Italian girl’s heart strings pulled by the harp on a visit to Limerick

Donal O’Regan


Donal O’Regan

A YOUNG Italian girl has become enchanted with the harp and Celtic music thanks to a trip to Limerick.

A YOUNG Italian girl has become enchanted with the harp and Celtic music thanks to a trip to Limerick.

Fourteen year-old Morganna Rudan left the hot weather in Modena, Italy for her third summer in Castleconnell.

In 2008, Morganna and her parents were touring around Munster and a “lucky star” drew her to the Irish Harp Centre.

“A lucky star was actually printed on the road map we were following. My lucky star brought me to explore a marvellous new music world, the one of traditional and modern Celtic music.

“I forced my parents to follow the road to the lucky star printed on the map. We visited the Irish Harp College and I quickly decided to attend the school camp the next summer. I have never stopped going every summer since then,” said Morganna.

Founded by Dr Janet Harbison, the music school recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. Morganna has been learning the harp in Italy but has found an affinity with Irish music under Ms Harbison’s tutelage.

“Irish music on the Celtic harp seems to me a natural and easy way to express a number of feelings and moods. My teachers at the summer camps guided my hands and opened my mind towards Irish culture and traditions.

“This experience has been so exciting that I decided to improve my English skills in order to be able to closely interact with my Irish friends,” said Morganna.

Ms Harbison said Morganna is a very accomplished young performer and invited her to join her harp orchestra for three concerts.

“I am very proud of this invitation and I have been practicing hard in Italy in order to be able to follow my friends at their full energetic Irish pace! My dream is having the Irish Harp Orchestra playing in Italy some time.

“In the mean time I will work hard on the harp. Mom says that if I will hold on with this passion, the day I will be allowed to get to the pub, then I will be ready not only to listen to Irish music, but also to play it,” said Morganna, who also hopes that Ms Harbison and her teacher in Italy can start a collaboration in her homeland.

Morganna has been taking part in Tradfest all this week in the Irish Harp Centre. From 10am to 4pm there is set dancing, bodhran band, Celtic art, Irish language, session playing and concerts in the evenings. All welcome. This finishes on Saturday then Morganna’s attention will turn to the concerts.

National harp orchestra week begins on Monday, July 30 to Sunday, August 5 with a week of rehearsal and stagecraft training.

A concert takes place in St Mary’s Cathedral in Limerick on Friday, August 3 at 8pm. Then Morganna and the orchestra head to Roscommon on Saturday and Belfast on Sunday. Contact 061 372777.