Píobaire, An, Volume 2, Issue 22, Page 8

Píobaire, An, Volume 2, Issue 22, Page 8
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periodical Publisher
Na Píobairí Uilleann
periodical Editor
Chairman, NPU
periodical Title
Píobaire, An
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PIPING IN WICKLOW ( II )John Cash, of whom morelater, is the hero of a songabout Mick the Daltys Ballwhich was once popular inWicklow and Wextord:My name is Cash the piperAnd Pm seen at race andfair;Im known to all the jollysoulsFrom Wicklow to Kildare.The ball in question tookplace in GlendaloughAnd when the ball was overThe dancers all sat down;In tumblers, tins and teacupsThe punch went steaminground;While rough and ready Hughstood upAnd sang the Ould PlaidSha w I,Which brought three cheerswith laughter loudAt Mick the Daltys ball.Pipers are involved in atleast two placenames in thecounty. A prehistoric circleof stones at Athgreany isknown as the Pipers Stones.Liam Price in his Place-names of Co. Wicklowwrites that if Athgreany iscorrectly rendered in Irishas Achadh Grine - thefield of the sun - it maypreserve some tradition ofancient religious rnes. Asimilar placename occurrednear Blessington. When theOrdnance Survey work wasunder way in the last cen-tury a circle of large Un-chiselled stones havingtheir ends well secured inthe ground was noted. Anew road was subsequentlydriven through its centreand later the stones wereused for local building. Theexpanation given in folk-lore for the naming ofthese circles of stones isthat music played on thepipes by the good peoplecould be heard in them.There is little doubt thatthe name does not derivefrom terrestial pipers.From history we cometo the devastating reign ofthe first Elizabeth. Thebackground to our refer-ences is found in thesavage and unrelenting cam-paign waged by the Englishgovernment against theOByrnes. Its nature maybe gauged from the direc-tions given in 1579 to SirHenry Harrington when hewas appointed seneschal andchief ruler of the OByrnecountry. He was on hisappointment instructed toissue a proclamation thatno idle person, vagabond, ormasterless man, bard,rymor or other notoriousmalefactor remain withinthe district on pain ofwhipping after eight days,and on pain of death aftertwenty days. Harpers andpipers were included underthe general term of male-factor. Some years pre-viously the Lord Deputy hadwritten from Dublin toElizabeth complaining thatFiach Mac Aodha O Broin,Ruairi cSg O Mdrdha andother rebels were so disdainI ul of the weakened defen-ces of the Pale that theycame on their raids headedby pipers in the daytimeand by torchbearers atnight; they were not con-cerned in any way to hidetheir approach. Traditionhas it that Follow me downto Carlow was the clanmarch of the OByrnes andthat it was first performedby the pipers of Fiach whenattacking the English of thePale in I 590. How trust-worthy that tradition is Iam unable to say.The Image of Ireland,a work published in 1581,is a versified account ofthe war waged by the LordDeputy, Sir Henry Sidney,End na Beorach he wascatted by the Irish, againstRuairi 0 Mrdha. Themodern edition contains aseries of woodcuts depictingevents in this campaign andexperts are agreed thatthey were drawn by an eyewitness. One represents araid on the Pale by a bandof wilde woodkarne headedby a piper. Another showsan engagement between theIrish and the English inwhich attention is drawn tothe figure of a piper whohas been slain, in this waypointing out the importanceof the incident. 6 M6rdhaswife, Margaret, was adaughter of Fiach MacAoidh and she and a numberof other women and chil-dren were slaughtered atthe instjgation of Sidney.When the county was finallypacified fiants or pardonswere issued in favour ofsome of the Queens ene-rnies. The fiant pardoningPhelim, son of Fiach, dated24 September 1601, includedCahell mEkelle, Donoghand Donell, pipers. It isinteresting to observe thatPhelim OByrne is describedas being of Ballinacor, Co.Dublin. Wicklow had notyet emerged as a separatecounty. A pardon dated15 May 1601, in favour ofDone]! Spaynagh I cavanaghof Clonemullin, includedBrene mGyllechriste, Patroge 0 Ferrayle, DonellmFergasse 0 Ferrayle andFergasse 0 Ferrayle, pipers.Also near enough to ourscene to be mentioned hereis Owen, a piper fromKarrickmayne, who waspardoned some years beforethis time.Breand n Breathnach.Nicholas AdamsInstrument makerMiltowri MalbayCo Clare6
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Píobaire, An, Volume 2, Issue 22

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