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Origins: James Connolly / Lochnagar

10 Jan 99 - 06:06 PM (#53231)
Subject: James Connolly / Lochnagar
From: Teru

I have two CDs in which "James Connolly" is recorded. (A song begins with "A great crowd had gathered outside of Kilmainham".) The song is in DT as James Connolly (2). The tune of this song is somewhat similar to that of Dark Lochnagar, a Scottish song. Is there any connection between the two songs? I have a book "The Easter Rising in Song and Ballad" which contains James Connolly, but the book doesn't say anything about a writer or a composer of this song. According to my CDs the song is "traditional". As the words were written after 1916, if it is traditional, the tune must be traditional. Does anybody know more about this song?



11 Jan 99 - 12:01 AM (#53314)
Subject: RE: James Connolly / Lochnagar
From: Don Meixner

My band uses both songs and except for the tune there is no commonallity that i can find. I like to write songs and I often use traditional melodies to fit them too. I'd not be surprised to learn that Dark Lochnagar as a melody is much older than the lyrics.

Don Meixner

11 Jan 99 - 08:10 AM (#53376)
Subject: RE: James Connolly / Lochnagar
From: Big Mick

I have the lyrics in the Wolfetones songbook, as well as Soodlums Irish Ballad book. Neither indicates where the tune comes from. The Wolfetones book simply says it was "collected and arranged" by them. The lyrics certainly cannot be classified as trad, they are too new.

Connally, for those that don't know, was arguably the most important player in the 'Rising. It was his Irish Citizens Army that gave Pearse and company the ability to go ahead with the revolt. Many Irish Americans are not aware, however that James Connolly was a Union Organizer in the States. He was a committed Socialist who believed in "Ireland's wealth for Ireland's People". At one point in the early 20th century, he came to New York to work organizing unions. One of his tasks was to organize the Italian dockworkers in New York. He sat down and learned Italian and went out and organized them. He was a brilliant man. He went back to Ireland and the rest is history.

All the best,

Mick Lane

11 Jan 99 - 09:38 PM (#53537)
Subject: RE: James Connolly / Lochnagar
From: Cuilionn

If I reca' correctly, ane o' my sangbuiks attributes "Lochnagar" tae ane o' those lofty vairsifyin' heidbummers, I'm thinkin' Laird Byron. Mind ye, that's jist th' lyrics, an' I cuid be wrang entirely, but Byron's th' name lurkin' in my heid for this ane.

Guid luck wi' yir sairch,


17 Oct 99 - 04:18 AM (#124772)
Subject: RE: Lochnagar
From: Philippa

The Lochnagar in the database is a Child ballad and isn't the same as Dark Lochnagar. I like the air of 'James Connolly'. Where can I get the Lochnagar lyrics? Also who IS the author; is Cuillionn correct? Someone else told me that the author was someone surprising, but he couldn't remeber who it was.

17 Oct 99 - 04:21 AM (#124773)
Subject: Lochnagar
From: Philippa

yes, it was Byron; see Dark Lochnagar

17 Oct 99 - 04:46 AM (#124777)
Subject: RE: James Connolly / Lochnagar
From: j0_77

Act'lly the origin of these tunez is unknown, even those that are claimed and copyright by people. They used be called 'strains' like bits or phrases which would end up in a couple of pieces. There is a lot of needless confusion on this topic.

The Scot and the Irish are always tradin tunez and songs so I tend to pay no attention to which is supposed to be the source, I just play em. My favorite right now is the Bonnie Broon ,I am playing it on anything I can find. I did not find the words in the DB I suppose they are listed under Laydie Faieee.

17 Oct 99 - 07:45 AM (#124789)
Subject: Lyr Add: LACHIN Y GAIR (Lord Byron)
From: Tiger

Since we're discussing this, here are the lyrics I have for Lachin y Gair, by George Gordon, Lord Byron, written in 1807. Music is attributed to H. R. Bishop. I have a wonderful performance of this by John McDermott.

I'm hoping that someone can provide definitive info on the spelling and location. I've found Gairloch in Western Scotland - wonder if it's the same - not too near Culloden, however. The original poem seems to be entitled Lachin y Gair, but I've seen it written half a dozen different ways,

Can anyone fill in the details?


Lachin Y Gair

Away, ye gay landscapes, ye garden of roses!
In you let the minions of luxury rove;
Restore me the rocks, where the snowflake reposes,
Though still they are sacred to freedom and love:
Yet, Caledonia, beloved are thy mountains,
Round their white summits though elements war;
Though cataracts foam 'stead of smooth-flowing fountains,
I sigh for the valley of dark Loch na Garr.

Ah! there my young footsteps in infancy wander'd;
My cap was the bonnet, my cloak was the plaid;
On chieftains long perish'd my memory pondered,
As daily I strode through the pine-cover'd glade;
I sought not my home till the day's dying glory
Gave place to the rays of the bright polar star;
For fancy was cheered by traditional story,
Disclosed by the natives of dark Loch na Garr.

