Gráinne Yeats

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Gráinne Yeats (14 April 1925 - 18 April 2013)[1] was an Irish harpist and singer, and also a historian of the Irish harp.


She was born as Gráinne Ni hEigeartaigh in Dublin, Ireland, and was raised bilingually in Irish and English. As well as obtaining a degree in history from Trinity College Dublin, Gráinne Yeats studied piano, voice and harp at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin and also studied traditional songs and music from the Irish-speaking (Gaeltacht) areas of Ireland.[2]

She wrote and researched the history and music of the Cláirseach (wire-strung harp), and she was one of the first professional musicians to revive and record this ancient traditional instrument.

She wrote entries about Turlough O'Carolan and other Irish harpers in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

Gráinne Yeats was married to Michael Yeats, a Fianna Fáil politician and the son of the poet W. B. Yeats. She had three daughters: Caitríona (a concert harpist), Siobhán (a patents professional) and Síle (a broadcaster with RTÉ); and a son, Pádraig (an engineer).[3]

She died on 18 April 2013.[1]


  • Grainne Yeats: Belfast Harp Festival, Gael Linn, 1994

Books and publications[edit]

  • The Harp of Ireland History, Belfast Harpers' Bicentenary, 1992
  • ‘Some thoughts on Irish harp music’ Ceol, Vol IV no. 2, December 1973
  • ‘The Rediscovery of Carolan’ in Integrating Tradition: The Achievement of Seán O Riada; ed. Bernard Harris & Grattan Freyer, Irish Humanities Center & Keohanes, 1981


  1. ^ a b "Virtuoso and champion of traditional harp - People | Popular Stories, Obituaries & More | The Irish Times - Sat, Apr 27, 2013". The Irish Times. 2013-04-27. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
  2. ^ "Renowned harpist review in independent". Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  3. ^ "Independent newspaper". Independent. Retrieved 13 February 2016.

External links[edit]