25 March-Turlough O’Carolan

Turlough O’Carolan was a harpist, composer and singer who was a native of Co Meath Ireland. He was the composer of over 200 songs, most of which were written in Irish. O’Carolan spent most of his life as a travelling harpist. He travelled all over Ireland composing tunes for his patrons.

Turlough O’Carolan was born in Nobber, Co Meath in 1670. Some accounts say he was born in Newton, Co Westmeath. When he was fourteen his family moved to Ballyfarnon in Northern Co Roscommon. O’Carolan’s father was employed by the MacDermott Roe family of Alderford House near Ballyfarnon. O’Carolan received an education from Mrs MacDermott Roe.

At the age of 18 O’Carolan was blinded by smallpox. During the following three years he was taught how to play the harp. Mrs MacDermott Roe then provided him with a horse and guide so he could become an itinerant harpist. For over 40 years O’Carolan travelled around Ireland composing tunes for his patrons. In early 1738 he began to feel ill. He returned to Alderford House where he died and is buried in the MacDermott Roe family crypt.

Turlough O’Carolan died in the year 1738 On This Day.

Carolan Statue




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