About this Piece
Large hanging bardic harp sculpture, based on the famous Irish icon and crafted from 5000 year old Irish turf. Made with history so you can bring home a little piece of Ireland!
History of the Celtic Harp
The cláirseach, or harp, is the national emblem of Ireland, appearing on flags, passports, and currency. It was an instrument of the elite in Ireland and Scotland, requiring years of practice to master, with strings made of metal that had to be constantly dampened due to their long resonance. Though it may have existed as far back as the 11th Century, its position as a symbol of Ireland and Celtic culture earned it the enmity of the English authorities in the late medieval period, who eventually banned it entirely - only a handful of harps from before this period have survived to this day. However in recent years the harp has had a cultural revival (with new musicians typically favoring small models), both as an instrument as as a symbol of Irish identity.
About the Maker
Island Turf Crafts creates stunning ornaments and jewelry carved from excavated Irish turf (also known as peat), a natural resource found mainly in the West of Ireland. Up until the last few decades, turf was commonly dug out of peat bogs and used as fuel, though if you're lucky you may still catch a smell of it burning in the hearths of traditional Irish pubs, providing a cozy buffer against the cold elements outside.
In rural areas of Ireland the past, each summer entire families and communities (even the children and elderly) would gather at the bogs with their spades to collectively dig up the turf, a laborious but crucial task which provided fuel for the gruelling winters. Though turf is no longer a primary source of fuel in Ireland today, many recall fondly the warmth and comfort it provided when burned in a fireplace, as well as the distinctive smell which never fails to trigger fond memories of roaring fires in traditional Irish cottages and pubs.