Creggan Churchyard

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 Theme code Index    112 6L5L5L
 Also known as    Úir-chill a' Chreagáin, Fair Graveyard of Creggan (The), Noble Graveyard of Creggan (The)
 Composer/Core Source    
 Region    Ireland
 Genre/Style    Irish
 Meter/Rhythm    Air/Lament/Listening Piece
 Key/Tonic of    G
 Accidental    1 sharp
 Mode    Ionian (Major)
 Time signature    3/4
 History    IRELAND(Ulster)
 Structure    One part
 Editor/Compiler    Tomás Ó Canainn
 Book/Manuscript title    Traditional Slow Airs of Ireland
 Tune and/or Page number    No. 113, p. 96
 Year of publication/Date of MS    1995
 Artist    Relativity
 Title of recording    Relativity
 Record label/Catalogue nr.    Green Linnet GLCD 1059
 Year recorded    1984
 Score   ()   

CREGGAN CHURCHYARD (Úir-chill a' Chreagáin). AKA - "Fair Graveyard of Creggan (The)." Irish, Air (3/4 time). Ireland, Northern Ireland. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. According to Ó Canainn (1978) this is one of the great airs of the Northern tradition (it has been called 'the National Anthem of South East Ulster' by Máire Nic Domhnaill Gairbhí). It is a song of the 'Aisling' or 'vision' genre in which a maiden appears to the poet and prophsizes a return to Irish glory, and appears in Sean Ó Baoighill's Cnuasacha de Cheoltai Uladh. Creggan is a large parish that contains portions of two counties in Ireland, Louth and Armagh. The churchyard contains the ancestral burial ground of the O'Neill's, lords of Ulster.
The composer of the song "Uirchill an Chreagain" (Úir-chill a' Chreagáin) was Art MacCúmhaigh (1738-1773), bard to the O'Neills of Dunraeva, who was called Art na gCeoltaí. Henry Morris, in his book The Modern Irish Poets of Oriel, Breffni, and Meath (1906, County Louth Archeological Society) wrote that MacCúmhaigh was on the run from the 'powers that be' and was being actively hunted. He found refuge for a night in the O'Neill vault in Creggan graveyard, and thus the opening line (that he slept the previous night in Creggan Churchyard) is literally true. When MacCúmhaigh died he was buried at Creggan and the last line of his famous song was carved on his headstone:

Gurbh ag Gaeil chúmhra an Chreagáin a leagfar mé i gcré faoi fhod.
(That with the fragrant Gaels of Creggan I will be put in the clay under the sod.)

Printed source: Ó Canainn (Traditional Slow Airs of Ireland), 1995; No. 113, p. 96.


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