CILLE CHOIRILL (Cairell's Bell). Scottish, Slow Air (3/4 time) and Pipe March (6/8 time). C Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. The air was composed by Kenneth Kennedy, with the pipe march setting by Pipe Major Stewart (Mrs.). According to Neil (1991), the title is taken from the name of the ancient burial ground in the Braes of Lochaber, and is named for Saint Cairell. Cairell was originally an Irish missionary who crossed the Irish sea in small hide-covered frame boats, called coracles, to Scotland around 600 A.D., accompanied by some followers. After proselytising in Scotland for some time he returned to his native Ireland to live in the monastery at Clonkeen-Kerrie, where he died. Though "a humble and unostentatious man, small in stature, with poor health but strong in spirit," Cairell's ministry in Scotland was successful and there are a number of sites in that country associated with him, including Glen Urquhart, Appin, Tayniult, and Ruthven parish in Banffshire, "where both a cairn and a well are named after him." The graveyard bearing the Saint's name is the resting place of many generations of Highlanders, including some of the composer's ancestors who struggled at Culloden and with Wolfe at Quebec, and the similarly ancient church is thought to have been built by Cameron of Lochiel sometime in the 1400's to atone for his sins.
Oh where in the whole world, such beauty and grace,
As Cille Chairill in the braes of Lochaber,
'Neath the green mossy mounds many clans lie asleep,
All around are the hills they did wander.
In this heaven on earth rest ancestors blest;
Their children so true, shall never forget
Till the hills fade away and the last tune is played,
With love, they will always remember.
Printed source: Neil (The Scots Fiddle), 1991; No. 155, p. 201.
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