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25-28 Deireadh Fómhair 2019 | 25-28 October 2019

Achill International Harp Festival began with a bang in 2016 as a festival not only celebrating the harp as our national instrument, our national emblem, it is showcasing the instrument in its international context, with harpers from South America and other parts of Europe.

The Achill International Harp Festival aligns itself with ancient harping traditions by gathering harpers at Samhain to explore, develop and perhaps challenge this beautiful musical form.

Achill Island was buzzing once again from 26-29th October 2018 with the rich and vibrant sounds of harps from around the world, for the third incarnation of the Achill International Harp Festival, over the October Bank Holiday weekend.

Nightly concerts during the festival gave audiences an opportunity to hear some of the finest international exponents of the harp and other traditional instruments.

The festival opened on Friday 26th with a Galician Irish collaborative concert, as we have done in 2016 with the premiere of Sraith Oileán Acla / Achill Island Suite, a first to combine bagpipes, harps and traditional ensemble, paying homage to the historical and cultural connections with Achill and Scotland, and in 2017 with our Breton Mayo collaboration with harps and bagpipes from both traditions as well as songs with common themes and traditional ensemble.

The festival also featured wonderful opportunities to engage with the harp, both as a player and a maker. Various styles and levels of harp workshops, from complete beginners, through intermediate to advanced were taught by the visiting international harpers. Each year we provide a unique opportunity for potential harp makers or those with a curiosity to try, a harp-making workshop led by master craftsmen Graham Wright. You can go away with your very own harp!

Schools from all over the Island are involved in the AIHF in various ways to ensure that harp and piping traditions are part of their contemporary experience of Island life. Each year the TY students of Coláiste Pobail Acla volunteer throughout the festival, paint signs and do music projects about the harp. All local school children enjoy a special ‘command’ performance by the visiting artists to Achill.

Achill welcomes all music lovers from all over the world to the island over October bank holiday weekend. You will experience the best of music and will also be immersed in culturally rich and beautiful surroundings of our island situated on the Wild Atlantic Way. Mark it in the diary! Don’t miss it next time from 25-28 October 2019!