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OWEN O'ROURKE. Irish, Air or Planxty (3/4 time). D Major/A Mixolydian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. Composed by Turlough O'Carolan. Donal O'Sullivan (1958) rescued the air from the manuscripts of Belfast collector Edward Bunting (1773-1843), reconstructing it in the process (it had no key signature and only eleven of 14 bars in the second part). Owen O'Rourke, explains O'Sullivan, was had of the O'Rourke family, Princes of Breffnie, and was the last of them to have lived in any semblance of wealth and posterity. He lived in Tarmon, parish of Innismagrath, on the north-western shore of Lough Allen, County Leitrim, and was married to Mary MacDermot (for whom see Carolan's "Mrs. O'Rourke"), daughter of the Prince of Coolavin, although the couple was childless. Other of Carolan's songs were composed for relatives:
Owen O'Rourke was probably an elder brother of Colonel Tiernan O'Rourke, the father of Mrs. O'Conor of Belangare (see "Mrs. O'Conor (2)"); and his sister Elinor O'Rourke married Counsellor Terence MacDonough (see "Lament for Terence MacDonough"). Owen O'Rouke died on the 12th February, 1728, and Carolan's lament for his death is printed as "Lament for Owen O'Rourke." ... [O'Sullivan, p. 275]
Source for notated version: the Bunting manuscripts [O'Sullivan].
Printed sources: Complete Collection of Carolan's Irish Tunes, 1984; No. 142, p. 99. O'Sullivan (Carolan: The Life, Times and Music of an Irish Harper), 1958; No. 142, p. 177.