'A vital part of the preservation and promotion of traditional music': Irish Harp Now Part of Instrument-Making Course
Na Píobairí Uilleann (NPU), the association of Irish uilleann pipers, has announced that the Irish harp is to be added to the instrument-making strand of the traditional music programme at Ballyfermot College of Further Education.
NPU has had a pipe-making training facility in Clonshaugh in Dublin as part of Ballyfermot College’s National Higher Diploma in Traditional Music Performance Programme (Ceoltóir) since 2011. The facility, called PipeCraft, was set up to train students in the craft of uilleann pipe making in order to meet the global demand for the instrument. The course also offers training in the making of flutes and whistles.
The Irish harp has seen considerable growth in popularity in recent years and last year was inscribed on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, just as the uilleann pipes were in 2017. Harp Ireland, the umbrella body was established in 2016, has welcomed the inclusion of the instrument on the course.
The Level 6 programme in Musical Instrument Making and Performance is a two-year course and will commence at the beginning of the academic year in September in accordance with all Covid-19 safety protocols. Mandolin and mandola have also been added to the course.
Commenting on the inclusion of the new instruments, NPU Chief Executive Gay McKeon said:
Expanding the cohort of skilled instrument makers in Ireland is a vital part of the preservation and promotion of traditional music and we’re delighted that Na Píobairí Uilleann’s facility in north Dublin is able to play a pivotal role in that objective.
In partnership with Ballyfermot College of Further Education, we have framed these new additional courses in harp, mandolin and mandola making in an accredited module which will help provide a career pathway for participants who have ambition to develop the specialised craft of instrument making.
NPU says that the establishment of Ireland as centre for the manufacture of uilleann pipes, flutes, whistles, harps, mandolins and mandolas will create new employment and an increase in cultural tourism. 150 students have so far received training on the course.
For information on applying, visit www.bcfe.ie.