Back to O'Rahilly's Grave
O'RAHILLY'S GRAVE. AKA - "O'Reilly's Grave." Irish, Slow Air (4/4 time). A Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. The title undoubtedly refers to the poet Aogán Ó Rathaille (c. 1675 - 1729), whose name is also given as O'Reilly and Egan O'Rahilly, born in Screathan an Mhil (Scrahanaveel), in the Sliabh Luachra region some ten miles east of Killarney. He appears to have received a good formal schooling, being versed in Latin and English as well as in Irish literature and history. The Browne family and the McCarthy's were both patrons of Ó Rathaille, and his fortunes rose and fell with them. Sir Nicholas Browne (of old Elizabethan planter stock, although Catholic and Jacobite) backed King James, and after the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 in which James was defeated, Browne lost his lands and titles for the remainder of his life. Ó Rathaille, in consequence, had to leave his native district and lived in poor circumstances at Tonn Tóime, at the edge of Castlemaine Harbour, some twelve miles west of Killarney. His poetry, of which it is said that the best of which has a heroic desolation and grandeur, is, in the opinion of some, in many ways a result of his effort to come to terms with the chaos in which he and his people found themselves. Ó Rathaille is buried with the McCarthys in Muckross Abbey, Killarney.
Irish itinerant fiddle master Pádraig O'Keeffe (1887-1963) recorded the tune in 1948 (see a standard transcription of his version at ITMA ).
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Ó Canainn (Traditional Slow Airs of Ireland), 1995; No. 117, p. 100.
Recorded sources: Claddagh CC5CD, Denis Murphy & Julia Clifford - "The Star above the Garter" (1969). Green Linnett SIF 3041, Matt Molloy - "Stony Steps." Julia Clifford - "Star Above the Garter." Joe Burke - "Tailor's Choice." RTE CD 174, Pádraig O'Keeffe - "The Sliabh Luachra Fiddle Master" (1993. Originally recorded 1948). Scroll Records, Anna Falkenau - "Féileacán Na Saoirse" (2014). Paudie O Connor & John O Brien - "Wind and Reeds" (2009). The Kate Sisters - "Side by Side."