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King Of The Blind: A toast to music, mirth, storytelling and whiskey

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In 1688 a plague of smallpox swept through Ireland. Like many others, eighteen year old Turlough O’Carolan was struck down. He was one of the lucky ones to survive. However, the sickness cost him his eyesight. Within two years of being blinded he’d learned to play the harp and taken to the road as a travelling musician. In time he’d be considered the greatest of all the Ir In 1688 a plague of smallpox swept through Ireland. Like many others, eighteen year old Turlough O’Carolan was struck down. He was one of the lucky ones to survive. However, the sickness cost him his eyesight. Within two years of being blinded he’d learned to play the harp and taken to the road as a travelling musician. In time he’d be considered the greatest of all the Irish harpers. His music is still played all around the world today. To the end of his days he always maintained that Otherworldly beings, known in Ireland as the Shee, had granted him the gift of music and were responsible for at least some of his compositions. This is a story from a time when the veil between the worlds was thinner and belief in the mystical “Good People”, was still strong.


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In 1688 a plague of smallpox swept through Ireland. Like many others, eighteen year old Turlough O’Carolan was struck down. He was one of the lucky ones to survive. However, the sickness cost him his eyesight. Within two years of being blinded he’d learned to play the harp and taken to the road as a travelling musician. In time he’d be considered the greatest of all the Ir In 1688 a plague of smallpox swept through Ireland. Like many others, eighteen year old Turlough O’Carolan was struck down. He was one of the lucky ones to survive. However, the sickness cost him his eyesight. Within two years of being blinded he’d learned to play the harp and taken to the road as a travelling musician. In time he’d be considered the greatest of all the Irish harpers. His music is still played all around the world today. To the end of his days he always maintained that Otherworldly beings, known in Ireland as the Shee, had granted him the gift of music and were responsible for at least some of his compositions. This is a story from a time when the veil between the worlds was thinner and belief in the mystical “Good People”, was still strong.

44 review for King Of The Blind: A toast to music, mirth, storytelling and whiskey

  1. 4 out of 5

    Grady

    ‘You’re a prince among men – the King of the Harpers’ Australian born author/actor/teacher/musician Caiseal Mór is Irish to the core, having the Gaelic culture given him by his Irish parents (the family roots are in Youghal, County Cork). He earned his degree in Performing Arts and has played the harp since he was a child, perpetuating an Irish tradition. In an author’s note, at book’s beginning, Caiseal tenders the flavor of this refreshing novel – ‘It is said our lives on this Earth are brief a ‘You’re a prince among men – the King of the Harpers’ Australian born author/actor/teacher/musician Caiseal Mór is Irish to the core, having the Gaelic culture given him by his Irish parents (the family roots are in Youghal, County Cork). He earned his degree in Performing Arts and has played the harp since he was a child, perpetuating an Irish tradition. In an author’s note, at book’s beginning, Caiseal tenders the flavor of this refreshing novel – ‘It is said our lives on this Earth are brief and filled with insufferable anguish. But there’s a way to avoid all the trials and tribulations of mortal existence. Those who know this secret are always merry and forever blessed with good fortune. They are well-loved and welcomed. A very wise old man once told me if you carry a pocketful of this magic ingredient with you, you’ll never go hungry and you’ll never want for laughter, music and good company. The secret that unlocks all these wonders is a simple one. Gratitude. This is the story of a man who learned how to be grateful.’ In a lilting, musical manner Caiseal relates the history of not only one of Ireland’s great heroes of music, but also a taste of the world as it played in the seventeenth century, and in doing so invites the reader on a memorable historical journey. Though the book is lengthy, the writing is so inviting that the pages fly by. The tale follows – ‘Turlough O’Carolan is the eighteen-year-old son of a blacksmith, born into turbulent times in seventeenth century Ireland. In 1688, at the age of eighteen, he falls in love and dreams of becoming a great harp player to impress his sweetheart. On the summit of a sacred hill at midnight, a hill reputedly inhabited by the Good People, the Fair Folk of legend he expresses a heartfelt desire. As the old saying goes; be careful what you wish for, you’ll most certainly get it. Almost immediately he is struck down with a terrible sickness, smallpox. He experiences a beautiful yet disturbing vision in which he meets the Queen of the Good People. She grants him the gift of music however, there is a price to pay for it. When he awakes the sickness has cost him his eyesight. Within two years of being blinded Turlough learns to play the harp and takes to the road as a travelling musician. In time he’s be considered the greatest of all the Irish harpers. His music is still played all around the world today. To the end of his days he always maintained that Otherworldly beings, known in Ireland as the Good People, granted him the gift of music and were responsible for at least some of his compositions. This is a story from a time when the veil between the worlds was thinner and belief in the mystical Good People, was still strong.’ Pure pleasure to read and experience, this is a novel rich in atmosphere and music – and gratitude! Recommended.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    King of the Blind is a different read for me. It was refreshing to read something new and unique. I loved and admired the character of Turlough O’Carolan. His strength and determination is inspiring. I find this musical tale to be entertaining, beautiful and magical. I give King of the Blind five stars and I highly recommend it. Especially, for readers who love historical fiction set in seventeenth century Ireland. I enjoyed it a lot. I received this book from the publisher. This review is 100% King of the Blind is a different read for me. It was refreshing to read something new and unique. I loved and admired the character of Turlough O’Carolan. His strength and determination is inspiring. I find this musical tale to be entertaining, beautiful and magical. I give King of the Blind five stars and I highly recommend it. Especially, for readers who love historical fiction set in seventeenth century Ireland. I enjoyed it a lot. I received this book from the publisher. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Pegboard