"Shades of the dead! have I not heard your voices
Rise on the night-rolling breath of the gale?"
Surely the soul of the hero rejoices,
And rides on the wind, o'er his own Highland vale.
Round Loch na Garr while the stormy mist gathers,
Winter presides in his cold icy car:
Clouds there encircle the forms of my fathers;
They dwell in the tempests of dark Loch na Garr.

"Ill-starred, though brave, did no visions foreboding
Tell you that fate had forsaken your cause?"
Ah! Were you destined to die at Culloden,
Victory crown'd not your fall with applause:
Still were you happy in death's earthy slumber,
You rest with your clan in the caves of Braemar;
The pibroch resounds, to the piper's loud number,
Your deeds on the echoes of dark Loch na Garr.

Years have roll'd on, Loch na Garr, since I left you,
Years must elapse ere I tread you again:
Nature of verdure and flow'rs has bereft you,
Yet still are you dearer than Albion's plain.
England! thy beauties are tame and domestic
To one who has roved o'er the mountains afar:
Oh for the crags that are wild and majestic!
The steep frowning glories of dark Loch na Garr!

17 Oct 99 - 09:30 AM (#124801)
Subject: RE: James Connolly / Lochnagar
From: DonMeixner

At the risk of a wall of flames from Colin the Whistler :-) I'd suggest that you get a hold of the The Years Roll By by The Corries. The late and very lamented sings a beautiful and dramatic version of this song. Its also on a Corries live concert tape/CD.


17 Oct 99 - 02:54 PM (#124877)
Subject: RE: Lochnagar
From: Philippa

Tiger - for the location, click on the link and see Beinn Cichean

17 Oct 99 - 03:20 PM (#124887)
Subject: RE: James Connolly / Lochnagar
From: j0_77

Twould be a mistake to think that a piece attributed in 1650 to a source was really composed by the named person, not of course that it would make any difference to some people.

The Pibracht is full of way old stuff which may in some cases go back to the golden age of the Harper in Ireland. We easily forget that the Scoti were still very well connected in fairly recent times. Like 1700 for example. Sooo a tune can give every indication of being of Irish or Scots origin but turns out to be a hybrid from some other source! Ie neither.

17 Oct 99 - 03:35 PM (#124891)
Subject: RE: James Connolly / Lochnagar
From: Tiger

That's great, Philippa - Thanks.

28 May 01 - 11:56 PM (#472071)
Subject: RE: James Connolly / Lochnagar
From: Jimmy C

I have the words somewhere and there is an additional verse that the Corries do not sing. I will search for it and post the words, This is a great song.

29 May 01 - 12:09 AM (#472077)
Subject: RE: James Connolly / Lochnagar
From: Jimmy C

Sorry, I just noticed that Tiger has already posted the words.

29 May 01 - 08:52 AM (#472215)
Subject: RE: James Connolly / Lochnagar
From: Big Tim

For the non-Scottish among you Lochnagar is a mountain not a loch, over 3000 feet high, near "royal" (Billy Connolly)Deeside. I've toiled often to its summit. The loch there is Loch Muick (pronounced Mick). Lord Byron's mother's family name was Gordon from this area so there was a good deal of the Scot in him. I'm not a big Corries fan but their version of this song is brilliant.

I don't have much of a musical ear but always suspected that Connolly/Locgnagar were the same tune, thanks for the confirmation. Being Irish, I reckon that the Scots stole it, just as they did "Loch Lomond" from "Red is the Rose" !!

29 May 01 - 09:48 AM (#472242)
Subject: RE: James Connolly / Lochnagar
From: Malcolm Douglas

Andrew Kuntz has this to say in his  Fiddler's Companion:

DARK LOUGH NA GAR (Loc Dorca Na Gar).  AKA - "Dark Loch na gCaor," "Dark Lochnagar."  Irish, Air (6/8 time).  D Major.  Standard.  AABB.  Gearoid O' hAllmhurain believes this tune may have been learned in County Clare from Scottish sappers in the 1830's who were sent to the region as part of the British survey of the country.  Whatever its origins, it became the melody of a popular 19th century song circulated on ballad sheets (the ballad gives reference to the Scottish battle of Culloden, in 1746).  Recorded by Clare piper Robbie Hannon.  Piper Jimmy O'Brien-Moran says it was a favorite of Willie Clancy's.  O'Neill (1850), 1903/1979; No. 477, pg. 83.  Piping Pig Productions PPPCD001, Jimmy O'Brien-Moran - "Seán Reid's Favourite" (1996).

P.W. Joyce also printed a version in his Old Irish Folk Music and Songs.  Presumably the song referred to above is Byron's (it was widely circulated on broadsides; the Bodleian has a couple of copies), but whether or not the tune took its name from the song or vice versa, I wouldn't know.  I'm inclined to suspect the former.

So far as Loch Lomond is concerned, the earliest appearance of the melody seems to have been in McGibbon's A Collection of Scots Tunes [I], 1742, where it is called Robin Cushee or Kind Robin; a little older, I should think, than Red is the Rose!  (Information from  Bruce Olson's website )


29 May 01 - 12:55 PM (#472380)
Subject: RE: James Connolly / Lochnagar
From: Big Tim

Thanks Malcolm: as ever you are spot on.