Ireland is strong and rich in music. The Irish people love
to sing, to dance and to make music of all kinds. The harp has
always been a very important musical instrument in Ireland.
In the wars between the Irish and the English, it was like a
national flag for the Irish. In the seventeenth century it
became more than that. One very famous harper was O'Carloan.
He was born in Westmeath in about 1670. When O'Carloan
was about sixteen years old his eyes failed and he became
blind. With the help of a kind, rich lady he learned to play the
harp. He also wrote poetry and music for the harp. People
have saved a lot of his music and harpers still play O'Carloan's
When they hear the word "nocturne", people usually think
of Chopin. Chopin's nocturnes are famous but the first
nocturnes came from an Irishman. He was John Field. He
was a pupil in London of the great piano player, composer and
teacher Clementi. He was one of the really great pianists. We
can't hear him today because there were no record of music in
Ireland also has its great pop and rock musicians. A very
successful group is U2. It started in Dublin in 1979. U2 is a
rock group. It knows the young people of Ireland and the
things that they feel and want. They speak for young Irish
people but they are famous all over the world.
Today there are many Irish musicians. A lot of them are
internationally famous, and that is wonderful for a country
with only five million people.
1. What is an important Irish musical instrument?
2. Who was O'Carolan?
3. What is John Field famous for?
4. A very successful Irish group is U2, isn't it?
5. When did it start?