Granard alive with music, song and dance as Harp Festival gets underway 

Aisling Kiernan


Aisling Kiernan


This weekend the town of Granard will become alive to the sounds of traditional music, song and dance as the Harp Festival gets underway after an absence of a number of years.

Kicking off proceedings during the launch at the town’s Market House last night, Mary Carleton Reynolds, Creative Ireland Longford Coordinator said there was much to look forward to in the north Longford town this weekend.  

Indeed the Market House in the centre of the town was the home to the first ever Granard Harp Festival held back in the 1781.

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“This is only the start of what is going to be a brilliant weekend here in Granard,” Ms Carleton Reynolds added before introducing local trad band ‘Fab Trad’ to the audience.  

“Granard is the home of the harp and traditional music was never stronger in this county than it is now.”

The local Creative Ireland coordinator then went on to pay tribute to the three Co Longford branches of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann whom she said had been “front and centre” in the organising of this weekend’s events.  

Meanwhile and following a wonderful performance by Shannon Brown on the harp, trustee of the Granard Harp Festival Jimmy Donoghue addressed those gathered.

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“The fact that Granard was the first town to ever hold a Harp Festival is something of pride and joy and the revival of this wonderful event gives us an opportunity to remember all those who have been involved,” he said.

“The reason it was held in Granard is because of John Dungan who was born in 1730.  

“He travelled to Denmark around 1755 and married Mary O’Connell who came from a family of  poets and musicians.

“Granard has its own special place in the annals of our native music and this was commemorated by the Harp Festival of 1781.”

Check out the Granard Harp Festival programme of events: Massive weekend in Granard as Harp Festival returns