The Belfast Society Harp belonging to Robert Bruce Armstrong

Belfast Society Harp played by Robert Bruce Armstrong

Robert Bruce Armstrong playing his Belfast Society Harp

Feature Detail
Date First half of the 19th century
String Count 37
Height 155 cm (61 inches)
Soundbox Constructed with a round back and cross-grained (softwood) soundboard. Width 39 cm. (15½ inches)
Current Location This and similar instruments to be found at The National Museum of Ireland, and in various other collections.
Patrick Byrne, a blind Irish harper dressed as a druid

Patrick Byrne, "A blind Irish harper" playing his Egan–made Belfast Society Harp. Please click on image to see larger version

For Robert Bruce Armstrong’s account of this harp, see The Irish and Highland Harps pages 105 through 107. See also page 52 and supplemental section after page 136.

There were several of these instruments made by John Egan of Dublin and his nephew Francis Hewson. They were not absolutely identical; the one described here was the one that was owned by Robert Bruce Armstrong. This was a similar harp to the one that was extensively played by Patrick Byrne.

For more information on Patrick Byrne the harper, please follow this link.