Nancy Lyon
Travel Journalist & Photographer

How Nancy Lyon landed in Inverness, Photo by Gordon Mooney

...and Celtic Harper

Nancy Lyon was marked for adventure at 13 when her mother, a bored Midwestern housewife, grabbed the family station wagon and her four daughters and took them off from Indianapolis, Indiana to Acapulco, Mexico for the summer with "no man, no plan, and no Spanish." Nancy has ever since tried to top that rollicking rite of passage with travels from Tunisia to Malaysia, Ireland to Australia, road adventures in a 1970 VW Westphalia Dame Gitane and various lives in Manhattan, San Francisco, Switzerland, Dublin, Montreal, Quebec and now Inverness, Scotland.

Her travel stories and photos have appeared in GEO , New York Magazine, Ms., The New York Times, Travel & Leisure Magazine, The Saturday Review of Literature, The Chicago Herald Tribune , The Miami Herald , In Dublin Magazine, the Montreal Gazette, and alternative newsweeklies in Canada and the US.

Author Paul William Roberts in the Toronto Star called her first book, Scatter the Mud: A Traveler's Medley, "an impressive literary debut, with prose by turns as frenetic as a Galway barroom jig, or as balefully evocative as the most mournful Celtic ballad."

Read some more of her travel adventures.


Nancy is an active member of SATW, the Society of American Travel Writers



Nancy Lyon's 1970 Volkswagen camper van, Dame Gitane.  montage by Michel Gougeon

One fateful night in 1973, while working on the staff of New York Magazine, Nancy was bewitched by the wild strains of the Celtic harp. One thing lead to another, and soon after, she enrolled in a woodworking class and built a harp based on the 14th Century Brian Boru harp displayed in Trinity College Harp in Dublin, Ireland.

Since then, Nancy's wire-strung Clarsach has been her passport to adventure for travels throughout Europe, America and Canada performing in folk clubs, concerts, festivals, for radio and TV and on street corners from New York's Fifth Avenue to Dublin's Grafton Street, and Inverness' colorful Victorian Market.


Nancy Lyon on the Isle of Skye, with the Celtic harp she built. Photo by Gordon Mooney

Nancy's life is a pendulum swing between travel writing and playing Irish, Scottish, Breton and Quebecois music - her passions. She is thrilled whenever the two happily collide.

Nancy Lyon with purple harp by Edward Rusnak, Valhalla Harps, Montreal; wire-strung  clarsach made by Nancy in 1975; cross-strung Isabel harp by Stoney End Harps, Red Wing, Minnesota


If you would like to contact Nancy,
please write to her at oddscotland@gmail.com