Volume 1 of “Musical Instruments” by Robert Bruce Armstrong. Pages 62-64.

The Balliderry Harp mountings are probably from the late 16th century and were likely intended for a harp of large size, perhaps five feet in height. It now resides in the National Museum of Ireland.

The majority of this article was quoted from "Musical Instruments" by Robert Bruce Armstrong. [1] The book can be downloaded and read for free by following the link in the references. For your convenience, the relevant section can be read below.

Book Excerpt Edit

Ownership Edit

In the National Museum, Dublin, may be seen in a singularly fine state of preservation the brass mountings for an Irish Harp from the Crannog of Ballinderry near Moat, King's County. 

Craftmanship Edit

For the termination of the harmonic curve there is an enrichment, the front end of which is triangular in form (see illustration). Upon the front is the monogram I. H. S. surmounted by a cross, and beneath an interlaced cross enclosed in a circle. This triangular front is 6 7/8 inches long, the lower side of the triangle being 2 3/8 inches broad. Attached to the edges of this triangular face by five nails with ornamented heads there is an elaborately wrought border or frame. The sides of this termination without the border are 1 1/8 inches broad [2] each side having differently engraved patterns. Upon the right side there is a brass support for strengthening and retaining in position the harmonic curve and the fore-pillar (see illustration). This support, which is ^\ inches long by 2 7/8 at the widest part, is pierced in the centre in the form of a cross. The upper termination of the support is a dragonesque head ; the lower portion divides and curves outwardly ; the termination of each end resembles the head of a bird. That nearest to the triangular termination is somewhat shorter, to allow for the commencement of the T formation. The bands for strengthening the harmonic curve upon either side, pierced for thirty-six tuning-pegs, form single curves and are ornamented, as are also the tuning-pegs. The measurement from the first tuning-peg in the treble to the triangular face is 19 inches. 

These brass mountings (the property of the Royal Irish Academy), probably late sixteenth century, were either attached to or intended for a Harp of a large size, perhaps five feet in height. At present they are placed upon a model, and the tuning-pegs, almost all of which are extant, are inserted in the respective holes. These mountings are exceptionally fine, finer than any other known specimens. The border or frame attached to the triangular termination is deserving of special notice. 

Further Reading Edit

Excerpt's References Edit

  1. Armstrong, Robert Bruce. "Musical Instruments: Free Download." Internet Archive. Edinburgh: David Douglas, 1904, n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2016. <>.
  2. The border rises 3/8 inch ; the heads of the nails are 3/8 inch above the border.

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