Belfast 1792 – The Hub of the Harp

Film about the 1792 Belfast Harpers Assembly, which took place in the Assembly Rooms building at the junction of Donegall and Waring streets. 2012 was the 220th anniversary and an event took place in the Central Library to commemorate it. This event revealed research about the life and times of Arthur (Art) O Neill, one of the oldest harpers at the Assembly. This research was carried out by Eugene Dunphy, who also commissioned a painting by English artist Stephen Burgess, in what was a sort of bringing him back home to Belfast.

Historical context is provided by Social historian, John Gray and Linenhall Librarian, John Killeen. Historical Irish Harp Society Chairperson and musician, Siobhan Armstrong, gives insights into Irish harp music and Irish harps and the status of this brand of indigenous Irish Art music.

The film also highlights the built heritage of central Belfast from the 18th Century. In particular, the Assembly Rooms buildings and St George’s Church are showcased. The film highlights an era in Belfast when there was common purpose and great cultural and political dynamic.

Filmmaker – Bernard Conlon