Caoineadh Uí Dhomhnaill

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CAOINEADH UÍ DHOMHNAILL (O'Donnell's Lament). AKA - "Caoineadh Uí Dhónail." AKA and see "Lament for O'Donnell." Irish, Slow Air (4/4 time). Ireland, Sliabh Luachra region of the Cork-Kerry border. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. This song and its air have some currency in Kerry but apparently not elsewhere. The Munster air is in memory of Red Hugh O'Donnell, an Ulster chieftain who (along with Hugh O'Neill) waged the Nine Year War against the English forces of Elizabeth I at the end of the 16th century. O'Donnell, O'Neill and their Spanish allies were defeated at the Battle of Kinsale in 1601, having been outmanoeuvred by Mountjoy's army, with the effect that the rebellion quickly collapsed and English control over the entire island was assured. A story, perhaps from a winking Denis Murphy (?), has it that "Lament for O'Donnell" is about a man who, while dancing at a party, cuts his foot on a tap from his shoe and contracts blood poisoning from which he soon expires. His friends take him to the field in the hopes of reviving him, and an angel appears and sings this lament for him!

Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Ó Canainn (Traditional Slow Airs of Ireland), 1995; No. 19, p. 24.

Recorded sources: - Folkways FW8781, Denis Murphy - "Traditional Music of Ireland Volume 1" (appears as "Queen of O'Donnell," a misinterpreting of the Gaelic title "Caoineadh Ui Dhomhnaill", which when rendered in English sounds like "Queen of O'Donnell" {caoineadh is pronounced 'kween'}). Green Linnett SIF 1139, Eileen Ivers - "Eileen Ivers" (learned from Brendan Mulvihill). RTE Records, "Denis Murphy: Music from Sliabh Luachra". Topic Records, Padraig O'Keeffe - "Kerry Fiddles" (Padraig probably learned it from the singing of his grandmother Mrs. Callaghan). Topic Records, Denis Murphy - "The Star Above the Garter."



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