Constantine Maguire

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CONSTANTINE MAGUIRE (Pleraca Maguidir). AKA and see "Planxty Maguire (1)." Irish, Air or Planxty (2/4 time, "spirited"). G Major (most versions): D Major (Johnson). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Haverty, O'Neill): AB (Complete Collection, O’Sullivan): AAB (Johnson). According to Hardiman, the melody was composed by harper Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738) for Robert Maguire of Tempo who married Eliza MacDermott Roe. She was a granddaughter of the wealthy MacDermott family for whom O'Carolan wrote numerous pieces. However, Donal O’Sullivan (1958) says this is clearly in error, “for the correspondence between words and tune is more than usually close, both forming one song in praise of Constantine Maguire.” (O’Sullivan prints the Irish Gaelic words to the tune, without translation). The Maguires of Tempo, County Fermanagh, were a Catholic Jacobite family whose lands were forfeit after the defeat of the Stuarts in the late 17th century. Unlike many such families, however, they managed to redeem the lands and continued to hold possession of them in O’Carolan’s time. Constantine himself died unmarried in 1739. His father, Brian Maguire, had raised a regiment for the Stuart king but had been killed in the Battle of Aughrim in 1691. O’Sullivan (1956, p. 259) writes:

When this brave man was struck down by a grape shot, and the fate of the day decided, a young gentleman, called Durnien, drew his sword and cut off his commander’s head; this he put in a bag, and never slept (day or night) until he reached Enniskillen; and there getting into a boat, proceeded to the Island of Devnish, the family burying ground, and there interred the head with the remains of his noble ancestors.


Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Bunting (A General Collection of the Ancient Irish Music), London, 1796; No. 64. Complete Collection of Carolan's Irish Tunes, 1984; No. 96, p. 74. P.M. Haverty (One Hundred Irish Airs vol. 2), 1858; No. 161, p. 73. Johnson (The Kitchen Musician No. 5: Mostly Irish Airs), 1985 (revised 2000); p. 4. O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; p. 244 (appears as "Planxty Maguire"). O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; p. 244. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 695, p. 128. O’Sullivan (Carolan: The Life Times and Music of an Irish Harper), 1958; No. 96, p. 152.

Recorded sources: Ceirníní Claddaig CC 16, Chieftains - "Cheiftains 5" (1975). Gael-Linn Records CEF 032, “Sean O’Riada and Ceoltoiri Chualann” (c. 1969).




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