The Port Path, or The Cliff Walk, Portstewart, Northern Ireland. A Celtic legend says that this is the place where the first Irish harp was invented, when the Bann estuary was called Inverglass. A man and his wife were living contentedly on the banks of the Bann but suddenly one day, the wife took a fit of rage. She railed against her husband and ran away to the seashore at Portstewart. Sometime before, a whale had been washed up on the beach and all that was left of it was its skeleton with some sinews stretched between the bones of its ribs. When the wind blew, it stirred the sinews and made sweet sounds that lulled the wife into a deep sleep. Her distressed husband was out looking for her for days and eventually found her asleep on the sand. He realised that it was the music of the whalebones and sinews that had calmed her. Later she awoke and her husband took her gently by the hand and led her home. The next day he went into the woods, cut down a bent branch and strung it with animal sinews. After that, when his wife was distressed, he played on his new instrument and all was calm again.
This might seem like a lovely legend, but a whale was washed ashore on the strand in 1992 and who’s to say that another whale wasn’t the inspiration for the symbolic instrument of Ireland, two thousand years ago?