Carolan [Carrallan, Carrollan, Carrollini, O'Carolan], Turlough [Ó Cearbhalláin, Toirdhealbhach]
- Gráinne Yeats
(b nr Nobber, Co. Meath, 1670; d Ballyfarnon, Co. Roscommon, 1738). Irish harper and composer. He was one of the numerous harpers who made their living as itinerant musicians; he was probably the last of them to compose, and is the only one about whom much is known. His father, John Carolan, was a subsistence farmer or possibly a blacksmith. When Carolan was about 14, the family moved to Ballyfarnon, where John Carolan was employed by the McDermott Roe family of Alderford House. Mrs McDermott Roe took an interest in the boy and gave him some education. When he was blinded by smallpox at the age of 18, she had him apprenticed to a harper also called McDermott Roe. She maintained him during three years of study, and when at 21 he was deemed a finished pupil she provided him with a guide, a horse and some money, so that he could begin his professional career....