Frequently Asked Questions

If you don't see your question here, do get in touch; we are here to help!

Where and how do I access the online events?

The 'Concerts & Talks' link at the top of the festival web pages will take you to the relevant pages. Clicking on the thumbnail for an event will bring you to the page for that event, where you can view the video. These will be accessible to 5-day festival pass holders ticket holders until December 29, 2021. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ If you bought a 5-day festival pass before 25th July, the 'Live Events' link at the top of the festival web pages will take you to the relevant pages, where you can use the navigation buttons to find the events happening each day. Clicking on the thumbnail for an event will bring you to the event page, where you will find Zoom login details posted 10 minutes before it begins. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ All live events will be recorded, and will be accessible to 5-day festival pass holders from early August until December 29, 2021. These recordings will be available on the web page for each event.

What devices or computer equipment do I need to participate in the online festival? Can I use my phone?

You will need a broadband internet connection, speakers or headphones, access to a printer for downloaded materials, and a laptop, desktop, or tablet computer. WE DO NOT RECOMMEND USING YOUR PHONE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ONLINE FESTIVAL. We will be using Zoom for our live events. Further information to help you get set up for participating in the festival events will be sent after you have registered.

Will the live events be recorded and made available afterwards?

The live events will all be recorded, and will be accessible on the relevant festival website pages, from early August until 29th Dec. 2021, to 'All-Access' ticket holders.

How do I sign up for my preferred live events?

ALL-ACCESS ticket holders choose from 34 LIVE hands-on players’ sessions, workshops, and social tea-breaks, accessible through Zoom (more info. underneath). You can play (and pause) recordings of ALL live events – at your leisure – for 5 lovely months AFTER the festival, allowing you to listen, study, learn, and revise at your own pace. Videos of five talks and two concerts are also available to view 24/7 for the same time period. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Four LIVE player sessions run simultaneously each day, with a maximum of 12 participants in each, for your comfort. Choose in advance by clicking on the ‘RESERVE A PLACE’ button on that session’s page – if it is still available. Reservations are offered on a first-come / first-served basis so do reserve the sessions of your choice as quickly as possible, to avoid any disappointment. Of course, since each session will be recorded, you can later catch up on all player sessions so you won’t miss out! ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Two LIVE workshops take place simultaneously most days. Places at these are unlimited, and they will also be recorded so you can catch up on all workshops later.

What do the different tickets offer?

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ FESTIVAL TASTER: Access 2 concerts and 1 talk – Queen of Music: The early Irish Harp – for the duration of the festival: 25th–29th July. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ALL-ACCESS (EARLY BIRD): 5-day festival pass + all downloadable player-session materials (available in early July) + 5 further months access to all concerts, talks and recordings of 34 live events (available in early August). N.B. Does not include one-to-one coaching sessions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ALL-ACCESS: 5-day festival pass + all downloadable player-session materials (available in early July) + 5 further months access to all concerts, talks and recordings of all 34 live events (available in early August). N.B. Does not include one-to-one coaching sessions. N.B. Bookings after 24th July have no live event access.

I play using modern harp technique and have never used historical techniques. Is that a problem?

No, that is not a problem. We will teach you what historical playing techniques are most helpful in getting the best out of an early Irish harp, and old Irish harp music. If you play a modern harp, you will most likely either have fun diving full-steam into historical playing techniques, or you might pick and choose what you think might be most helpful to you, on your particular instrument.

I don’t play using finger nails. Is that a problem?

No; for most of their history early Irish harps seem to have been played with fingernails but from the seventeenth century there is evidence of the instrument being played with finger tips, so finger-tip players are totally welcome.

I play a nylon-strung lever harp / folk harp / Celtic harp? Is it OK to play that at festival classes and workshops?

Yes, you will be very welcome! At our in-person festivals we could equip you with a rental early Irish harp, but in this online year, please feel most welcome with whatever harp you normally play.

Will I learn lots of reels, hornpipes and other dance tunes useful for trad. Irish music sessions?

No, you won't. If your main wish is to learn lots of trad. dance tunes, then we might not be the festival for you as we specialise in music that is older than much Irish dance music. If, however, you are interested in where tunes and songs come from, in seeing the form in which they have been preserved, and how to go about turning them back into living, breathing music, then this festival is likely to interest you. In short, we’re best suited to the curious of mind as well as the curious of finger! __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Our forte is equipping you with the skills to find, reconstruct and play the historical repertory of the instrument. This includes plainchant, harp preludes, love songs, praise songs, laments, marches, ports, music composed for patrons, older dances e.g. jigs and minuets, variation sets on Irish melodies, Renaissance-European repertory (ground basses, court dances), and 18th-century European repertory (Italian and Italian-influenced instrumental music, instrumental settings of works by Handel, Corelli, Geminiani and others) played by some Irish harpers.

I play a 22-string lap harp. Is that too small an instrument to use at this festival?

We will be delighted to see you no matter what size your harp! We encourage historically-minded students to play measured copies of surviving instruments as the most fruitful way of approaching the music – the smallest of these has 29 strings – but you can take part in this festival playing any size of harp.

Can I rent a harp at the festival?

Due to the online format of this year’s festival, sadly we cannot put one of our lovely Student harps into your hands. Maybe come to visit us in person at next year's festival in Kilkenny (COVID-allowing)?

I've never played a harp before. Is that a problem?

Normally it's no problem; we love to get beginners off to a great start! Unfortunately, due to the online format of this year's festival, we won't be able to do that; you need to be a post-beginner on any kind of harp, to take part this year.

I don't read music. Is that a problem?

No. For some sessions, the music is taught aurally with sheet music available at the end for those who read. And, in many cases, sound files will be available in advance to help you. However, in more advanced sessions and workshops, you may get more out of it if you have a working knowledge of how to read music.

What do other people say about this festival?

Read the feedback from our festival-goers over the years here: Edit: this link to our old website isn't working yet but will hopefully be available to you soon.

How do I upgrade my current ticket to a 5-day festival pass?

If you purchased a 'Festival Taster' or 'Sunday Only' ticket and would like to upgrade to 'Early-Bird All Access' or 'All-Access' (where applicable), please email or call +353 (0)86 8623430, 10.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. Irish time.

How do I access festival one-to-one coaching?

Click on 'Virtual Coaching' in the navigation bar, at the top of this page, for all the details. Click on an individual coach to see what their areas of interest are. You can email them or contact them via their websites to arrange dates and times to meet up. Please pay them directly in advance of your coaching session.

Can I download a copy of the festival timetable to print out?

If you have purchased a ticket, there is a link to a pdf of the festival timetable on your profile page, for you to download and print out. If you have not yet purchased a ticket, but would like to download a printable copy of the festival timetable, you can copy and paste this link into your browser:

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