- Products & Services
- Knowledge Base
WILMINGTON, NC, March 15, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The harp has a long and rich history in Irish music and culture, dating back to ancient times. It has played an important role in traditional Irish music as a solo instrument and as part of ensembles. But by the 18th century it was in danger of being lost forever. Award-winning author Donna Fletcher Crow's recent article in "The Authorized Version" uncovers how the vigorous efforts of a group of dedicated Belfast leaders, working from political and cultural motives, saved Irish music from extinction.
The month of March brings with it the celebration of all things Irish: Saint Patrick, soda bread, green landscapes, and Celtic music—all of them of venerable origin and still enjoyed. But for one event, though, we would have little or no traditional Irish music to enliven our celebrations today. Crow's article explains how the Belfast Harp Festival of 1792 and the subsequent life-long efforts of one man gave us the rich Gaelic music we so enjoy today.
The Gaelic harp is nearly as ancient as Ireland itself. It is found on manuscripts and stone crosses dating back to the 8th century. The harp was a high-status instrument in Gaelic society. Chieftains always had a bard and a harper in their entourage. Harpers were so important to Gaelic life that their nails, which were used to pluck the wire strings of their instruments, were protected under early medieval Brehon law.
The harp has been the heraldic symbol of Ireland since medieval times. Based on the 14-15th century "Brian Boru" harp in Trinity College Dublin, the emblem appears today on Irish coins, ale labels, and passports. In earliest days every Irish chieftain had a bard and a harper as part of his entourage.
By the end of the 17th century, however, its music had all but disappeared. The Gaelic leaders had been defeated and Irish society transformed. The few remaining harpers had to rely on wealthy patrons for survival, and their art was rapidly dying out. It is little surprise, then, that when the civic leaders of Belfast sought a means of reviving Gaelic culture in 1792, they turned to the harp.The Belfast Harp Festival was planned as a major event in promoting the Gaelic Revival through restoring interest in the Irish harp which had played so large a part in traditional Irish culture. Festival organizers sought to demonstrate how intimately "The Spirit and Character of a people are connected with their National Poetry and Music," as they declared on a handbill advertising the event.
Crow said: "I have always loved Irish music and love celebrating my own Irish heritage. It's really unthinkable that today Gaelic harps might be nothing more than interesting museum pieces
with no authentic music to bring them alive.
"That's why I was so happy to be able to include the story of the Harp Festival in my novel 'The Shaping of the Union' and to share its history in various articles. Thanks to the 'Harp Ball,' as the festival was called in 1792, and the numerous harp societies it has inspired through the centuries, down to today's vigorous Historical Harp Society of Ireland, we all have this wonderful music to enjoy—not just for St. Patrick's Day, but all year round."
The full text of Crow's meticulously researched and thoroughly illustrated article is available at her website at https://donnafletchercrow.com/p/489/The-Music-of-Ireland-That-Almost-Didnt-Survive.
In addition, the January/February issue of Jane Austen's Regency World Magazine Published Crow's well-researched, deep dive into at the music of Ireland. In that article, titled "Belfast Harp Festival", she contrasted the role of the harp in Irish society and in the genteel world of Regency England.
The Belfast Harp Festival also plays a pivotal role in her book, 'The Shaping of the Union', Epoch 8 in The Celtic Cross Series. The Celtic Cross Series is a sweeping saga of the history of Scotland and Ireland. Mary and Gareth, young people trying to understand their modern world, delve into the past to find meaning for today.
1996, As conflict rages around her, American Mary Hamilton despairs of ever bringing about peace for the young people of Belfast. It was definitely the last straw when the reconciliation center where she and her fiancé Gareth are working was burglarized and Gareth injured. So, if they are leaving, why does Mary still feel so drawn to read their host's family journal recounting the historic struggles of this land?
1789, Young Lenny Price and her brother join forces with the vibrant McCracken family—an alliance that takes them to the historic Belfast Harp Festival, but more dangerously, involves them with the Peep o' Day Boys, and then the revolutionary plans of the charismatic Wolfe Tone. Can Lenny uncover the insidious spy bent on bringing all their plans to ruin, even as she harbors a secret message?
Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 50 books, mostly novels of British history. She has taken a number of high-level industry awards for her work. Many of her books have been bestsellers in their categories, including 'A Most Inconvenient Death', which achieved #1 bestseller status in Christian Suspense. 'The Fields of Bannockburn', the epic from which The Celtic Cross Series, Part I: Scotland, The Struggle for a Nation is based, was listed as Fiction Bestseller by Christian Book Distributors and 'The Banks of the Boyne', the epic from which The Celtic Cross Series, Part II: Ireland, The Pursuit of Peace is based, hit #3 Best-Selling Fiction.