    Caiseal Mor spins a yarn that would make the Good People proud. King of the Blind: A toast to music, mirth, storytelling and whiskey starts out with Edward Sutler of Dublin running from the British redcoats because he shot and killed Major D’Arcy. He just so happens to tread across the McHugh’s land when an open fire kills their only milk cow. Daniel McHugh sends the redcoats away and sneaks Edward away. While a “guest” in the McHugh house they teach him about the Good People of Ireland and the Caiseal Mor spins a yarn that would make the Good People proud. King of the Blind: A toast to music, mirth, storytelling and whiskey starts out with Edward Sutler of Dublin running from the British redcoats because he shot and killed Major D’Arcy. He just so happens to tread across the McHugh’s land when an open fire kills their only milk cow. Daniel McHugh sends the redcoats away and sneaks Edward away. While a “guest” in the McHugh house they teach him about the Good People of Ireland and the famous musician Turlough O’Carolan. Just don’t call the Good People fairies.   The lesson Edward learns about the history of his country folk is humorous and stirring. Caiseal Mor is a fascinating author whom brings his characters alive. King of the Blind: A toast to music, mirth, storytelling and whiskey gives you a taste of the old Ireland and the things they hold dear. Those that have an ounce of Irish blood will connect with this novel and enjoy it immensely.  

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Turlough O’Carolan is a famous harpist and composer. He is also blind, yet he did not start life this way. When he was young, he chafed against the expectations put upon him by his father, the blacksmith who wished for him to follow in his footsteps. Turlough instead wished to be a musician and travel the lands. He makes a heartfelt wish one night in a special place and his wish is granted to him, however, not in the way he imagined. For every gift there must be a price and for him it was his ey Turlough O’Carolan is a famous harpist and composer. He is also blind, yet he did not start life this way. When he was young, he chafed against the expectations put upon him by his father, the blacksmith who wished for him to follow in his footsteps. Turlough instead wished to be a musician and travel the lands. He makes a heartfelt wish one night in a special place and his wish is granted to him, however, not in the way he imagined. For every gift there must be a price and for him it was his eyesight. He ended up becoming one of Irelands most famous musicians and poets despite his blindness. What reads as a fairytale is purportedly based upon real events. A cursory search for Turlough O’Carolan shows that much in this book is what is written down in the biography pages online. However, the book is a much more pleasant read, I think. The writing flowed well, and the pacing was steady throughout. I enjoyed the story which is what is most important.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brian Aird

    Pursue Your Dreams King Of The Blind: A toast to music, mirth, storytelling and whiskey by Caiseal Mor is a delightful folklore story that enchantingly intertwines a story of young love with music, the tragedy of sickness and the magic of the "Good People" of Ireland. This engaging writing reveals the circumstances surrounding the famous musician and harpist by the name of Turlough O'Carolan. O'Carolan's fondest dream was to excel in music; both as a writer of music as well as mastering the harp. Pursue Your Dreams King Of The Blind: A toast to music, mirth, storytelling and whiskey by Caiseal Mor is a delightful folklore story that enchantingly intertwines a story of young love with music, the tragedy of sickness and the magic of the "Good People" of Ireland. This engaging writing reveals the circumstances surrounding the famous musician and harpist by the name of Turlough O'Carolan. O'Carolan's fondest dream was to excel in music; both as a writer of music as well as mastering the harp. Unfortunately, his father, in 1688, wanted his son to follow in the footsteps of his profession as a blacksmith. At an early age Turlough is stricken by the devastating disease of small pox and the lasting thievery of this dreaded disease was to rob the young man of his eyesight. However, music is not only seen, but experienced and the negative aspects of the disease become a positive for the aspiring musician and with the help of the "Good People" that which was bad became the catalyst for something good and wonderful. The narrative regarding Turlough O'Carolan in the story is related by a member of the McHugh family, a protégée of O'Carolan, and is spun to a guest of the their household. This young man, Edward Sutler of Dublin, has taken the life of a British officer during the tense relations between Ireland and England during the 18th century. This caveat adds to the enjoyment of the reading as it reveals the life and times of the Irish lifestyle during this century. The lessons learned and embraced by young Edward during his stay with his hosts are learned in a humorous fashion and will probably resonate with the reader regarding life's lessons through music, mirth, storytelling and enjoying locally distilled whiskey. Author Caiseal Mor has gifted us with a delightful book that is entertaining, funny and insightful into the Irish culture. Above all the story is an encouragement to anyone who has ever dreamed a dream about their future and fulfilling that quest despite what may be overcoming insurmountable obstacles.

