at the summit of Uisneach, County Westmeath, Ireland

llamh Conchobar Clarsair (pronounced "Olov Conor Clarsheer" - the name means "Master Conor the harper") is an Irish musician and artist. He is from Baile an Doire Crannog in Clonlonan in Mide in the center of Eire. In the time of Conchobar's persona - 1150 AD, according to the monks, Baile an Doire means "the hold of the oaks" (modernly spelled Ballinderry). It is right off the "Eiscir Riada" - "the riding ridge", which is the main east-west track between Dublin and Galway. Nearby are the monastic community of Clonmacnoise, where the great bridge across the River Shannon is; and the Hill of Uisneach, where the twin Beltaine fires were lit every year. In the 1200's, the Anglo-Norman invaders would build a "motte and bailey" castle, after which the adjacent town of Moate (2 miles from Baile an Doire) is named.

onchobar is a member of both the Order of the Laurel and the Order of the Pelican. His current projects are to build an Irish "round house" as a tent, and to make a replica of the Ballinderry Harp. He composes many of the harp pieces he plays, and also plays many period pieces. Here's Conchobar's Laurel ceremony, "SCA resumé" and some recent projects.

oth Ollamh Conchobar and his lady, Banbharún Líadan inghean uí Séaghdha are dedicated to the preservation of the Old Ways of their Irish ancestors. They have been members of the SCA for 24 years. Their interests include beading , brewing, costuming, music, jewelry making, leatherworking, weaving, glass beadmaking, woodworking and various other Arts and Crafts. They live in the Barony of Three Mountains in An Tir, where the weather is remarkably like that of their native Ireland, and the name of the kingdom is familiar, since it means "The Land" in Irish. They are members of the royal house of Ulfredsheim, who are some of the greatest folks in the Knowne World, besides being a total blast to camp with.

Per fess enarched Sable and Verte,
two flames and a harp Or

This represents the Hill of Uisneach with the Beltaine fires
and of course, the clairseach, the ancient Irish harp

Principality Ring




Bob Woods has been a computer artist for over 20 years, has had several pieces of art in national magazines and many galleries, and is a commercial web designer. He is the webmaster here at, and has a background in publishing, photography and woodworking. He and his wife, Sam Murphy, have travelled to Ireland and England for vacation (otherwise known as persona research). His ancestors are from County Westmeath in Ireland, where Ballinderry Crannog and the Hill of Uisneach are located, and her father was born in Carrick-on-Suir, Ireland.
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Sun Dec 07, 2003

Yuletide happenings

We've been busy the last several weeks. Liadan has finished the tunic she made for Crown Princess Asa, in red linen with Norse applique on the arms. We've shifted now to the feast season and getting ready for Estrella. I played harp at Yule Feast last night, and will play again at Aefflaed's Laurel vigil tomorrow night and Stromgard's Yule next weekend. Attended Brigitta's Pel vigil last weekend. Much painting of tent is going on right now. More...

Thu Nov 27, 2003

Crown Council

I drove up to Spokane a couple weekends ago for Crown Council, traveling with Dame Mira and her 5-month old daughter. Attended my first Kingdom-level Laurel meeting, and made a presentation. Saw some really nice stuff at the artisan's display in the hall, Wealdsmere and area has some talented folks doing great work. Contracted for my Laurel scroll with Viscountess Inga from Avacal after I saw some samples of her work. More...

Mon Nov 03, 2003


We had our eighth Samhain event this weekend. We arrived in time for the audience of Their Excellencies Titus and Kateline. Provided a little background music for that and then went downstairs and did an impromptu jam session with Heather the Incorrigible and her friend Catherine, playing Irish flute and pennywhistle, while I played harp and bodhran. The feast was next, including a roast peacock that was carried in and presented to the high table, and covered in it's own feathers. The bird was skinned with the feathers intact, and they were placed over the roasted bird. Very impressive. Feast was followed by Baronial court, did a little music for that, and then a harp, bodhran and fiddle jam with Rachel ni Dunne afterwards.

Mon Oct 20, 2003

Amergin's Revenge

I had great fun at Amergin's this year, although the shoe was on the other foot, as I was judging this year instead of competing. I had just competed at Kingdom Bardic, so all the thoughts about judging competitors was fresh in mind. Aodhan, a fellow harper, was the winner.

It's not an easy job to rate a performance, as it's so subjective. Probably the hardest part is to give constructive criticism. You have to walk a fine line between not hurting someone unnecessarily, and telling them how to improve. Luckily, most of the performances were good, and in fact, the competition was the closest I've ever seen - one point out of over 500 between the top 2 performers and less than 25 between all 4 overall competitors. Master Lonergan and Lady Niara, last year's winner, were my fellow judges.

One of the other things I'm becoming aware of is that as a Laurel, your words carry a little more weight than they did before. You find yourself choosing your words carefully when giving criticism because you want to encourage, not discourage. You see yourself in the place of the performer or artisan, because that's where you were just a year or two ago. Kindness and consideration temper your judgement, since the last thing you want to do is to diminish their spark of joy in their art. And it's a great thing to watch someone grow and bloom as time goes on.

Tue Sep 30, 2003

Kingdom Bardic

I went to the first Kingdom of An Tir Bardic Competition last weekend. It was a good competition, and the first time I've competed at Kingdom level. Good performances by everyone, and I especially enjoyed talking to the judges afterwards. I knew going in that my documentation was weak, and this was reinforced by the judges. This is what constructive criticism is all about, you learn from it. My thanks to all who worked so hard at this event. And also to Leuke verch Meyler, who gave me crash space at her house.

Sun Sep 14, 2003

A Fun Picnic

Had a great time yesterday at the Baronial picnic. The weather was beautiful, and lots of folks turned out, including several "old-timers" I haven't seen in years. It was billed as the "Three Mountains Family Reunion", and it was very successful. It was an afternoon for socialization, and I got the chance to talk with many friends, old and new. We had a short court for fealty swearings and a dessert potluck for folks to munch on. A fun afternoon!

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