Old Bridge Music

The Irish Harper Volume Two

The Irish Harper Volume Two


By Máire Ní Chathasaigh.

This book contains original arrangements for solo harp of 24 of Carolan’s beautiful tunes (with suggested fingering), a brief biography of Carolan, historical notes on the pieces and performance guidance.

44 pages. Standard: Intermediate to Advanced.

Scroll down for List of Contents

Catalogue details:

ISBN 978-1-873077-02-3 ISMN 979-0-708208-00-6  (Print edition)

ISBN 978-1-873077-03-0 ISMN 979-0-708208-01-3 (Digital edition)

Second Edition published by Old Bridge Music, 2022.
First published by Old Bridge Music, 2001.

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TURLOUGH O’CAROLAN was the most famous of all the Irish harper-composers of his day, and his music is the most popular ever composed for the harp in Ireland. It affords a lot of scope to the creativity of the individual performer and arranger, since only Carolan’s melodies survive. This book contains Máire Ní Chathasaigh’s original arrangements (with suggested fingering) of 24 of Carolan’s beautiful tunes, informed by her knowledge both of the native Irish harp tradition and of baroque forms; a brief biography of Carolan; historical notes on the pieces; and performance guidance.

The book was first published by Old Bridge Music in 2001. It has been amended, updated and given a new cover for the Second Edition, published in July 2022.

The arrangements originally appeared on Máire’s 1994 CD with Chris Newman, The Carolan Albums. “Restores the harp to its true voice.” THE IRISH TIMES “Máire is the foremost modern interpreter of Carolan.” TAPLAS “In a plethora of Carolan records, this is the best.” FOLK ON TAP

Further review extracts below.

Full reviews here.

For those harpists who have been asking how the second edition differs from the first, here is a summary:

The arrangements in the original book were identical to those on The Carolan Albums and therefore feature Máire’s own versions and variations. In the new edition Máire has indicated by means of ossia staffs where her versions diverge from the printed or manuscript sources. Other changes include rewriting of some of the notes on the pieces; the use of additional interpretative symbols and guidance; the correction of a small number of fingering typos – and a new cover!

Extracts and Reviews

“A masterpiece of virtuosity… A must for any folk-related collection”



“If Máire wasn’t around, Irish harping would be so much the poorer. Her work… could be described as an attempt to restore the harp to its true voice… Unfussy, with all the spaces left empty and resonating, the long arm of the music reaches back into a noble tradition”



“Faultlessly played, with consummate skill and a perfect understanding of the grace and elegance of the music… Breathtaking. Máire’s… deep understanding of the music, combined with technical skill and passion mark her out as the foremost modern interpreter of Carolan”

TAPLAS (Wales)


“A delight… The sheer excellence… sets standards which should be aspired to not only in this field but throughout folk music.”



“No one else could have done justice to such a project”



“Magnificent… in a plethora of Carolan records, this is the best”



“The playing of this duo exhibits a virtuosity and balance of expression combine with a simple elegance which has a reviewer running to the thesaurus in search of superlatives. Enchanting, expressive, a remarkable piece of work”




1. Carolan’s Draught 2. John O’Connor 3. Colonel John Irwin (Planxy Irwin) 4. Hewlett 5. Máire Dhall (Blind Mary) 6. Lord Inchiquin 7. Morgan Magan 8. Sí Bheag’s Sí Mhór (Sheebeg & Sheemore) 9. The Princess Royal 10. John Drury 11. Fanny Power 12. Carolan’s Concerto 13. Maurice O’Connor 14. Constantine Maguire 15. Mr O’Connor 16. Robert Jordan 17. Bridget Cruise 18. Frank Palmer 19. Grace Nugent 20. George Brabazon 21. Kean O’Hara 22. Madam Judge 23. Eleanor Plunkett 24. Baptist Johnston