Thomas Moore

(1779 - 1852)

Thomas Moore was born in Dublin to an Irish Catholic family and educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he was one of the first Catholics admitted. He published his first poem in the Anthologia Hibernica at age 14. He began to study law at London’s Middle Temple, but he preferred poetry, and he soon began making his way by publishing poems and using his natural musical talent to sing for aristocratic London patrons. He traveled to Bermuda and North America before resettling in London and marrying Protestant actress Bessy Dyke. The two had five children, none of whom survived them.

A staunch proponent of freedom for Ireland and a supporter of the United Irish, Moore used his satirical gifts for political poetry. He also wrote love poetry and, most famously, Irish Melodies, which consisted of lyrics set to traditional Irish folksongs. Moore is also remembered for writing the long poem Lalla Rookh and a biography of his friend Lord Byron. In his time, Moore symbolized the heights of the British Romantic movement for English speakers around the world, and he is now considered by many to be the unofficial national bard of Ireland.