  6. 4 out of 5

    James Roberts

    If you like historical fiction and you are ready for a touch of the surreal, this book is for you. I had to look up Turlough O'Carolan to get my bearings, but this blind mystic is the classic composer of music for the Irish harp. He claimed that not just his inspiration but literally the works themselves were given to him by Ireland's "Little People". I Utubed his music and played it while I read. This soothing combination made for a good read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Annarella

    Wonderful book, enjoyable and well written. It's entertaining, moving and fun to read. Highly recommended! Many thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for this ARC

  8. 5 out of 5

    Laine Griffiths

    A fun, entertaining and touching read. The fact that it is based on real events makes it all the more captivating. An uplifting story about gratitude and following your heart. Written in a way that makes the reader feel like they are really there in the 17th century. Suited for age groups teen to adult!

  9. 5 out of 5

    KarynH

    A life-changing story This story is based on the events in the life of Turlough O’Carolan whose earnest wish was to be a great musician and a composer against his father’s wish of walking in his path as a blacksmith. “Wishes come true” and Turlough O’Carolan was a good example of that phrase. He started as a normal young man with his sight but after been struck with measles at a very young age, he becomes blind. This did not in any way mar his dream of becoming a music composer and harp player. Of A life-changing story This story is based on the events in the life of Turlough O’Carolan whose earnest wish was to be a great musician and a composer against his father’s wish of walking in his path as a blacksmith. “Wishes come true” and Turlough O’Carolan was a good example of that phrase. He started as a normal young man with his sight but after been struck with measles at a very young age, he becomes blind. This did not in any way mar his dream of becoming a music composer and harp player. Often times there is a price to be paid for what is given. I must confess it was indeed a high price for Turlough O’Carolan. However, I would say that becoming blind was an opportunity for him to explore that talent that has always been in there unharnessed. Caiseal Mor did a good job of presenting us with a very nice and encouraging story. The pace of this story was very well times and the language was also very understandable. This story can be very helpful for those finding it difficult to pursue their career goals. It is a subtle reminder that wishes still come true.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I love Denis This book is so good, there are all types of themes that are interesting for a lot of people I think. There’s a little bit of everything in it. I especially liked toward the end the inheritance bit. But the journey of Denis and how he became blind and became to expert the harp is really fascinating too. I was surprised to hear it was based on a true story! I had no idea. But that made the story even more special. Great writing!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Piedad Botero

  12. 5 out of 5

    Peter

  13. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Griffiths

  14. 5 out of 5

    Emma

  15. 5 out of 5

    Charles B. Town

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jane

  17. 5 out of 5

    Andrew R Geraghty

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sunbum84

  19. 4 out of 5

    Judy Beasley

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lezli

  21. 5 out of 5

    Aileen

  22. 4 out of 5

    Suneé Roux

  23. 5 out of 5

    Angie Johnson

  24. 4 out of 5

    Edgar

  25. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

  26. 5 out of 5

    SD

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gwendolyn Jordan

  28. 5 out of 5

    James Robert

  29. 4 out of 5

    Angelica Dimeo

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gabbi

  31. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Morrell

  32. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  33. 5 out of 5

    Carl R.

  34. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

  35. 4 out of 5

    Daniela

  36. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

  37. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Gary

  38. 4 out of 5

    Audrey Stewart

  39. 4 out of 5

    Will Griesmer

  40. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Griesmer

  41. 5 out of 5

    Calvin

  42. 5 out of 5

    Michael Hurt

  43. 4 out of 5

    Shirley

  44. 5 out of 5

    Debbie P

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