Dolly MacDonough

Find traditional instrumental music
Jump to: navigation, search

Back to Dolly MacDonough


DOLLY MACDONOUGH. Irish, Planxty. F Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. The tune is attributed to blind Irish harper Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738), although Donal O'Sullivan (1958), in his definitive work on the bard could find no incontrovertible evidence of its origin. O'Sullivan identifies the melody as a variant of the air "Eirghe an Lae" (The Dawn of Day), which collector Edward Bunting attributed to an older harper by the name of Thomas Connellan (although Bunting's version was noted from the playing of harper Denis Hempson). It may be that O'Carolan adapted Connellan's air.

Dolly MacDonough was the neice of Counsellor Terence MacDonough (d. 1713), for whom O'Carolan composed an eligy. Dolly lived with her uncle (who was childless) at Creevagh, County Sligo, and is the subject of a tale involving a suitor named O'Hara. This man, being of 'slender fortune', nevertheless sought her hand in marriage, but she was dissuaded by her friends and rejected him. Undaunted, he made his case to O'Carolan, who composed this song for him and tutored him until he could sing it perfectly. O'Hara rushed to her window and sang the song so finely that she was compelled to elope with him that very night. Unfortunately, there is no historical record of this event ever having taken place.

Source for notated version: the Forde manuscripts. Forde himself noted it from the playing of piper Patrick Conneely [O'Sullivan]

Printed sources: Complete Collection of Carolan's Irish Tunes, 1984; No. 88, p. 70. O’Sullivan (Carolan: The Life, Times and Music of an Irish Harper), 1958, No. 88, p. 148.

Recorded sources:




Back to Dolly MacDonough