Belfast Historian, Co Meath Harper and Limavady Genealogist at Harps Alive Festival

Belfast historian Mark Doherty, Co Meath harper Ciara Taaffe and Limavady genealogist Fiona Pegrum all took to the stage at the First Presbyterian Church on Rosemary Street, Belfast for the 2022 Harps Alive│An Chruit Bheo│Harps Leevin festival event Denis Hempson, the Harper and his Legacy.

Throughout July there will be over 50 musicians (mostly harpers) and speakers taking part in the festival.

The festival, which launched last night (FRIDAY) at the Linen Hall library will see musicians hailing from cities and counties across Ireland, north and south, including Dublin, Antrim, Armagh, Donegal, Portstewart, Ballymoney, Limerick and Galway and coming in from the UK.

Dozens of Ireland’s finest harpers and musicians have arrived in Belfast this weekend to perform at the main festival weekend.

The 2022 Harps Alive│An Chruit Bheo│Harps Leevin festival will bring together harpers, musicians and historians from throughout the island in celebration of the 230th anniversary of the landmark Harpers’ Assembly in Belfast in 1792, while also serving as a recognition of the renowned works of organist and collector Edward Bunting.

Having already opened with events in Magilligan and Mussenden Temple last weekend, the festival represents five days filled with music, history and heritage. The majority of the festival takes place across a number of sites in Belfast this weekend concluding in Dublin on July 24.

The festival marks the 230th anniversary of the Harpers’ Assembly in Belfast in 1792. Back then, the event brought together 11 harpers, six of whom were blind and the eldest, Denis Hempson from Derry (1695 -1807), was 97. One of the greatest Irish traditional harpers, Hempson was the only one to use the ancient way of playing with the fingernails.

For more information on the festival go to

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Tina Calder
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