Silver plate brooch in harp design. Legend: Based on the ancient lyre, the Irish harp is one of the world's oldest instruments. The Harp motif commemorates the rich legacy of the Bardic tradition. For a thousand years in his multifaceted role as a poet as a poet and storyteller, teacher and historian, guardian of the law and of the sacred rituals, the Bard was revered throughout Celtic society as a man of wisdom. The ancient Irish kings employed harpists to entertain them. At one point in Irish history, conquering invaders made it illegal to possess an Irish harp and set out to burn every harp in Ireland in an attempt to kill the "Irish spirit." Successors to the Bards, wandering poets and storytellers played a unique role of preserving and nurturing our Celtic identity. Today, greatly honoured, the harp is the national emblem of Ireland.