Rose Mooney

Rose Mooney attended the three balls in Granard in 1781, 1782 and 1785, and won third prize at each.

She was at the meeting in Belfast in July 1792, and she was said then to be from the county Meath, and aged 52. This implies she was born in late 1739 or early 1740. The following comments are from Arthur O’Neill’s memoirs:

...before the Ball opened Rose Mooney pledged her harp, her petticoat and her cloak. When I make this remark of poor Rose, the faults or ludicrous remarks I make use of respecting her own conduct should be entirely attributed to her maid Mary, whose uncommon desire for drinking was unlimited, and taking advantage of her mistress's blindness she always when money was wanting pawned any article on which she could raise half a pint. Therefore, poor Rose, I acquit you of any meanness on your own account, as your guides and mine have led us into hobbles which we poor blind harpers have to get out of and afterwards laugh at. But we in general think that it's better for people in every situation in life to have about them the rogue they know than the rogue they don't know.


Rose Mooney and Thady Elliott. Rose Mooney : this female was born in the County of Meath. I am not sure of what circumstances her parents were. She was blind and [was] taught to play on the harp by Thady Elliott ... I never heard much about her, only as an itinerant harper, until I was informed that she and her maid Mary were in Killala at the time the French landed there. How she and her maid - and the devil's own maid she was - finished their career is not well known ; but it is generally imagined that when the rebels forced open the loyalists' spirit stores Rose and her maid went into some of them, where the impression Thady Elliott gave Rose in her early days had such an effect that it is generally imagined she kicked the bucket as her tutor did. Rose was at one time much respected, but it is certain that her maid was the principal cause of her falling into disesteem, as she would, and did, sacrifice her mistress's reputation for a glass of whiskey.

Arthur O’Neill, Memoirs, edited in Donal O’Sullivan, Carolan, 1958

I think Arthur is wrong about her death, because Bunting notes a tune collected from her in 1800. So I would put her dates as 1739/40 - post 1800