Turlough O'Carolan

Information Page




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





174 or Planxty Safaigh

  • Midi File (Single Line Melody)
    George Speller
  • Midi File (Full Arrangement)
    Harold Doolan

  • There is no further information about this tune in my sources.

Carolan's Concerto

  • Midi File (Single Line Melody)
    Lesley Nelson-Burns
  • Midi File (Full Arrangement)
    Barry Taylor
  • Music in GIF Format

  • This tune is also called Mrs. Power. Mrs. Power, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Keating, was the wife of David Power of Coorheen. The tune is purported to have come about from a rivalry between Carolan and possibly Geminiani when both may have been guests of Lord Mayo. However, the title indicates that it was probably composed at Coorheen in honor of the wife of David Power.

Carolan's Welcome

  • 171 (Carolan's Welcome) (Single Line Melody)
    Lesley Nelson-Burns
  • Midi File 1 (Full Arrangement)
    Barry Taylor
  • Midi File 2 (Full Arrangement)
    Anonymous
  • Midi File 3 (Full Arrangement)
    Tim Meighan

  • This is untitled tune 171 in O'Sullivan's biography of Carolan, but is commonly referred to as Carolan's Welcome. The untitled tunes were probably composed for patrons, but the names have been lost. Many of the untitled tunes have been given incorrect names, other tunes have never been given a title in available literature.

Hewlett

  • Midi File (Single Line Melody)
    Lesley Nelson-Burns
  • Midi File (Full Arrangement)
    Barry Taylor
  • Music in GIF Format

  • There is a verse in Gaelic only. It is evidently a "lively drinking song".

Colonel John Irwin (Planxty Irwin)

  • Midi File (Single Line Melody)
    Lesley Nelson-Burns
  • Midi File 1 (Full Arrangement)
    Barry Taylor
  • Midi File 2 (Full Arrangement)
    John Renfro Davis, Cut-n-Shoot
  • Music in GIF Format

  • This was composed for Col. John Irwin of Tanrego House, situated on Ballysodare Bay . The song was probably composed after the Peace of Utrecht (1713) because the verses speak of Col. Irwin as a young man when Col. Irwin would have been home from the wars. Col. Irwin was born in 1680 and died in 1752. He was High Sheriff of Sligo in 1731.

  • Lyrics
      We will take our way without delay
      To see a Noble, brave and gay,
      The gallant Colonel near the sea,
      Him I mean to treat of;
      With mirth and joy he fills his glasses,
      Delights to cheer both lads and lasses,
      This is John I will answer
      The brave English Irelander.

180 (Planxty Maggie Browne)

  • Midi File (Single Line Melody)
    Lesley Nelson-Burns
  • Midi File (Full Arrangement)
    Barry Taylor
  • Music in GIF Format

  • This tune was identified in Captain Francis O'Neill's Music of Ireland, published in 1903. O'Sullivans biography questions the validity of several tunes identified in that work as Carolan, and states the titles are often incorrect. Although O'Sullivan could not trace this tune he feels that thse it was probably composed by Carolan though the title is "almost certainly not authentic". He therefore categorizes it with the untitled tunes.

Planxty Fanny Poer (Fanny Power)

  • Midi File
    Barry Taylor

  • This tune is also called Mrs. Trench. Fanny (Frances) Power was an heiress, daughter of David and Elizabeth Power of Coorheen, Loughrea (for whom Carolan wrote Carolan's Concerto or Mrs. Power). In 1732 Fanny married Richard Trench of Gerbally, County Gallway. The tune was probably composed before her wedding because the second verse (the Gaelic lyrics) Carolan expresses hope he will live to dance at her wedding.

  • Lyrics
  • The lyrics below were written by Thomas Davis. The poem, "Bright Fairies by Glengarriff's Bay", was written shortly before his death in 1845, in praise of Annie Hutton, his sweetheart:

      Her eyes are darker than Dunloe,
      Her soul is whiter than the snow,
      Her tresses like arbutus flow,
      Her step like frightened deer
      Then still thy wave, capricious lake,
      And ceaseless, soft winds round her wake,
      Yet never bring a cloud to break
      The smile of Fanny dear!

Morgan Magan

  • Midi File (Single Line Melody)
    Lesley Nelson-Burns
  • Midi File (Full Arrangement)
    John Renfro Davis, Cut-n-Shoot
  • Music in GIF Format

  • This tune was composed in honor of Morgan Magan of Togherstown, County Westmeath, who died in 1738. He was a younger son of Morgan Magan of Clony, County Westmeath. His sister Susannah married Sir Arthur Shaen, who is the subject of another of Carolan's tunes.

John Stafford or Carolan's Receipt

Blind Mary

  • Midi File (Single Line Melody)
    Lesley Nelson-Burns
  • Midi File (Full Arrangement)
    Barry Taylor
  • Music in GIF Format

  • This tune is not typical of Carolan's style, but is attributed to him in William Forde's Encyclopedia of Melody. According to Charles O'Connor's diary in October 1726 his two younger brothers were being taught the harp by a woman named Maire Dhall (Blind Mary). It is likely she ws well known to Carolan, who wrote the tune for her.

