Lord Doneraile

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LORD DONERAILE (An Tigearna Dun-Air-Aill). AKA and see "Boys in the Gap (1)," "Cat in the Hopper," "Laird O'Cockpen." Irish, Air (6/8 time, "with spirit"). G Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). ABC. The Lords Doeneraile were the St. Leger family of County Cork, originally colonial administrators who rose to prominence under the Tudor dynasty, and who profited by the land confiscations of the late 16th and early 17th centuries after the various rebellions were put down by the ruling English. They held sway over lands in Cork for three centuries, until 1969, when the remnants of their estate, Doneraile Park on the Awbeg river, was taken over by the Irish state.

In 1712, a member of the family, Elizabeth St. Leger, the first Viscount's daughter and aged 17 at the time, fell asleep while reading in a room. An adjoining Library was the site of a Masonic meeting, the sounds of which awakened the girl. Being curious, she removed a brick from the wall and spied on the goings-on in the next room. Unfortunately, she made a noise and was discovered by the Masons, including Lord St. Leger, and the group discussed her fate for some hours. A few held that she should be killed for trespassing on their rites, but eventually a solution was proposed in which the girl would be presented for membership into the all-male Freemasons to preserve their secrets. She choose this far more preferable fate, and became a life-long Mason, devoting herself to the group's charitable causes. She was one of only three female Freemasons in the history of the organization.

Source for notated version: Chicago Police Sergeant James O'Neill, a fiddler originally from County Down and Francis O'Neill's collaborator [O'Neill].

Printed sources: O'Neill (O'Neill's Irish Music), 1915; No. 32, p. 24. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 106, p. 19.

Recorded sources:




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