Keening – Caoineadh na Marbh

Bríd Iarnáin (Bean Uí Mhaoláin), Inis Mór ag tabhairt sampla de chaoineadh na marbh anseo gan aon chorp i láthair.

Bríd Iarnáin (Mrs Bridget Mullen) who was a keener from Inishmore gives an example of her craft here with no corpse present.

Tá Bríd Iarnáin, a bhí ina bean chaointe, ag tabhairt sampla de chaoineadh na marbh anseo.Ag pointe amháin deireann sí “an bhfuil do dhóthain anois agat” agus shílfeá b’fhéidir go raibh drogall uirthi an caoineadh a dhéanamh. B’fhéidir nach raibh sí ag iarraidh go sílfeadh daoine go raibh sí ag tabhairt dúshlán shagart an oileáin a bhí ag iarraidh deireadh a chuir le nósanna a bhain le tórraimh agus caoineadh. Lean an nós ar an oileán go dtí na seascaidí.

Bríd Iarnáin (Mrs Bridget Mullen) performs an example of keening here and at one point she says in translation “Is that sufficient for you now?“. She may have been reluctant in case people felt she was challenging the priest on the island who didn’t favour wakes and keening.The custom continued in some form until the 1960s.



‘Caoineadh Na Dtrí Mhuire’

Lyrics and English Translation ( with thanks to “halfmace”)-

Sé a Pheadair, a aspaill, a bhfhaca tú mo ghrá bán?
Chonaic mé ar ball é dá ruaigeadh ag an namhaid

Oh Peter, apostle, did you see my loved one? Alas, alas, and alas!
I saw him while ago, being attacked by the enemy Alas, alas, and alas!

(Keen is repeated throughout)

Óchón, is óchón ó.
Óchón, is óchón ó

Muise cé hé a fear breá atá ar Chrann na Páise?
An é nach n-aithníonn tú do mhac, a Mháithrín?

Who is that fine man on the Tree of Passion?
Don’t you recognize your own son, Mother

An é sin an maicín a d’iompar mé trí raithe?
Nó an é sin an maicín a rugadh insan stábla?

Is that the little son I carried for three trimesters?
Is that the little son who was born in the stable?

Nó an é sin an maicín a h-oileadh in ucht Mháire?
A mhicín mhúirneach, tá do bhéal is do shrónín gearrtha

Or is that the little son who was reared at Mary’s breast?
O little darling son, your mouth and your nose are cut

Is cuireadh táirní maola thrí throith a chosa is a lámha
Is cuireadh sleagha thrína bhrollach álainn

And blunt nails were driven through his feet and hands
And a spear was driven through his beautiful chest


Amhrán Mhuínse / The Song of Muínis performed by Líadan


Dhá mbeinn trí léig i bhfarraige nó ar sléibhte i bhfad ó thír
Gan aoinneach beo i mo ghaobhar ann ach raithneach ghlas is fraoch,
An sneachta á shéideadh anuas orm, is an ghaoith dhá fhuadach díom,
‘S mé a bheith ag comhrá le mo Taimín Bán, níorbh fhada liom an oíche.

A Mhuire dhílis, céard a dhéanfas mé, tá an geimhreadh seo ‘tíocht fuar,
A Mhuire dhílis, céard a dhéanfas an teach seo is a bhfuil ann?
Nach óg, a stór, a d’imigh tú, le linn na huaire breá,
Le linn don chuach bheith ag seinm ceoil, gach duilliúr glas ag fás.

Má bhíonn mo chlann sa mbaile a’am an oíche a bhfaighidh mé bás,
Ó tórróidh siad go groíúil mé trí oíche is trí lá;
Beidh píopaí deasa cailce a’am agus ceaigeannaí is iad lán,
Beidh triúr ban óg ó shléibhte ann le mé a chaoineadh os cionn cláir.

Is gearraí amach mo chónra dhom as fíorscoth geal na gclár,
Má tá Seán Ó hEidhin i Muínis bíodh sé déanta ón a láimh;
Bíodh mo chaipín is mo ribín inti istigh, é go rídheas ar mo cheann,
Tabharfadh Paidín Mór go Muínis mé nó is garbh a bhéas an lá.

Gabháil siar thar Inse Gaine dhom bíodh an bhratach insa gcrann,
Ná cuir’ i Leitir Caladh mé mar ní ann atá mo dhream;
Ach tugaí siar go Muínis mé, ‘n áit a gcaoinfear mé go hard,
Beidh soilse ar na dúmhchannaí – ní bheidh uaigneas orm ann.

(Príomh Amhránaí / Lead Vocals: Síle Denvir)


If I were three leagues out at sea or on mountains far from home,
Without any living thing near me but the green fern and the heather,
The snow being blown down on me, and the wind snatching it off again,
And I were to be talking to my fair Taimín and I would not find the night long.

Dear Virgin Mary, what will I do, this winter is coming on cold.
And, dear Virgin Mary, what will this house do and all that are in it?
Wasn’t it young, my darling, that you went, during a grand time,
At a time when the cuckoo was playing a tune and every green leaf was growing?

