It is probably easier now than at any time in the past to get hold of a good quality, well set up Gaelic harp.
Which harp to choose? It depends on your budget, and on the kind of music you are interested in.
3/10 scale models of the museum instruments really do give you a vivid sense of the subtle beauty and complexity of the form and design of the old Gaelic harps. We are now offering Alasdair Macleod’s wonderful range of hand-crafted scale models. “Collect the whole set!”. More...
The ideal is a hand-crafted, fully decorated copy of one of the museum instruments. These cost many thousands of pounds, and for best results you should commission one from an established maker. If you want to discuss the options, I am happy to offer advice. Please contact me.
The Historical Harp Society of Ireland (of which I am hon. secretary) sells a range of affordable early Gaelic harps, modelled on the museum instruments. There are two ranges, the HHSI Student harps made to the Society’s specifications by harpmaker David Kortier, and the HHSI Connemara harps, made to our demanding standards by Ériú Harps, in Connemara, Ireland. See the Society's online harp shop for details of current models and prices.
If you are interested in the more recent traditions of traditional Irish harping in the 18th century, I recommend the HHSI Student Downhill harp. I also have been enjoying playing the HHSI Student Otway.
If you are more interested in re-imagining the medieval traditions, then the Student Trinity harp is better for this. The Connemara Queen Mary is a wonderful medieval instrument, following the latest scientific research coming out of Edinburgh.