Lord Inchiquin
 

Carolan was born in County Meath in Ireland. His father John, most likely a small farmer, moved the family to the Roscommon-Leitrim district when Turlough was fourteen and eventually came to work at an iron foundary at Aldersford owned by the McDermott Roe family. Turlough's intelligence impressed Mrs. McDermott Roe, who generously had him educated alongside of her own children until he was eighteen. Then disaster struck and Turlough was blinded by smallpox. In those days music was often the only possible livelihood for the blind, so it was decided to make a harper out of him. After three years of lessons, he was given a horse, a guide, and some money, and sent out on the road as an itinerant harper. Which really wasn't so bad - the harper, like the poet, had always been honored in Ireland and was welcome in the mansions of wealthy landowners. There he would be lavishly feted, and, in exchange, compose a song in praise of the host. After a few days, he would move on to the estate of another rich man. Carolan was thus able to live handsomely, mingle with society's upper crust, and compose many lovely tunes.

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