McCarthy: The Book Of Irish Ballads

Pdf McCarthy, D.F., The Book Of Irish Ballads, Dublin: James Duffy, 1846
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The Book Of Irish Ballads by Denis Florence McCarthy published in 1846 is a collection of Irish songs divided into different sections according to genre.

The collection includes songs about the fairy mythology, legends, superstitions and customs of Ireland. Other sections have historical and descriptive ballads, love ballads and political ballads.

Generally Irish political ballads commemorate Irish rebellions and Irish rebel heroes. The ballads are written by a wide range of contemporary authors. Among the contributors are Charles Gavan Duffy, Samuel Ferguson and McCarthy himself.

Denis Florence MacCarthy (1817 - 1882) Irish poet, translator, and biographer was born in Lower O'Connell Street, Dublin and was educated at Maynooth College. As a priest he learned Spanish and travelled to Spain where he would translate poetry into the English language.

From an early age he wrote verse which he sent to the magazine the Dublin Satirist. When Charles Gavan Duffy, the Irish nationalist politician, founded The Nation in 1842, McCarthy was among a group of writers whose works were printed. McCarthy used the pseudonym ‘Desmond.’

McCarthy never practiced as a barrister though he was called to the bar in 1846. At this time he edited two books, The Poets and Dramatists of Ireland and The Book of Irish Ballads. They were both accompanied by essays on history, religion and ballad poetry. A third book Ballads, Poems, and Lyrics appeared in 1850.

Later McCarthy became interested in the works of 17th century poet and dramatist Spanish Pedro Calderón de la Barca. Over the course of the 1860’s and 1870’s he would produce English translations of Calderón de la Barca‘s plays. McCarthy lived at Killiney Hill, Dublin for much of this period before he went on an extended journey to continental Europe before settling in London . He wrote an account of the early life of English poet, Percy Bysshe Shelly, including the visit of Shelley to Dublin in 1812. McCarthy later returned to Ireland and died Good Friday, 1882.

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