Music festival to feature medieval harpist who performed for the Queen


THE MEDIEVAL harpist who performed for Queen Elizabeth is among this year’s participants in the Galway Early Music Festival which opened last night.

Siobhán Armstrong plays a copy of the medieval Trinity College harp – the State’s national emblem – which is strung in brass and 18 carat gold.

Ms Armstrong is founder and director of the Irish Consort, an ensemble that explores 17th and 18th century European and Irish repertoires. She will perform with Griogair Labhruidh at 1pm today in Galway’s Chapel of the Poor Clares and she will run a harp taster workshop in the city museum tomorrow. The Irish Consort will perform The King Dancesin St Nicholas’s Collegiate Church tomorrow night.

The award-winning early music ensemble I Fagiolini appears in St Nicholas’s tonight, taking the theme of “The Twisted World of Patronage”.

The theme of this year’s festival is “Paying the Piper”, as in the relationship between musicians and their patrons.

Not all events are indoors, as musicians Anne Marie Summers and Stephen Tyler, who play the hurdy gurdy, pipes, Gothic harp and other instruments with Misericordia, will accompany English storyteller Clive Fairweather at Dunsandle Castle in Craughwell on Sunday afternoon.

Misericordia and Fairweather will also recreate a medieval session tomorrow in a family event at the Kings Head pub’s ruby room from 11am. Galway Early Music, run by a voluntary committee, held its first festival 15 years ago.Full programme details are on

Also in Galway this weekend is the African Film Festival. It opens this evening in Nun’s Island Theatre and is dedicated to the memory of Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire last December after his wares were confiscated, sparking off the Tunisian revolution, and David Kato Kisule, the Ugandan teacher and father of that country’s gay rights movement, who was murdered in January this year.

Films made by directors from France, Tunisia, Congo, Kenya, Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, Nigeria and Ethiopia will be screened at an admission fee of €5.

The festival is hosted by the Galway One World Centre, Galway Film Society and the Huston School of Film Digital Media, and details are on or tel: 091-530590.