The Rose Mooney or Carolan Harp

The origins and early history of the harp NMI DF.1945-122 is unknown, though claims have been made associating it with known 18th century harpers (see associations). It seems to have been in the museum of the Royal Irish Academy by 1881; it was subsequently transferred from the R.I.A. to the National Museum of Ireland.

The first illustration and description appears to have been in 1881, when C. N. McIntyre North1 published an illustration (detail of plate XX) with the caption “Part of Carolan harp: Museum of Royal Irish Ac”. He briefly describes the harp with enough detail to imply that he is talking about the harp NMI DF.1945-122, but he gives no provenance or background information.

in 1904. Robert Bruce Armstrong (The Irish and The Highland Harps, Edinburgh 1904, p.83-4) illustrated the harp with a line drawing which confirms that he is discussing the harp NMI DF.1945-122. Armstrong says it is “the property of the Royal Irish Academy”, and that it is “in the Dublin museum”. He does not give any earlier provenance for it.

Simon Chadwick


1. Charles Niven McIntyre North, Leabhar Comunn nam Fior Ghael (The Book of the Club of the True Highlanders) vol.1, (London: Richard Smythson, 1881) ^