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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ireland's Famous Bard, Thomas Moore (1779-1852)


Poet, lyricist and musician Thomas Moore, who wrote compelling lyrics to many of Ireland's ancient melodies, died on this day on February 25, 1852.

His ten-volume collection of Moore's Melodies, published between 1808 and 1834, helped revitalize interest in Irish music that was in danger of being marginalized and forgotten. 

For a full story on Moore's achievements, read Ireland's Minstrel Boy Gets His Encore in the Irish Echo.

In Boston, Moore's Melodies quickly found their way into the city's musical community; with several of his songs published as early as 1811.  His songs, especially Last Rose of Summer, were performed as part of Boston's musical repertoire by famous visiting performers like singer Jenny Lind and violinist Ole Bull.

Upon learning of his death in 1852, Patrick Donahoe and other Boston leaders formed a Thomas Moore Club to perpetuate his music.  In 1869, Patrick S. Gilmore featured Moore's songs in the National Peace Jubilee, alongside composers like Handel and Mozart.

In 1879, on the 100th anniversary of Moore's birth, poet John Boyle O'Reilly presided over a banquet at the Parker House honoring his fellow-countryman.  O'Reilly called Moore "an original poet of splendid imagination.....he found scattered over Ireland, mainly hidden in the cabins of the poor, pieces of antique gold, inestimable jewels that were purely Irish....These jewels were the old Irish airs - those exquisite fabrics which Moore raised into matchless beauty in his delicious melodies."

For more about Boston's Irish heritage, visit IrishHeritageTrail.com.

To find year round cultural activities as well as pubs and restaurants, gift shops, hotels, museums and concert venues, visit IrishBoston.org.