An Irish Catholic during the years of oppressive anti-Catholic measures enforced by the English, Thomas Moore is best remembered as a cultural patriot who used poetry and song to advance his country’s cause. His most famous work is Irish Melodies, published over the years 1808 to 1834. Intending to stir patriotism and build the case for Irish independence, Moore composed lyrics meant to be sung to the tunes of old Irish folk songs. The songs were wildly successful and cemented Moore’s reputation among the era’s leading poets, including Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, both of whom paid tribute to Moore in their own work.
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