Harpists come together to remember Colmcille legacy

An original piece of music entitled ‘Strings of Heaven’ has been released by local harp players to celebrate 1500 years since the birth of Colmcille.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 11:32 am

The ‘Colmcille 1500’ project, supported by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Museum Services, highlights the significant connection between the life of the revered early Christian saint and the Causeway Coast & Glens area.

Also known as St Columba, Colmcille left his mark on the landscape in the North West and is remembered in Ireland and Scotland as a unifying figure for his love of Gaelic culture and the natural world.

The video and composition collectively capture the beautiful landscape and significant landmarks associated with his life alongside the harping heritage of the area.

Catherine Ní Cheallaigh, Scoil Ruaidhrí Dall, Aoife Nig Uiginn, Scoil Ruaidhrí Dall, Katy Bustard, Causeway Harp School, Kerri Mullen, Hempsey Harp School Carra Nic an Bhaird, Scoil Ruaidhrí Dall, Dearbhlá Gardiner, Ballycastle Harp School and Nodlaig Ní Bhrollaigh, Scoil Ruaidhrí Dall collaborated on an original piece of music entitled ‘Strings of Heaven’ to celebrate 1500 years since the birth of Colmcille

Fittingly, the first performance of ‘Strings of Heaven’ was recorded at St Aidan’s Church in Magilligan, the site of a church originally founded by Colmcille in the middle of the 6th Century.

St Aidan’s is also the burial place of Dennis Hempson, the last of the great harpers. He played the famous ‘Downhill Harp’ made by Cormac Ó Ceallaigh of Ballinascreen and sponsored by the Earl Bishop, Fredrick Hervey of Mussenden Temple.

Composed by Nodlaig Ní Bhrollaigh with vocal soloist Aoife Nig Uiginn of Scoil Ruaidhrí Dall, this initiative brings together harpers from Scoil Ruaidhrí Dall, Dungiven, Hempsey Harp School, Garvagh, Causeway Harp School and Ballycastle Harp School. Watch https://niarchive.org/projectitems/colmcille-1500-strings-of-heaven