The 10-volume Celtic Cross series covers the history of Scotland and Ireland. The leading historic figures of the day interact with fictional characters to bring the stirring events alive. Each epoch is tied to the series with the on-going events in the lives of modern young people as old wars and current conflicts keep them striving to find answers that provide hope for the future. The series is comprised of 10 novels. 'The Keeper of the Stone,' book 1 in the series was #1 on Amazon for Historical Scottish fiction.
The Daughters of Courage, 'Kathryn', 'Elizabeth' and 'Stephanie' is a pioneer family saga based on the stories of Crow's own family and other Idaho pioneers in the Kuna, Nampa and Boise area.
'Glastonbury' is her best-known book, which received the prestigious First Place, Historical Novel, award from the National Federation of Press Women. Readers and reviewers have raved about 'Glastonbury', calling it "The best of its kind," "richly fascinating," "beautifully researched," "gloriously evocative," and "panoramic." One Amazon reader said, "WHAT a work! Every reader can be enveloped in the sheer scope and quality, every historian be constantly nodding at the precise detail and accuracy, and every Christian can rejoice in the fullness of scripture. For me it is simply beyond descriptive praise. I would urge all who value truth to treat themselves to a feast."
The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries is a literary suspense series using literary figures as background: Rudyard Kipling in 'The Flame Ignites', Dorothy L Sayers in 'The Shadow of Reality', Shakespeare in 'A Midsummer Eve's Nightmare', and Jane Austen in both 'A Jane Austen Encounter' and 'A Most Singular Venture'. Watch for 'A Prodigious Sum of Corpses: Seeking Sanditon at Jane Austen's Seashore', which will take readers to all of Austen's favorite seashore resorts. Accounts of Crow's visits to these sites are available on her blog under the heading "Jane Austen Seashore Tour."
The Monastery Murders Series features atmospheric contemporary crimes with their roots buried deep in the middle ages. Books in the series include 'A Very Private Grave', 'A Darkly Hidden Truth', 'An Unholy Communion', 'A Newly Crimsoned Reliquary', 'An All-Consuming Fire' and the newly-released 'Against All Fierce Hostility.'
Where There is Love is a 6-book series of the enduring legacy of love and faith all based on historic people and events. The titles are: 'Where Love Begins', 'Where Love Illumines', 'Where Love Triumphs', 'Where Love Restores', 'Where Love Shines', and 'Where Love Calls'.
The Lord Danvers Victorian true-crime series is an Amazon bestseller in the British Detectives category. Books in the series include 'A Lethal Spectre', 'A Most Inconvenient Death', 'Grave Matters', 'To Dust You Shall Return' and 'A Tincture of Murder'. Donna provides a no-charge download of 'A Tincture of Murder' for those who sign up for her newsletter. More information is available at her website.
Donna Fletcher Crow's awards include:
Where Love Begins, Best Historical Romance, Pinnacle Awards 2019
A Lethal Spectre, Best Mystery, Pinnacle Awards, 2019
Glastonbury, First Place, Historical Fiction, National Federation of Press Women Award of Merit
The Banks of the Boyne, Silver Angel; First Place Historical Fiction, National Federation Press Women
The Fields of Bannockburn, First Place Historical Fiction, National Federation Press Women
Professional Achievement Award, Northwest Nazarene College
Juvenile Books Award of Merit, Idaho Press Women
Top Idaho Author
Pacesetter Award, Mt. Hermon Writers Conference
Outstanding Historical Fiction, Idaho Press Women, National Federation of Press Women,
Idaho Writer of the Year
Best Inspirational Novel, Finalist Romance Writers of America
Writer of the Year, Mt. Hermon Writers Conference
Donna is available for media interviews and can be reached by email at [email protected]. All of her books are available at online book retailers. More information, including a no-charge download of 'A Tincture of Murder', is available at her website at https://www.donnafletchercrow.com.
About Donna Fletcher Crow:
Donna and her husband live in Boise, Idaho. They have 4 adult children and 15 grandchildren living on 3 continents. Donna is a former English literature teacher and lifelong Anglophile. Idahoans with long memories will remember her as a former Queen of the Snake River Stampede, Miss Rodeo Idaho and runner-up for Miss Rodeo America. She is an enthusiastic gardener.
# # #