Turlogh O'Carolan - Encyclopedia

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O'CAROLAN (or [[Carolan), Turlogh]] (1670-1738), Irish bard, son of John O'Carolan, a farmer, was born at Newtown, near Nobber, in the county of Meath. The family is said to have belonged to the sept of MacBradaigh, and the bard's great-grandfather was a chieftain. The O'Carolans forfeited their estates during the civil wars, and Turlogh's father settled at Alderford, Co. Roscommon, on the invitation of the family of M'Dermott Roe. In his eighteenth year he became blind from smallpox. He received special instruction in music, and used to wander with his harp round the houses of the surrounding gentry, mainly in Connaught. The famous song Receipt for Drinking may be responsible for the allegation that he was addicted to intemperate drinking, but Charles O'Conor (1710-1791), the antiquary, who had personal knowledge of him, gives him a good character in private life. The number of Carolan's musical pieces, to nearly all of which he composed verses, is said to exceed two hundred. He died on the 25th March 1738, and was buried at Kilronan.

His poetical Remains in the original Irish, with English metrical translations by Thomas Furlong, were printed in Hardiman's Irish Minstrelsy (1831). Many of his songs were preserved among the Irish MSS. in the British Museum.

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