The National Symbol of Ireland
The Irish Harp is the national symbol of Ireland. The traditional instrument is featured on Irish coins, the Presidential Seal, the Irish passport and the Irish coat of arms. Scholars have found that the Irish harp’s popularity with the Irish people dates back to the 1500’s. However the Irish Harp can only be considered the national symbol of Ireland when it’s in ‘left facing’ form.
Only a left facing harp is the registered symbol of Ireland, why is that you ask? Blame that beloved Irish beverage company Guinness. In 1922, when Irish officials tried to register the harp as the national trademark, they were advised it could only register the rights to a left facing harp because Guinness had already registered a right facing harp as the Guinness mark and had been trading under it since 1862!
The Celtic Harp
The Celtic harp is a wire strung instrument with a triangular frame. The Celtic harp also known as the Irish Harp is traditional to Ireland and Scotland. It is known as cláirseach in Irish Gaelic and clàrsach in Scottish Gaelic. The Celtic harp is an ancient instrument associated with the ruling class and required skill and much practice to play.
The Royal Harp for for an Irish King
Ireland’s national emblem is actually based on the Brian Boru Harp. Irish legend says Brian Boru played the harp the night before the Battle of Clontarf. This Irish harp is also known as the Trinity Harp, and is on display in Trinity College Dublin’s Long Room. You know the place. Its the beautifully dramatic old library of Trinity College that holds a collection of 200,000 the oldest books with the gorgeous barrel ceiling used in numerous movie scenes.