Search This Blog

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Irish Bard Thomas Moore (1779-1852)


Irish poet, lyricist and musician Thomas Moore, who wrote compelling lyrics to many of Ireland's ancient melodies, died on this day of 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, particularly 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, Boston Pilot publisher Patrick Donahoe and other leaders formed a Thomas Moore Club to perpetuate his music.  In 1869 and 1872, Patrick S. Gilmore featured Moore's songs at the National and International Peace Jubilees, 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."

Professor James Flannery of Emory University, who published a book and CD of Moore's songs called, Dear Harp of My Country, said, "The real importance of Moore is that he envisioned a better future for Ireland, even while facing the bitter realities of the present." 

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.