United Nations decision to recognize Irish harp music as a unique art form will help to protect and spread the Irish skill.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has recognized Irish harping as a uniquely Irish art form, according to East Galway politician and Minister for the Diaspora and International Development Ciaran Cannon

In a statement released this week, Cannon welcomed the addition of Irish harping to UNESCO`s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

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Cannon said the recognition “will ensure its continued spread as a uniquely Irish art form”.

“I'm delighted that Irish harping has been inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and has thus joined Uileann piping and hurling as an intrinsic element of our culture.

“I'm also very pleased that East Galway has earned its own place in the history of Irish harping and among the most famed pieces ever composed for this instrument was Turlough O'Carolan`s delightful melody for the Power family of Coorheen in Loughrea”.

“Our region continues to contribute to the life of this music form through the production of Irish harps from locally sourced timber by Callan Harps in Craughwell, providing the finest of instruments for both professional harpists and students alike”.

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“Though there was a decline in the interest in harping towards the end of the nineteenth century, it has undergone a tremendous revival in the past 60 years and this recognition by UNESCO will ensure its continued spread as a uniquely Irish art form”.

Minister Cannon added, “This is an instrument that goes back to antiquity, is celebrated as our national symbol and while it was, in centuries past, the preserve of the Gaelic elites, this glorious form of music-making has long been accessible to all, which is precisely the way, one suspects, that O`Carolan would have wished it”.

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Irish harp music recognized by UNESCO as unique art form.Getty