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Official Irish Harp Pin™
22mm x17mm antique bronze oval pin with butterfly clutch on back, displaying the classic Trinity College Brian Boru Harp adopted and officialised by the Irish Free State in 1922.
Non-political, non-religious, the official Irish Harp Pin™ is a timeless classic statement for Ireland and it’s heritage all over the world for everyone with an Irish heart & spirit.
Get your own personal Irish Harp Pin™.
Celebrate the 1916-2016 events.
Short History of the Irish Harp as national symbol
The traditional symbol of Ireland, the harp is said to reflect the immortality of the soul. For centuries, it has been the beloved emblem of Ireland.
It was adopted as the insignia of the Irish Free State when it separated from the United Kingdom in 1922 and was registered as the arms of Ireland with the Chief Herald of Ireland on 9 November 1945, appearing on official government documents as well as the Presidential flag and being displayed on Irish coins, not to mention the global trademark Guinness and Ryanair harp.
References to the harp as being the arms of the King of Ireland can be found as early as the 13th century. Recognized as a symbol of Ireland and Irish pride, the Gaelic harp became an emblem of resistance to the Crown and England. As such, it was banned at the end of the medieval period.
The depiction of the harp has changed over time. In the 17th century, during the period of the Kingdom of Ireland, the pillar of the harp began to be depicted as a bare-breasted woman. The design of the harp used by the modern independent Irish state in 1922 was based on the Brian Boru harp, a late-medieval Gaelic harp kept in Trinity College, Dublin. No heraldic motto has ever been granted to Ireland and none ever accompanies the coat of arms.
Ireland has long been associated with a flag also bearing the harp. The earliest-known record of the green flag is attributed to Eoghan Ruadh Ó Néill, a 17th-century exile and soldier in the Irish brigade of the Spanish army. His ship, the St. Francis, is recorded as flying from her mast top "the Irish harp in a green field, in a flag" as she lay at anchor at Dunkrik en route to Ireland. Ó Néill was returning to Ireland in order to participate in the Irish Confederate Wars (1641—1653), during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (a series of civil wars engulfing England, Ireland and Scotland), where he would contribute as a leading general. Variants of the green flag were flown by Untied Irishmen during the 1798 Rebellion and by the Irish emigré in foreign armies, such as the Irish Brigade of the Union Army during the American Civil War (1861–1865) and Saint Patrick's Battalion in the Mexican Army during the Mexican-American War (1846–1848).
Although the Kingdom of Ireland never had an official flag, this flag is recorded as the flag of Ireland by 18th and 19th century sources. It was used as a naval jack and as the basis for the unofficial green ensign of Ireland, particularly during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Folklore says that the first harp was owned by Dagda, a chief among the Tuatha De Danaan. The De Danaan were at war with the Fomorians and the harp was taken from Dagda by the gods of cold and darkness. Two other gods, Lugh representing light, and Ogma representing art, penetrated the Fomorian fortress, recovered the harp and restored it to Dagda. The gods in returning the harp to him, pronounced two secret names for the instrument and, at the same time, called forth summer and winter. From that point on, when Dagda played, he could produce a melody so poignant, it would make his audience weep, an air so jubilant it would make everyone smile, or a sound so tranquil, it would lull all who listened to sleep. Thus, with its secret or magical names, the instrument became the dispenser of Sorrow, Gladness and Rest.
Wear your official Irish Harp Pin with pride.