Priest of Lurgan (The)
X:1 T:Priest of Lurgan, The M:6/8 L:1/8 B:James Goodman music manuscript collection, vol. 4 (mid-19th century, p. 50) B: http://goodman.itma.ie/volume-four#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=53&z=-1507.5738%2C959.6754%2C7843.7042%2C3153.9947 Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D dB/c/d/B/ GBG|GBd dBG|dB/c/d/B/ GBG|GBd cAF| dB/c/d/B/ GBG|GBd dBG|AGF fed|cdB cAF:| |:GBd g3|gag gdB|GBd gfe|fdB cAF| GBd g2e|f2d e2c|AcA fed|cdB cAF:| |:efg dBG|GBd dBG|efg dBG|GBd cAF| efg dBG|cec dBG|AFA fed|cdc cAF:|]
PRIEST OF LURGAN, THE. Irish, Air (6/8 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCCDD. The tune survives as the single known composition of the Reverend Edward (“Parson”) Sterling (1706-1762), a renowned musician who flourished in the second quarter of the 18th century. He was rector of Lurgan, County Cavan, from 1737 and a fine bagpipe player and composer of airs. He was a contemporary of “Piper” Jackson, and the two are said by O’Neill (1913) to have been the last to compose Irish melodies in the ancient traditional style. Sterling was specifically exempted from a challenge issued by a professional piper in Dublin, 'Blind Patrick Connolly' (possibly the subject of "Blind Paddy's Fancy" in John Geoghegan's piper tutor) [Hugh Cheape, 2008].
Harper Arthur O’Neill (1734-1818), blind since the age of two, knew of Sterling by reputation. He writes in his memoirs regarding the upcoming second harp competition at Granard in 1782, “About the month of March I made my way towards Granard, and as usual touched at all my acquantances’ (i.e. gentlemen patrons) houses. I remained some time with the Rev. Mr. Sneyd, rector of Lurgan, County Cavan, the successor of Parson Sterling the celebrated piper, who composed as already mentioned ‘The Priest of Lurgan’.”