Armed With Harp And Fiddle: Hannah Flowers

United States of America - St. Paul, Minnesota

2020: The year so many amazing things were to happen. They didn’t. But, for me; one event did. In the midst of worldwide lockdowns, I received notification I was granted a Fulbright Award to study for an MA in Irish Traditional Music at Maynooth University in Ireland.

Every American who plays Irish Traditional Music dreams of the gift of living in Ireland: Taking part in late night music sessions, learning new tunes, and making new friends through the music. As a professional harpist who lives and breathes Irish music, I dreamed that dream for many years. Little did I know that it would come to be in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.

Armed with suitcase, harp, fiddle, and an abundant mask collection, I moved to Ireland last summer. Moving to a new country is complicated under the best of circumstances, but throw in a new normal of self-isolation, social distancing, and online learning, everything became arduously complicated. Life in Ireland looked little like I envisioned.

Yet, in spite of such unforeseen complications, many beautiful things have transpired during my short time living in Ireland: I’ve learned so many new things through my degree program despite the less than ideal learning environments and hours of isolation within my tiny campus apartment. I’ve developed friendships with others in my program and renewed friendships I already had in Ireland, which are “virtual” friendships for the time being. Out of the blue, I had the fantastic opportunity to partner with Enjoy the Mournes in County Down to create three Christmas carol music videos.

I hope that these videos, filmed during these crazy Covid days we are all experiencing bring a moment of joy, peace, and hope to your hearts this Christmas season.

Image Gallery


  • United States of America

    A Very Irish Network Boston Christmas: Irish Network Boston

    The race to be Christmas Number 1, was always such a big part of the celebrations and a lot of the songs that are synonymous with Christmas in Ireland, just didn't make it across the pond. Chris DeBurgh, Cliff Richard, Slade, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and even East 17 are all part of the soundtrack to our local pubs at Christmas. This playlist will make us all a little nostalgic.
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  • New Zealand

    The Most Beautiful Memories: Alice Paul

    The most beautiful memories Christmas were around the visits of all the young people and relations from our locality who had gone to work in England and came home for Christmas. We looked forward to their return for weeks and Christmas day and at Stephens day were filled with joy being surrounded by lovely young people who came back to see us all.
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  • Switzerland

    The Grand Finale: Brigid O'Donovan

    A rather dramatic culmination to a long and enjoyable Christmas meal and preparation with 30ish family members (this year virtually). Only at Christmas in Ireland. Video shot by my son, pyrolytics courtesy of my husband.
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