A Celebration of the Irish Harp coincides with the 60th anniversary of the Bunratty Castle Medieval Banquet and the recent launch of a new exhibition chartering the history, evolution, and popularity of one of Irelands oldest running evening entertainment shows.

The celebration is hosted in collaboration with Deirdre OBrien Vaughan, Director of the Irish Traditional Music Institute. The internationally renowned harpist, musician and music teacher has nurtured thousands of musicians over the last 30 years, toured and taught across the world, and has performed with Comhaltas Ceoltoir ireann, The Chieftains and Liam OFlynn.

The two-day celebration kicks off on Saturday September 2nd as sweet harp music fills the air at various locations throughout the 26-acre Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.

Author, historian and founding CEO of Shannon Heritage, Cian OCarroll officially opens the festival in the banquet hall at 1.00pm. Mr O’Connell, who worked closely with the late Dr Brendan O’Regan, will outline the importance of the Irish Harp in driving the era of innovation that sparked the inception of the Bunratty Castle Medieval Banquet 60 years ago.

Internationally celebrated harpists Aine Sheridan and Kim Fleming will be joined by an ensemble of young harpists for a recital in the Main Guard of Bunratty Castle at 2.00pm. ine, hailing from Miltown, Co Galway, has travelled the world playing the Irish Harp for international dignitaries and royalty while Kim is one of Irelands most respected harpers and enjoys a successful career as a musician, teacher and arranger of traditional Irish repertoire.

Recitals will take place from midday to 4.00pm at Ardcroney Church, which is located within the Folk having been moved brick by brick to Bunratty from County Tipperary in 1988.

On Sunday 3rd September, renowned harp maker restorer Gerard Donaghy hosts a talk on Harp Restoration and an exhibition on harp maintenance and care from 1.00pm to 2.00pm in the castle. Based in Ratheniska in County Laois, Gerard specialises in bespoke handcrafted Harps and Tenor Banjos.

Ardcroney Church once again hosts Harp Recitals from midday to 4.00pm while Dunguaire Castle’s resident harpist, Patty Gibbons presents From Dunmore to Bunratty A Dream Fulfilled at Bunratty Castle at 2.00pm. Inspired by the harp music of Bunratty which she attended as a child in 1967, Patty took up the instrument and 10 years later joined the Bunratty Castle Entertainers as a harpist.

The inaugural Harp Festival concludes on Sunday at 2.30pm with an ensemble of harpists from near and far performing an uplifting rendition of harp music in the unique and iconic surrounds of Bunratty Castle.

Visit www.bunrattycastle.ie for more on A Celebration of the Irish Harp at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, County Clare, on September 2nd to 3rd.