P J Kavanagh

A Passion to Entertain

Ireland's Minstrel: A Life of Tom Moore: Poet, Patriot and Byron’s Friend

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I B Tauris 259pp £20 order from our bookshop

Nothing is more difficult to convey in a biography than the personal charm of its subject (should he or she possess that quality, which Thomas Moore did, in bucketfuls), and it is greatly to Linda Kelly’s credit that she triumphantly does so. Her task is made easier because nearly everyone he met fell, in some sense, in love with him, even his opponent in an early duel, and they said so, even the hardest-headed. He could not go on a sea voyage without making a lifelong friend of the captain, and Byron, who adored him, confided to his journal whilst travelling: ‘He has but one fault – and that one I daily regret – he is not here.’

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