Caoc O'Leary

Bloom's list of literary travelers who, like Odysseus, come home after decades away (Alice Ben Bolt, Enoch Arden, Rip van Winkle) concludes with one Irish example: "does anybody hereabouts remember Caoc O'Leary, a favourite and most trying declamation piece." The work he refers to is Caoch O'Leary, often called Caoch the Piper. A simple and tenderhearted tale by County Laois poet John Keegan, it was assigned reading in primary schools for years, and is often recited even today. Judging by his description of it as "most trying," Bloom seems to have been forced to memorize at least some of it in his youth.

JH 2020

Benedict Kiely's recitation of a shortened version of Caoch O'Leary, followed by Liam O'Flynn's performance of The Wind that Shakes the Barley, the reel that the piper performs in the poem. Source: www.youtube.com.

Liam Egan's recitation of nearly all the lines at the 2011 Toastmaster's Christmas party in the Wyatt Hotel, Westport, County Mayo. Source: www.youtube.com.

 Source: www.amazon.com.