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The harp I play can be best described as a generic 15th century Irish Harp. The soundbox is carved out of one solid piece of willow, the neck and fore-pillar are made of French cherry and the back panel of solid Swiss pine.

The harp has 34 strings, the top 22 strings are of solid brass and bronze wire. The lower strings are phosphor bronze wound guitar strings.

I built this harp in 1985. After having experimented over a period of 5 years with different designs, many different kinds of timber and string combinations, I found the medieval model, with its one-piece willow soundbox, still the best way to go about making this kind of instrument.

The design of the Harp is based on the "Brian Boru Harp" to which 4 extra strings are added in the bass register. The "Brian Boru Harp" or "Trinity College Harp" is the oldest surviving Irish Harp, c. 1400. There are several theories as to the origins of this harp but it isn't anywhere near old enough to have belonged to the famous High King.

As of April 2006 I have started to produce a limited number of instruments for people. If you are interested in a copy of a medieval harp or a custom made instrument you can put your name on the waiting list. An e-mail will be sent to you to let you know where you are in the Q and another when harps are about to be made if to see if you're still interested. I am also making some smaller harps with 20 and 24 strings. These harps will be available 'off the shelf' from the end of April 2006.

©pauldooley 2004
last updated 04/03/14