Most people if asked what the symbol of Ireland would probably answer the shamrock. But they would absolutely be wrong. The true symbol of Ireland is the ancient Irish harp.

According to some accounts, the Irish harp is one of the earliest stringed musical instruments in existence anywhere in the globe. This stunning piece of music-making equipment is not only the symbol of Ireland but also one of the most well-known Celtic emblems.

The national emblem of the Emerald Isle is a harp, making it the only nation on the whole globe to have such a representation of a musical instrument.

The National Symbol of Ireland

The Irish Harp is the national symbol of Ireland. The traditional instrument is featured on Irish coins, the Presidential Seal, the Irish passport, and the Irish coat of arms. Scholars have found that the Irish harp's popularity with the Irish people dates back to the 1500s. However, the Irish Harp can only be considered the national symbol of Ireland when it's in 'left-facing' form.

Only a left-facing harp is the registered symbol of Ireland, why is that you ask? Blame that beloved Irish beverage company, Guinness. In 1922, when Irish officials tried to register the harp as the national trademark, they were advised it could only register the rights to a left-facing harp because Guinness had already registered a right-facing harp as the Guinness mark and had been trading under it since 1862!

Is the Irish harp the same as the Celtic harp?

The Celtic harp is a stringed instrument that is native to Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and Brittany. It is also known as the Irish harp, folk harp, and lever harp. To master this wire-strung musical instrument in the shape of a triangle takes a lot of time spent practicing and a lot of talent.

How are traditional harps and Irish harps distinct from one another?

The traditional Irish harp is easily identifiable by its use of wire strings, which are often made of brass, and its resonating chamber, which is carved from a single wood (traditionally willow). Fingernails are used to produce a sound on the highly tensioned strings, which results in a very distinct tone.

Who is the lady portrayed on the harp in the Irish tradition?

The iconography of the harp in the context of the United Irishmen of the 1790s formed the basis for the Romanticization of the harp symbol and the female personification of Erin (Ireland) in the poetry of Thomas Moore. This was the case because the United Irishmen used the harp as a symbol of their cause.

What significance does the harp play in the Guinness brand?

Since 1862, when it appeared as a symbol on the GUINNESS brand's very first bottle label, the harp device has been inextricably linked with the Guinness brand. In the year 1876, the Guinness corporation officially registered it as a trademark. In 1960, the Guinness firm released its first lager under the moniker "Harp." This decision was made due to the corporation's ownership of the harp trademark.

What is the significance of the Irish harp being pictured backward?

Because Guinness placed profits ahead of patriotism and refused to give up its trademark, the government made the decision to simply turn the harp around, and that is how it has been ever since.

The Celtic Harp

The Celtic harp is a wire-strung instrument with a triangular frame. The Celtic harp also known as the Irish Harp is traditional in Ireland and Scotland. It is known as cláirseach in Irish Gaelic and clàrsach in Scottish Gaelic. The Celtic harp is an ancient instrument associated with the ruling class and required skill and much practice to play.

What does the harp represent in Irish culture?

Since the middle of the 13th century, the harp has been used as a representation of Ireland in its heraldry. According to the National Library of Ireland, it was initially designed to be shown on a backdrop that had a dark blue color. This background was supposed to symbolize Ireland's sovereignty in early Irish mythology.

The Royal Harp for an Irish King

Ireland's national emblem is actually based on the Brian Boru Harp. Irish legend says Brian Boru played the harp the night before the Battle of Clontarf. This Irish harp is also known as the Trinity Harp and is on display in Trinity College Dublin's Long Room. You know the place. It's the beautifully dramatic old library of Trinity College that holds a collection of 200,000 the oldest books with the gorgeous barrel ceiling used in numerous movie scenes.