Co Wexford Harper Joins Harps Alive Festival Lineup This Weekend

Co Wexford Harper Aileen Kennedy will be performing at the Harps Alive Festival | An Chruit Bheo | Harps Leevin in Belfast this weekend…

Aileen will be taking to the stage amongst an array of harpers to perform at the Gala Finale Concert on 17 July at St Joseph’s, Sailortown. The concert will also serve as a tribute to the Belfast Harp Orchestra, of which Aileen is a former member.

Aileen Kennedy began her traditional Irish harper journey through tuition with Cairde na Cruite, before going on to attend An Chúirt Chruitireachta, Co Louth’s international harp festival.

A talented harper, Aileen has won the Nobber, Granard and Keadue festivals, and has since founded the Cáirde Ceoil Harp Ensemble, consisting of over 20 harpers that have performed locally and internationally as a group.

The Gala Finale Concert will be a celebration of living tradition as it showcases the exciting trajectory of present-day harping.

Organised by the Harps Alive partnership, the festival will bring together the finest harpers from across the island to recognise the landmark event that collected music more than two centuries ago for future harpers to learn from and perform.

The partnership between Harp Ireland and Reclaim The Enlightenment is to mark 230 years since the Belfast Harpers’ Assembly in Belfast. In 1792 the Harpers’ Assembly in Belfast brought together 11 harpers, six of whom were blind and the eldest Denis Hempson was 97 at the time.

Aibhlín McCrann, Chair of Cruit Éireann Harp Ireland, said that celebrating the anniversary presented a unique musical opportunity for the harping community.

“We are delighted to bring harpers from all over Ireland together to mark 230 years since the Belfast Harpers’ Assembly in Belfast,” she said. 

“Our harping heritage transcends boundaries and has really connected the partners, north and south.

“It is wonderful to hear the harpers’ music reflecting our living tradition and to see that there is so much interest in it. We are looking forward to welcoming audiences across the city of Belfast to our concerts, talks and exhibitions and in Dublin later in the month.”

John Gray, Chair of Reclaim the Enlightenment said the Harps Alive│An Chruit Bheo│Harps Leevin festival is rooted in musical history.

“In bringing more than 50 harpers to Belfast, the festival will create the largest ever such assembly in the city,” he said. 

“It will be a celebration of the heritage of the harp and the contemporary revival of harp playing, and when it concludes we hope to have created more awareness of the harp tradition with the public and leave a lasting legacy.”

For tickets to Aileen Kennedy at Gala Finale Concert | Harps Alive, An Chruit Bheo, Harps Leevin, as well as more information about the festival go to

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