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26-29 Deireadh Fómhair 2018 | 26-29 October 2018 

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

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

The festival will open on Friday 26th with a 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 legendary flute player Jean-Michel Veillon and musical director Laoise Kelly on harp, along with harps and bagpipes from both traditions as well as songs with common themes and traditional ensemble.

The festival also features 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 will be taught by the visiting international harpers. 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. Last year the TY students of Coláiste Pobail Acla volunteered throughout the festival, painted signs and did music projects about the harp. All local school children will enjoy a special ‘command’ performance by the visiting artists to Achill.

Achill is again preparing to welcome music lovers from all over the world to the island over October bank holiday weekend. And not only will you experience the best of music, you 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!