Official tourism website for Northern Ireland

The Ancient Sounds of Ireland

35 English Street, Downpatrick, County Down, BT30 6AB
The Ancient Sounds of Ireland


A fantastic uplifting experience hosted by the gifted young Irish harpist Maria Boyle who is passionate about keeping the tradition of this UNESCO designated instrument alive. In the historic setting of Down Cathedral, Maria shares the history of the Irish harp with touching performances of an Irish repertoire that revives and honours this ancient cultural tradition passed through generations for over a thousand years. Experience the therapeutic effects of the ancient sounds and the harps bell like tones echoing through the historic cathedral. Learn to play some basic harp techniques and enjoy clapping out the rhythms of Irish tunes awed by the magical quality of the Irish Harp.

A remarkable young musician with a talent for the Irish Harp, Maria Boyle is deeply passionate about the preservation of the harp tradition, its' ancient repertoire and its' impact on Irish culture through the centuries. Taught to play from the age of 7 on a small harp crafted by her grandfather, Maria quickly fell in love with this ancient instrument.

A student of music, Maria is driven in her pursuit to keep the tradition of this UNESCO listed instrument alive and has started to pass on her skills to her grandfather in a beautiful intergenerational exchange. A musical form of storytelling, the harp allows Maria to connect and share stories in a way that will lift your spirit and set you free.

In the spectacular setting of the historic Down Cathedral, Maria shares the history of the Irish harp with personalised performances of the instrument's ancient Irish repertoire. Learn to play some basic harp techniques on Maria's little and large harp and enjoy clapping out the rhythms of a variety of Irish tunes. Highlights include:

• Maria Boyle | young harpist | a student of music in County Derry | fell in love with the harp at the age of 7
• The Irish Harp | one of Ireland's national emblems | UNESCO designated Intangible Cultural Heritage
• History | learn about the historical background, features, and ancient repertoire of the Irish Harp
• Performance | personalised spine-tingling performances | from ancient to contemporary tunes
• Audience Participation | clap along to various Irish tunes using your newly learned rhythm rhymes and enjoy other immersive activities
• Learn | learn how to play some basic harp techniques taught by Maria on her little and large harp



  • All areas accessible to disabled visitors

COVID-19 Response

  • COVID-19 measures in place

Event Facilities

  • Booking Required

Parking & Transport

  • On site parking
  • Station nearby

Guide Prices

Ticket TypeTicket Tariff
Ticket£26.00 per ticket

Note: Prices are a guide only and may change on a daily basis.

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Opening Times

Season (30 Jan 2022)
Sunday13:00 - 15:30
Season (27 Feb 2022)
Sunday13:00 - 15:30
Season (27 Mar 2022)
Sunday13:30 - 16:00

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