O’SULLIVAN, Donal. Carolan. The Life Times and Music of an Irish Harper. In two volumes.


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I. The Life and Times and The Music. II. The Notes to the Tunes and The Memoirs of Arthur O’Neill. Illustrated with a colour frontispiece, portraits and musical examples. Two volumes. London: Routledge, 1958. First edition. Super royal octavo. pp.(1) xv, 285, (2) xiii, 200. Half crushed green levant morocco over cloth boards, spine divided into six panels by five gilt raised bands, title and author in gilt direct in the second and fourth, the remainder with a gilt harp in centres; green and gold endbands; cream endpapers. A fine copy. Scarce. €575 Turlough O’Carolan (Toirdhealbhach Ó Cearbhalláin) was born in 1670 near Nobber, County Meath and died March 25, 1738 at the home of his patron Mrs. MacDermott Roe in Alderford, County Roscommon. He was the last Irish harper-composer whose pieces have survived in any significant number. Carolan’s father, John, was either a farmer or a blacksmith. The family moved to Ballyfarnon where John Carolan was employed by the MacDermott Roe family. Mrs. MacDermott befriended the boy and gave him an education. In his early youth he was blinded by smallpox and he adopted music as a career. Carolan married Mary Maguire with whom he settled on a farm near Mohill, County Leitrim. They had seven children, six daughters and a son. His wife died in 1733. There is little record of Carolan’s children. His daughter Siobhan married Captain Sudley and his son published a collection of Carolan’s tunes in 1747.

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