O'Kane, Eachmarcach (DNB00)

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O'KANE, EACHMARCACH (1720–1790), Irish harper, for whose Irish christian name Acland or Echlin is sometimes substituted, was born at Drogheda in 1720. He was of a northern family, and was taught to play the harp by Cornelius Lyons, harper to the Earl of Antrim. He travelled to Rome and played before Prince Charles Edward Stuart there. He then visited France, and went on to Madrid, where he played to the Irish gentlemen living at that court, who praised him to the king; but his uproarious habits did not suit Spanish decorum, and he had to walk to Bilbao with his harp on his back. After returning to Ireland he went to Scotland, and there made many journeys from house to house. Sir Alexander MacDonald in Skye gave him a silver harp-key, long in the family, and originally left by another Irish harper, Ruaidhri Dall O'Cathain or O'Kane. Tne gift is mentioned by Boswell in the `Tour to the Hebrides.' O'Kane played all the old native airs, as well as the treble and bass parts of Corelli's correnti in concert with other music.

[Bunting's Ancient Music of Ireland; Boswell's Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides.]

N. M.