Sheebeg and Sheemore

John Drury, First Air

  • Midi File (Single Line Melody)
    Lesley Nelson-Burns
  • Midi File (Full Arrangement)
    Harold Doolan

  • This tune was written in 1724 to celebrate the marriage of John Drury and Elizabeth Goldsmith. John Drury was the elder son of Lieutenant Edward Drury of Kingsland, at Lough Gara, near Boyle, County Roscommon. The Drurys were an influencial family who traced their ancestry back to Sir William Drury, Lord Deputy of Ireland during Queen Elizabeth's reign. The Goldsmiths were "a rather humble family" (Drury quoted in O'Sullivan, 28) and the lyrics include praise for those who marry for love rather than money. Unfortunately John Drury died about a year after his marriage. He left one daughter who inherited the Drury property and passed it to her husband. According to the sources in O'Sullivan the Drury family fortune thereafter dissipated.
  • The lyrics are in Gaelic only.

George Brabazon, Second Air

  • Midi File (Single Line Melody)
    George Speller
  • Midi File (Arrangement)
    Harold Doolan

  • According to O'Sullivan this tune was probably composed toward the end of Carolan's career. The subject of the drinking song is George Brabazon of New Park, in the barony of Gallen and parish of Kilconduff, County Mayo, He was a bachelor at the time the song was composed. He was descended from Sir William Brabazon, Lord Treasurer and Lord Chief Justice of Ireland during Henry VIII reign. The grandson of the George Brabazon of this tune died unmarried in 1840 and the baronetcy became extinct.
  • The lyrics are in Gaelic only.

Gerald Dillon

  • Midi File (Single Line Melody)
    Lesley Nelson-Burns
  • Midi File (Full Arrangement)
    Harold Doolan

  • This tune is also called Planxty Dillon. Captain Gerald Dillon of Mannin, near Ballyhaunis, County Mayo was the father of Fanny Dillon who was the subject of another of Carolan's tune. They are apparently not related to the Lord and Lady Dillon for whom Carolan also composed tunes.
  • The lyrics are in Gaelic only.

Eleanor Plunkett

Loftus Jones

  • Midi File (Single Line Melody)
    Lesley Nelson-Burns
  • Midi File 1 (Full Arrangement)
    Barry Taylor
  • Midi File 2 (Full Arrangement)
    Richard Jordan

  • According to O'Sullivan this tune was probably composed toward the end of Carolan's career, because Loftus Jones was a young man the year of Carolan's death. Loftus Jones was the son of Thomas and Susanna Jones of Ardnaglass, County Sligo. He married Jane Henry, the daughter of a rich Dublin banker in 1740. She died in Italy in 1754. Loftus Jones died in 1781.

Luke Dillon

  • Luke Dillon (Single Line Melody)
    Lesley Nelson-Burns
  • Luke Dillon (Full Arrangement)
    Barry Taylor

  • Luke Dillon was probably of Clonbrook, County Galway. He married the daughter of Sir John Burke of Glinsk, 4th baronet. After his first wife's death he married, in 1714, a widow named Ellis.

Charles O'Conor

  • Midi File (Single Line Melody)
    Lesley Nelson-Burns
  • Music in GIF Format

  • Charles O'Conor (1710-1790) was the eldest son of Denis and Mary O'Conor of Belangare who were the subjects of other tunes. Charles O'Conor studied the harp and learned turnes from several harpers, including Carolan. Entries in his diary of 1729 include several referencing Carolan. Carolan was 59 when he when he spent time at Belangare. He wrote of Carolan later, "In his lifetime he and I had many batgatelle conversations. Ludicrous tales made him happy and my supplying him with many made me a great favourite with him." In spite of those words an entry in his O'Conor's diary writes, "I got 'Squire Jones' from him to-day, and no thanks to him for that." (O'Sullivan, v. 1 62-63)

Lady Athenry

  • Midi File (Single Line Meldoy)
    George Speller
  • Midi File (Full Arrangement)
    Barry Taylor
  • Music in GIF Format

  • According to O'Sullivan, Lady Athenry was Lady Mary Nuget (1694-1725), daughter of Thomas, 4rth Early of Westmeath. On September 22, 1716 she married Francis Bermingham, 21st Baron of Athenry. Shortly after the death of his father in 1692 Francis Bermingham became protestant and took a seat in the Irish House of Lords in 1713. He died in 1749, succeeded by his son Thomas who died without issue in 1799.

    During Carolan's time Lord Athenry lived at Athenry Castle at Bermingham Demesne, near Tuam, County Galway. Lord Athenry's family name was Bermingham. They were descended from Meyler de Bermingham who was the third in command of Strongbow's expedition in 1170. His son Piers was the 1st Baron of Athenry, given the title after the battle of the Ford of Kings (so named because the King of Hy Maine and the King of Connacht were slain). The line is usually referred to as the Mac Fheorais (son of Piers) rather than Bermingham. During Tudor times Sir John de Bermingham founded a Francisan monestary (1325) near Thetmoy in Offaly which was their principal residence at the time. The district became known as Mainister Fheorais (Piers's Abbey), or Castropetre. (O'Sullivan, 5)

Frank Palmer

  • Midi File (Single Line Melody)
    Lesley Nelson-Burns
  • Music in GIF Format

  • This tune was composed for three people, Roger Palmer of Palmerstown, County Mayo, his wife Mary Browne and their son, Francis (Frank) who is referred to in the Gaelic lyrics as "Colonel Palmer." Carolan is also supposed to have composed individual tunes to Mrs. Palmer, Frank Palmer and Roger Palmer, but they are lost.

    Roger Palmer and Mary Browne were married c. 1717-1724 and Roger died in 1750. Mrs. Palmer was the sister (or aunt) or Sr. John Browne of the Neale, 5th Baronet, who was tried for killing his neighbor, Robert Miller, in a duel. In 1749 he was convicted of manslaughter and sentened to six months in prison and to be "burnt in the hand at the bar of the King's Bench" (O'Sullivan, v. 2, 91)



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





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