The Clonalis House Harp

or The O’Conor/Carolan Harp

The Clonalis House Harp

Carolan’s Harp, Clonalis House, Castlerea, Co. Roscommon.
Photographs courtesy of Fáilte Ireland photographic section. Used by permission.

Feature Detail
Date Probably 18thcentury
String Count 36
Height unknown
Soundbox Made–up box
Current Location Clonalis House

This harp is privately owned by the Ó Conor Family, as it has been for generations.

Please scroll down to see close–up details on this harp. All photographs are provided courtesy of Fáilte Ireland and are used by their kind permission.

There is a tradition in the Ó Conor family that this harp was at one time owned and played by the famous harper Turlough Ó Carolan, and the claim that he may have played this instrument cannot necessarily be dismissed. Although it is tempting to look at this harp and assign it as belonging to the period after Carolan’s death (1738), there is not enough comparative data to accurately date these instruments judging them by constructional styles alone, and automatic assumptions should not be made.

The Ó Conor family were certainly among Carolan’s greatest patrons and friends, and during his life he paid many visits to their home, spending much time there. It is therefore not suprising that we should find amongst the great harper’s compositions many fine tunes dedicated to the Ó Conors, e.g. Denis Ó Conor, Mrs. Ó Conor, Charles Ó Conor. For more information on the history of the Ó Conor’s and Clonalis house please visit the Clonalis history page on their website.

Clonalis Harp detail head Clonalis Harp detail soundbox hole Clonalis Harp detail soundbox
Detail of arm/curve joining Close photograph
of a soundbox hole
Joining of pillar and soundbox