The Irish Harpers in Belfast in 1792 (4)

“The Irish Harpers in Belfast in 1792” … continued


From The Ulster Journal of Archaeology, Second Series, Volume 1, Number 2, 1895

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Referring now to the Northern Star, we find that what it styles “the probationary rehearsals” were continued for about two hours each day, from Wednesday till Saturday, when the fund which arose from the sale of tickets and from subscriptions was distributed in premiums (or donations) from ten to two guineas each, according to the different degrees of merit of the Harpers.

Charles Fanning, from the County Cavan, gained the first prize. He had the advantage of sight, and having had opportunities of acquiring a knowledge of the taste and fashion of modern music, he had attained a high degree of perfection in his playing, which gave his hearers a vivid idea of what this kind of music is capable, in producing alternately the most lively, plaintive, and pathetic sensations.

The Northern Star gives the following as the names of the tunes that were played:—

Coulin—Fairy Queen—Molly Veagg, O—Miss Moore—Planksty Kingsland—Gra go nish—Dennis Dealy—Miss Fenning—Collough an Tinnie—Collendoon—Carolan’s Concerto—Lady Latitia—Planksty Reily—Baccaugh Buie—Scarant na Gompanaugh—The Dawning of the Day—Pearla an Veoley Vaan—Canher vac Aough—Mable Kelly—Lady Veaugh—Tierna Vujoc—Patrick’s Day—Aelion na Ruaen—Mailin Guidey Uyain—Nancy Cooper—Gracy Newgent—Carolan’s Cap—Thomas Burke—Lady Bleany—Mrs. Maxwell—Plearurca na Ruare—Doctor Hart—Carric a Nuienish—Shiely ni Conolan—Mrs. Crofton—Sir Festus Burke—Cionn Dhu Dielish—The Humours of Whiskey—Denis Aily—Cathelien Treall—Trugh.

NOTE.—The names of the tunes are given verbatim et literatim as they appeared in the News-Letter and Northern Star, and serve to exhibit the singular incapacity of the proof-reader of that period. Take two examples:—“Ul a condo wo” is a curious perversion for Ulican Dub O—the song of sorrow—an air which Hardiman says is “of the most remote antiquity.” “Tierna Vujoc” for Tiagarna a Maigue-eo—“Lord Mayo.” The ages of the Harpers are also given very incorrectly by the News-Letter. Hempsey, or Hempson, must have been in his 97th year in 1792; Arthur O’Neill was 58, not 55; and Daniel Black 77, instead of 75 as stated. W. Carr must have been more than 15 years of age.

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