Breach of Aughrim (The)

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BREACH OF AUGHRIM, THE. Irish. The tune was supposedly formed when an Irish harper, the "Great Harper," Thomas Connellan {born at Cloonmahon, County Sligo, also anciently known as Clonymeaghan, either around 1625 or 1640} added introductory and concluding phrases to Myles O'Reilly's "The Irish Tune" (he is not to be confused with his brother Laurence, also a harper and, like Thomas, famous in both Ireland and Scotland). The introductory portion also goes by the name "Farewell to Lochaber." The added parts were played by pipers as a funeral dirge when he died in 1698 at Bourchier's Castle, near Lough Gur, County Limerick, according to Grattan Flood (1906) {It should be noted, however, that Flood's information is sometimes notoriously unreliable}. Elsewhere it is stated that he is reputed to have spent part of his life at Lough Gur in Co. Limerick, but that he died in Edinburgh. O'Neill (Irish Minstrels and Musicians, 1913) relates the story that a banshee wailed from the top of Carrig na g-Colur while the funeral procession passed to the burying ground, though "the mournful cooing of the wild pigeons from which the rock takes its name may account for the quaint fancy." See also "Planxty Davis," "Dawning of the Day (The)," "Love in Secret," "Bonny Jean" "Jointure (The)," "Molly St. George" and "If to a Foreign Clime I Go" for other compositions of this prolific harper (he is said to have composed seven or eight hundred tunes).

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