Ireland postcard: Open Hearts and Playing Harps, by Jayne Demakos


Thanks to all of you who supported my whirlwind two week trip in Ireland this past summer, the center of the planet for harp music. When my abstract “Therapeutic Harp and End-of-Life care; Advanced Pain Management” was accepted at the annual Kaleidoscope Palliative Care conference in Dublin, Ireland, my lovely benefactors (a couple who live in Dublin but have ties in the Finger Lakes), set up an intense schedule.

I was deeply honored to present my paper at the international conference, attended by about 200 people and then in two health care facilities. I also gave interviews for two radio programs (see the link below). I was invited to visit skilled nursing facilities where the staff and residents completely charmed me by belting out their beloved traditional Irish songs with full voices. After a deeply engaged meeting with the School Manager of Nursing & Midwifery   at Trinity College, discussing the field of therapeutic harp, he lead me ahead of the lines to see the amazing historical Book of Kelles. Finally, I facilitated an all day GriefSong workshop (building a vocal community in the face of loss) and gave a performance of sacred music in Goldie Chapel in Cork. Whew! I returned home with much gratitude for the opportunity, experiences, conversations and most importantly, the relationships formed that I hope to sustain and build upon to further a culture of music in medicine.


Jayne Demakos