'From the blood comes second sight; from the blindness, second hearing.' Gaelic proverb. Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738), composed over 200 melodies still known today. Most players of traditional Irish music know at least a few of his pieces by heart. So any single performance can capture only a sliver of Carolan's vast musical world. Here I explore two aspects of Carolan's life: the larger community of blind musicians to which he belonged, and the mystic traditions associated with these blind bards . When Carolan went blind at 18 from smallpox, the MacDermott Roe family provided him a wire-strung harp and a tutor, and the opportunity to support himself through music, becoming part of a much older tradition of blind harpers. One who preceded him was Ruairí Ó' Catháin (c.1570-1653), one of two "Blind Rorys" among harpers. Carolan likely played Catháin's "Port Gordon" and "Tabhair domh do Lámh" (Give Me Your Hand), when first traveling as a harper, since Carolan is at times cited as composer. "Blind Mary" is believed named for a harper who taught, among others, Rose Mooney, a blind harper who in tuen brought many of Carolan's melodies at the 1792 Harp Festival- the last known gathering of the un-broken line of players of the Gaelic wire-strung harp, which also featured Arthur O'Neill, another blind harper playing and providing background information on Carolan planxties. According to Lady Wilde, Carolan learned his music listening to the faerie hills. His very first piece concerns the battle of "Sidhe Beag, Sidhe Mor", two prominent faerie hills of Ireland. Later he used the same lyrics for his melody "The Faerie Queen." For the mystic tradition as it continued into the 20th century, I include two traditional tunes the blind Kerry piper Michael O'Sullivan (d. 1916) claimed to have played for a sidhe. At his mother's funeral, he found that there were no keaners, as that tradition of mourning music was itself dying. So he played "Seo Leó a Thoil" and was joined by a woman singing. This woman requested that he play "An Staicín Eórnadh" (The Little Stack of Barley). Later, he found his finger infected, a piece of barley under his nail. He knew then the woman had been from the Otherworld. Carolan's melodies work well on many instruments- part of the staying power of this music, as the wire-strung harp community is currently still small but growing. I perform these on tradition Irish flutes and whistles made by Tony Dixon. -Kaade, 2009.