The HHSI Library

Discover 500+ items: books, periodicals, CDs and ephemera devoted to early Irish harp, and related material.


To see a listing of the entire collection:

  • Click on 'Advanced search' on the Library home page.
  • Scroll down on the new page, and highlight all the categories listed under 'Limit to any of the following'.
  • Click 'Search' above that.

If you experience any difficulties accessing the catalogue, please let us know at once by emailing and we will sort it out for you straight away. 

Since 2003, the HHSI has been assembling the first ever library collection dedicated to historical Irish harping and related subjects e.g. early Irish vocal music and poetry, relevant Irish and related European history, culture, society and historical music-making. To a lesser extent, the HHSI library collection also deals with historical European harping. There is a Special Collection of rare, old and fragile items and a Lending Collection of items that may be borrowed by HHSI members.

The Arts Council of Ireland’s ‘Report on the Harping Tradition in Ireland’ 2014, recommended that

[t]he Arts Council should seek to support research and publication on the subject of the early Irish harpers, the early harping tradition, and the harp in Ireland in the nineteenth and twentieth century.

With subsequent Arts Council funding – for which the HHSI is grateful – the HHSI library collection has now been catalogued and can be searched online. The integrated library management system we have chosen, LibLime Koha, is the most advanced, open-source, integrated library system in use today by hundreds of libraries worldwide. Dr Lynnsey Weissenberger, the cataloguer, points out that “…[in] this valuable resource[, it’s] worth noting that I found quite a few items in this collection that only one to two other libraries in the world also own.” 

The HHSI library collection – and its continued expansion – is an indispensable step towards building a vital resource that can support early and modern harpists, harp builders, singers and other Irish- and historical-music practitioners and researchers in Ireland. The collection currently consists of 500+ items: books and music-source material (19th- to 21st century), periodicals, theses, modern music editions, sound recordings and ephemera related to early Irish harp and associated subjects. These include Irish history and culture, 17th-21st century scholarly material, parallel European source material, sound recordings and ephemera.

Until the HHSI has a premises, the HHSI Library Collection is accessible to HHSI Members in Kilkenny, Dublin and Galway on request. Local, national & international artists have access to the collection at the annual HHSI summer festival in Kilkenny.

The Society welcomes donations of books, or of funds to make purchases for the library. We are particularly keen to acquire copies of newly-published books and articles about the early Irish harp, and also first edition copies of the key source texts such as Bunting and Armstrong. All such donations will be acknowledged with an inscription or bookplate inside the books donated or purchased, and significant donors will be made honorary life members of the Society. For more information or to make a donation please contact us.