Turlough O'Carolan (1670–1738) was a blind early Irish
harper, composer and singer whose great fame is due to
his gift for melodic composition. He was the last great
Irish harper-composer and is considered by many to be
Ireland's national composer. Harpers in the old Irish
tradition were still living as late as 1792, as ten,
including Arthur O'Neill, Patrick Quin and Donnchadh Ó
Hámsaigh, showed up at the Belfast Harp Festival, but
there is no proof of any of these being composers. Ó
Hámsaigh did play some of Carolan's music but disliked
it for being too modern. Some of O'Carolan's own
compositions show influence from the style of
continental classical music, whereas others such as
Carolan's Farewell to Music reflect a much older style
of "Gaelic Harping".
The Mrs. Crofton referred to is Elizabeth Robinson
Crofton, who married James Crofton. This tune was
composed around the time of their marriage, circa 1732.
James was the third son of Edward Crofton, a Justice of
the Peace in Sligo. He fell in love with Elizabeth, the
daughter of Captain Edward Robinson. She, however, was
Protestant, and his father opposed the match. When
James decided to become a Protestant in order to marry
her, his father threatened to disinherit him. James
replied that he would turn informer and claim a
forfeiture of the family estate. His father would not
give into the threat. James was "conformed February 20,
1731/2 and filed a Bill in Chancery against his father.
James, thereby obtained the family estate. James' two
elder brothers left for France. One became an
Archbishop and the other Governor of La Hogue. James
Crofton died in 1755.
I created this arrangement for Concert (Pedal) Harp.