Achill International Harp Festival Starts Today

Richard Allen

Achill International Harp Festival Starts Today

Three-day online festival features concerts, workshops, children's storytelling, talks, a virtual walk across Achill Island and a film screening.

The Achill International Harp Festival is taking place online this year and runs from Friday 23 October to Sunday 25 October.

The festival opens on Friday with an 8pm concert streamed online and featuring new traditional group Siar, harpers Cormac De Barra and Anne-Marie O’Farrell, and accordion-player Dermot Byrne with guitarist Steve Cooney.

On Saturday morning at 10am, harper Úna Ní Fhlannagaín will host a bilingual storytelling session for children with the story of ‘Labhraí Loingseach – The King With the Donkey’s Ears’. There will also be online harp-playing workshops with Sineád Healy, Laoise Kelly, Alannah Thornburg and Richard Allen in the morning. All workshops are ticketed.

Harp Ireland/Cruit Éireann will be hosting a meeting online at 12pm, and, at 2pm, William Jackson will give a lecture titled ‘Using the Small Harp in Music Therapy’. The evening concert at 8pm will feature the Healys traditional music group from Castlebar, harper Eilís Lavelle and singer-songwriter Niall Hanna, and harper and comedienne Ursula Burns who reached the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent last year.

On Sunday morning there are harp workshops with Eilís Lavelle, Ursula Burns, Anne-Marie O’Farrell, Laoise Kelly and Gráinne Hambly. A virtual walk at 2pm will see Tomás Mc Loughlin bring viewers on a journey across the Achill landscape. Mary-Jo O’Keeffe will provide an historical perspective. The film The Making of an Achill Harp will be screamed at 4.30pm, and at 8pm the final concert will feature the folk trio of Alfi, classical harper Richard Allen, and TG4 Traditional Music of the Year Laoise Kelly. This final concert will be streamed on TG4 and Molscéal also.

The concerts are free to view. Tickets for harp workshops cost €15. There is a special offer of €65 to attend all nine workshops. To purchase tickets, see here. For more on the programme, visit

Published on 23 October 2020

comments powered by Disqus