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A Poet and his People

A look at the life of poet Antoine Ó Raifteiri. (Broadcast 1957)

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A Poet and his People

Antoine Ó Raifteirí was born in Kiltimagh in County Mayo in 1779. He was one of nine children. Whilst still a child, Antoine and his eight siblings contracted smallpox. Antoine was to be the only survivor although the disease had left him blind.

A travelling bard, he was known as the ‘Kiltimagh Fiddler’. He made a life for himself writing songs and poetry, often performing them in the mansions of the Anglo Irish gentry. He never wrote down any of his work, but those he taught them to managed to document his work with the assistance of Douglas

His most famous works include "Eanach Dhúin", "Cill Aodáin" and "Mise Raifteirí an File", the opening four lines of which appeared on the old Irish five pound note. He is the blind poet of Yeats's poem "The Tower.

He died in 1835 in Kileeneen, Co.Galway.

Produced by Seán Mac Réamoinn

First Broadcast February 19th 1957

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