition in Ireland is vibrant, dynamic and constantly evolving. It is part of our living cultural heritage, and we are intent on safeguarding it for future generations.”.

Full programme of festival events is available here