Sunday 22 September 2019

Grainne was a renowned harpist

The late Grainne Yeats
The late Grainne Yeats

THE DEATH has occurred of Gráinne Yeats.

She was wife of the late Michael Yeats, son of Nobel poet, W.B.Yeats, and a Freeman of Sligo.

Born in Dublin, Gráinne was a renowned harpist, singer and historian of the Irish harp.

She always combined a deep interest in traditional music and song with a similar interest in classical music.

While studying piano, voice and harp at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin, she was learning traditional songs from Gaeltacht areas.

Gráinne was a frequent visitor to the Yeats International Summer School.

She is widely credited with the revival of the traditional wire-strung harp.

During her career she performed in concerts and recitals in Ireland, the UK, North American, Russia, India and Japan and many European capitals.

Gráinne was the youngest of three children of PS O'Hegarty, a former member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood Supreme Council and Wilhelmina Rebecca Smyth, a Cumann na mBan veteran.

She initially graduated with a degree in history at Trinity College.

Gráinne set up harp schools throughout the country.

Her repertoire included over 300 songs in Irish and she always sought to include some of them in her performances.

Gráinne was predeceased by her husband and daughter, Síle.

She is survived by daughters Siobhán and Caitríona and son, Pádraig.

At the April meeting of Sligo Borough Council, the Mayor, Clr David Cawley, proposed a vote of sympathy to the family. Clr Rosaleen O'Grady seconded.

Clr Declan Bree said Gráinne Yeats was "a wonderful harpist and singer".

Sligo Champion