The Orangery, Kilruddery House, Bray, Co Wicklow.
Oisin Costello introduces Wicklow in Song
The programme consisted of selections of songs from Thomas Moores’s Irish Melodies, many of his songs having Wicklow associations, song compositions by early 20th Century Wicklow Woman, Ina Boyle and traditional Irish music from Irish Harpist Anne Marie O’Farrell’s own compositions and those of Hamilton Harty, long term Bray resident.
Following an introduction to Moore’s Melodies by Allan Gregory of the Irish Byron Society, the repertoire of Moore’s Melodies and the compositions of Ina Boyle were performed by Irish Soprano, Regina Nathan. Regina’s career spanned many leading roles in Opera Theatres throughout Europe, she also performed with Faith of Our Fathers in Carnegie Hall, New York. Ireland’s leading Harpist, Anne Marie O’Farrell performed accompaniment during Moore’s “Harp” Melodies, while also performing a repertoire of her own compositions along with those of past Wicklow Resident and, Hamilton Harty.
Thomas Moore, 1779-1852
Moore’s song, Vale of Avoca, or Meeting of the Waters is perhaps the most widely known of The Melodies, evoking the natural beauty of Wicklow especially at the meeting of the waters in Avoca, where the Avonbeg and Avonmore rivers meet. It was a song much beloved (and given a worldwide audience) by Count John McCormack.
Has Sorrow Thy Young Days Shaded refers to Wicklow’s very own Gold Rush which took place in 1796, it is known to have filled a small number of local pockets before being commandeered by local government, the location never saw the same quantities found thereafter.
The Minstrel Boy and She is Far From the Land are attributed to Robert Emmet, a personal friend of Moore who took to the Wicklow Hills shortly after 1798, Emmet was executed for his leading role in a Dublin rebellion in 1803.
Silent O’Moyle is one of innumerable songs from Moore’s collection featured in James Joyce’ Ulysses. Joyce, a trained singer himself was a Wicklow resident from 1887 to 1891, living on Marine Terrace at the harbour end of Bray, County Wicklow’s Seafront.
Ina Boyle, Wicklow born Composer, 1889-1967
Ina Boyle was a native of Enniskerry, Co Wicklow and prolific composer of the early Twentieth Century; at a time when music was a medal discipline in the Olympics she received honourable mention. The programme featured song compositions, Sleep Song, A Mountain Woman Asks for Quiet, If You Let Sorrow In On You, and Blessing, based on the poem by Austin Clarke. An exhibition of her works took place in the Trinity College Main Library, home also to the Book of Kells, in the months preceding the event. Dr Ita Beausang, currently writing Ina Boyles biography kindly gave an introduction to the songs featured on the night. You can hear a radio documentary about the life and times of Ina Boyle by following the link, Ina Boyle.