St. Aidan's N.S. Kiltimagh Co. Mayo, Ireland
Anthony Raftery, Poet
Anthony Raftery was born in Killaiden in the year 1784 .
There were three families living quite close to each other on
Frank Taffes land- Delaneys, Brennans, and Raftery.
There were nine children in the Raftery family but after
an outbreak of small pox only Anthony survived and he had
lost his sight as a result of the illness .
In later years he became known as The Blind Poet.
We are told that Frank Taafe, who was at times a difficult man, took Raftery under his wing.
The boy was gifted. He attended Hedge School in Bohola with the local lads and took part in all sports with them.
He excelled in wrestling and was always the Anchor-man in Tug O War. During these sessions he often recited his own poems. He was also very musical and played the violin, which Frank Taafe had provided.
Frank Taafe loved to sit under the huge trees listening to the stories, and music played by Raftery. He also encouraged the boy to entertain the locals with his music and song. The death of Anthony's mother, which occurred when he was in his late teens, brought interest in music to an end for at least 2 years. At that time Anthony was permanently employed by Frank Taafe. He acted as household messenger, horseback was his mode of travel to the various places, and it was on one of these journeys the fatal accident occurred. On his way home from Kiltimagh, he tried to jump the horse across a drain, but the animal failed to reach the other side, and had its neck broken in the fall. Raftery was afraid of Franks temper, so he set off on his travels. He loved Mayo, and was heartbroken leaving as he so often made clear in his poems. Officially he never returned, but we are told he slipped back for his violin. His wanderings took him to County Galway, playing and entertaining as he went along. He died there in 1835, and is buried in Craughwell - "Relig na bhfile".