Carolan's Death

At the end of his life Carolan returned to the house of his old friend and patron, Maire Mac Dermottroe at Alderford House. He composed and played for her his final piece of music, Carolan's Farewell to Music

Carolan's Farewell to Music

When Carolan felt his death was near he returned to the house of his patron Mrs MacDermott Roe at Alderford. He composed and played his final piece of music there called Carolan's Farewell to Music. Carolan died in March 1738.

Courtesy of Dearbhail Finnegan

 . There he died in 1738, mourned by the entire community. His former patron and music pupil Charles O Connor recorded his passing with sadness: "Saturday, the 25th day of March, 1738, Turlough O Carolan, the wise master and the chief musician of the whole of Ireland, died today and was buried in the O Duignans' church of Kilronan, the sixth-eighth year of his age. May his soul find mercy, for he was moral and religious man."

Writing to a friend after Carolan's death O Connor's sense of loss is evident: "When will Carolan appear? I long for his resurrection. In his lifetime he and I had many serious and many bagatelle conversations. Ludicrous tales made him happy, and my supplying him with many made me a great favourite with him."

Anglo-Ireland felt his loss also. In 1740, two years after Carolan's death, the Dublin poet Laurence Whyte lamented his passing in a poem on Italian and Irish music. The poet regards Carolan as irreplaceable and sees the native tradition which he represented as outmoded.

He saluted Carolan thus:

The greatest genius in his way An Orpheus, who could sing and play, So great a Bard where can we find Like him illiterate, and blind.

Carolan's harp can be seen in Clonalis House, Castlerea.

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