Turlough O'Carolan

Information Page 4




The music playing on this page is Planxty Irwin
Sequenced by Barry Taylor





Dr. John Hart, Bishop of Achonry

  • Midi File (Single Track Melody)
    Lesley Nelson-Burns
  • Midi File (Full Arrangement)
    From Ancient and Modern Songs of Ireland for Piano
    See bibliography for full information.
    Lesley Nelson-Burns

  • Dr. John Hart became Bishop of Achonry on September 30, 1735. His successor was appointed in August 1739. Two of the verses Carolan composed (Gaelic) survive which express the desire that Dr. Hart become Bishop, so the air was composed prior to 1735.

    Under the Penal Laws, Dr. Hart, a Catholic, was forbidden to own land. He, like many others, placed his property, Cloonmahon of County Sligo, in trust with a Protestant neighbor named Betteridge. Betteridge repudiated the trust and took the land. Without recourse, Dr. Hart was taken in by another Protestant neighbor, O'Hara of Annaghbeg.

    The bishop was known for his hospitality and kindness. He reportedly released caged birds whenever possible and legend has it that when Dr. Hart died all the birds in the area assembled and sang his requiem.

    Charles O'Conor (a contemporary of Dr. Hart) states that Carolan's composition honoring Dr. Hart was suppressed.

Lady Blayney

  • Midi File (Single Track Melody)
    Lesley Nelson-Burns
  • Midi File (Full Arrangement)
    From Ancient and Modern Songs of Ireland for Piano
    See bibliography for full information.
    Lesley Nelson-Burns

  • The Blayney family was founded by Edward Blayney. He had served in Spain and in the Lowlands and accompanied the Earl of Essex to Ireland in 1598. He was at the siege of Kinsale in 1601 and became Governor of Mount Moris that year. He was knighted at Dublin Castle in 1603 and became seneschal of County Monaghan in 1604. In 1621 he was named Lord Blayney, Baron of Monaghan.

    Lady Blayney probably refers to Mary, wife of the sixth baron. She was the daughter of William Caulfield, 1st earl of Charlemont and was the widow of Arthur Dillon of County Meath when she married Lord Blayney in 1686.

    Her husband succeeded to the title in 1689 and attended King Jame's Irish Parliament, but later fled to England. With King William's victory his estates were restored. He served as the Governor of Monaghan and Governor of Sligo and served in the Irish House of Lords. He died on January 3, 1705. Lady Blayney died on August 8, 1724.

Colonel O'Hara

  • Midi File (Single Track Melody)
    Lesley Nelson-Burns
  • Midi File (Full Arrangement)
    From Ancient and Modern Songs of Ireland for Piano
    See bibliography for full information.
    Lesley Nelson-Burns

  • The Colonel O'Hara of the tune was probably Sir Charles O'Hara. Sir Charles was a native of Mayo. He was an officer in Spain and on January 10, 1706 was raised to the peerage of Ireland as Baron Tyrawly. He commanded a wing at the battle of Almanza and remained on the Pennisula until the end of the war. Later he was commander-in-chief of Ireland's forces. He died at the age of eighty-four on June 8, 1724.

Carolan's Dream

  • Midi File (Single Track Melody)
    Lesley Nelson-Burns
  • Midi File (Full Arrangement)
    Alan Faichney

  • This is listed in Hardiman's list of Carolan's tunes, but O'Sullivan did not credit him with its composition. It was, however, one of Carolan's favorite tunes and he may have modified it. According to Bunting, the air was composed by William Connellan under the name of Molly MacAlpin and Carolan is reported to have said he would have rather have composed Moly MacAlpin than any melody he himself had composed. The oldest printed version of the tune is named Molly Halfpenny. (MacAlpin evolved into Halpin and then into Halfpenny.) The melody is mislabled as Carolan's Farewell to Music in several sources, including Thomas Mooney's History of Ireland (1846). The tune was also used by Thomas Moore for Remember the Glories of Brien the Brave.

Plantxy Burke

  • Midi File (Single Track Melody)
    Lesley Nelson-Burns
  • Midi File (Full Arrangement)
    From Ancient and Modern Songs of Ireland for Piano
    See bibliography for full information.
    Lesley Nelson-Burns

  • This is sometimes printed in different times. It appears in one manuscript in 6/4 time titled Planksty, and in another in 6/4 time but under the title Planxty McDermott.

  • The Burkes here are the same family for which Carolan composed Isabella and Thomas Burke. According to Hardiman they were a family living near Castlebar. The member of King James's Parliament of 1689 for Castlebar was Sir Thomas Bourk, Esq. and Sullivan feels this is likely the family of these three tunes.

The Faerie Queen

  • Midi File (Single Track Melody)
    Lesley Nelson-Burns
  • Midi File (Full Arrangement)
    Dave Carroll
  • Mp3 File
    Performed by Much Adieu, arranged by Dave Carroll,
    Here by kind permission from Dave Carroll.
    This arrangement is copyrighted and may not be distributed without permission from Dave Carroll.
    (Turn off or stop your midi plug in before playing the mp3 file!)

  • Bunting states that this is not an original airy by Carolan, but was adapted from an original melody. Versions of the original melody have variously been given as O Save Me From Death, Hide Me From Death, My Love and Treasure and as Ciste no Stor: Coffers nor Stores. Bunting notes under Coffers that "this very ancient air seems to have been the original of Carolan's Fairy Queen, the only difference being that Carolan has added two more parts to it, in which way it was generally palyed by the harpers." He notes a printed copy of 1725 was obtained from "the late Dcotor Matthew Young, afterwards Bishop of Clonfert."

  • The tune also sometimes appears under the title Awake the Harp's Slumber, a song in English which was printed in Crosby's Irish Musical Repository (1808).


The information on the tunes is from
Carolan: The Life and Times of an Irish Harper
Donal O'Sullivan
Published by Celtic Music
Louth, Lincolnshire, England
1991, (First published in 1958)



Back to List of Tunes in Midi Format
Main Carolan Page
Biographical Information
List of The Complete Works of Carolan
Timeline
Discography of Carolan Albums
Other Web Pages with Carolan Info or Related Interests



Visit the Contemplator's Folk Music Page