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The Dalway Harp, wire–strung Clarsach

Photograph from The Irish and Highland Harps
by Robert Bruce Armstrong
The missing portion of the pillar and a probable box supplied by R.B.A.

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The Dalway Harp or
FitzGerald Harp

Also known as the The Cloyne Harp, or
The Ballymaloe Harp, or John FitzEdmund FitzGerald’s Harp

Feature Detail
Date 1621
String Count 52. There were 45 tuning pins in a single row with an additional 7 pins placed above these at about the centre of the range.
Height Since the soundbox is lost an accurate figure can not be given, but the remaining fragments would indicate a height in the region of 125 cm. (49 inches)
Soundbox Unknown but likely to have been hollowed out from a single block and quite wide, perhaps around 45 cm. (18 inches)
Current Location The National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, Dublin.

This harp was made for John FitzEdmund FitzGerald of Ballymaloe, near Cloyne, County Cork. Note that this is not now a complete instrument. The soundbox has been missing for over two hundred years. In the illustration of the entire harp found on this page, the soundbox represented is a “probable box” by Robert Bruce Armstrong.

For nearly two hundred years this harp was generally referred to as The Dalway Harp, or The Dalway Harp fragments, because of their long previous ownership by the Dalway family of County Antrim. However, in the early 1990’s the National Museum of Ireland starting calling it The Cloyne Harp, and today both names may be met with.

For Robert Bruce Armstrong’s account of this harp, see The Irish and Highland Harps pages 65 through 70. Be sure to view the photograph on the un–numbered page facing page 65. These pages contain photographs and drawings, detailed descriptions, measurements and observations on this harp.

A comprehensive examination of this harp was published in May 1987 by Michael Billinge and Bonnie Shaljean in the Journal Early Music volume XV number 2, entitled The Dalway or Fitzgerald harp (pages 175–187).

Dalway front of fore-pillar

The front of the fore–pillar, image from The Irish and Highland Harps by R.B.A.

Dalway right side harmonic curve

Image of the side of the harmonic curve, from The Irish and Highland Harps by R.B.A.

Dalway side of fore-pillar

Image of the side of the fore–pillar, from The Irish and Highland Harps by R.B.A.