If I have my children home with me the night that I will die,
They will wake me in mighty style three nights and three days;
There will be fine clay pipes and kegs that are full,
And there will be three mountainy women to keen me when I’m laid out.

And cut my coffin out for me, from the choicest brightest boards;
And if Seán Hynes is in Muínis, let it be made by his hand.
Let my cap and my ribbon be inside in it, and be placed stylishly on my head,
And Big Paudeen will take me to Muínis for rough will be the day.

And as I go west by Inse Ghainimh, let the flag be on the mast.
Oh, do not bury me in Leitir Calaidh, for it’s not where my people are,
But bring me west to Muínis, to the place where I will be mourned aloud;
The lights will be on the dunes, and I will not be lonely there.

(Lead Vocals: Síle Denvir)


Experience of Illness: Learning from the Arts from Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre at UCC

Hughie O’Donoghue ‘Knocknalower, Hill of the Lepers’ (University College Cork Collection)

[From the Irish Times >] Peter Whorwell: “Some of the current questions we ask to diagnose depression are quite intrusive, such as ‘have you ever thought about killing yourself?’ which is very difficult to answer.” The only caveat is that such a screening model would have to be validated in different cultures, as red can be a positive colour in China for example. Colours can have different cultural connotations around the world. Whorwell and Carruthers are also currently trying out their model in schools with younger children who can sometimes find it difficult to articulate illness.

Another speaker who has articulated her own illness is leading bipolar disorder expert, Dr Kay Jamison, a professor of psychiatry from Johns Hopkins University and an acknowledged world expert on mood disorders.

In 1995, Jamison wrote a book entitled An Unquiet Mind, where she admitted that she lived with bipolar disorder. Her admission was regarded as a brave move, and she received broad support from her family and colleagues. She will deliver a talk on the consequences of public disclosure of mental illness, relying on her own experience and the stigma that still surrounds some mental health illnesses. I ask her about how people with bipolar disorder feel about being honest about their condition when applying for a job.

On the medical side, Prof Fergus Shanahan from the department of medicine, University College Cork, will speak about what it feels like to be ill, while Dr Aoife Lowney, who specialises in palliative care, will talk about how new media is helping patients communicate their illnesses.

Experience of Illness: Learning from the Arts will be hosted by the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre at University College Cork on Friday (5pm-8.30pm) and Saturday, from 9am. It is free, but pre-registration is required.

Art meets the Science of Alzheimer’s

Pictures at an Exhibition: Art meets the Science of Alzheimer’s

Royal College of Physicians, Kildare Street, Dublin; Wednesday 28th November 2012; 2.30 – 5.30pm

Pictures at an Exhibition: Art meets the Science of Alzheimer’s is a programme of projects, culminating next Wednesday in a unique seminar, exploring the experience of dementia and the arts.

Renowned composer Ian Wilson and members of the Irish Chamber Orchestra (ICO) were in residence in the Age Related Health Care Unit at Tallaght Hospital for three months. Visual artist Lucia Barnes also completed a residency earlier this year where she worked with people with dementia and their family carers and created work in collaboration with them.

The residencies will culminate in a unique seminar, Arts and Alzheimer’s, to be held on Wednesday November 28th 2012, from 2.30 – 5.30pm at the Royal College of Physicians Ireland. Wilson’s new work will be performed by the ICO (Kenneth Rice, Violin, Joachim Roewer Viola and Malachi Robinson, Double bass) with soloist Cathal Roche Saxophone. Barnes’ art will be on exhibition. Composition and fine art students are an integral component of this project as they learn about the role of arts in healthcare and with particular reference to patients with dementia.

The seminar brings together the art and science of dementia and will reflect on the interplay between the rapid advances in the sciences of Alzheimer’s disease – from neuro imaging to novel insights into personhood – with the ferment of creativity provided by two unique artist residencies.

This event is a Dublin City of Science 2012 event, held in conjunction with the Heritage Centre, Royal College of Physicians, Ireland and the Meath Foundation.

Tickets free but places are limited. To book please email or telephone 01 414 2076

Find out more:

Peter Gabriel’s Mercy Street – an elegy for Anne Sexton

45 Mercy Street

In my dream,
drilling into the marrow
of my entire bone,
my real dream,
I’m walking up and down Beacon Hill
searching for a street sign –
Not there.

I try the Back Bay.
Not there.
Not there.
And yet I know the number.
45 Mercy Street.
I know the stained-glass window
of the foyer,
the three flights of the house
with its parquet floors.
I know the furniture and
mother, grandmother, great-grandmother,
the servants.
I know the cupboard of Spode
the boat of ice, solid silver,
where the butter sits in neat squares
like strange giant’s teeth
on the big mahogany table.
I know it well.
Not there.

Where did you go?
45 Mercy Street,
with great-grandmother
kneeling in her whale-bone corset
and praying gently but fiercely
to the wash basin,
at five A.M.
at noon
dozing in her wiggy rocker,
grandfather taking a nap in the pantry,
grandmother pushing the bell for the downstairs maid,
and Nana rocking Mother with an oversized flower
on her forehead to cover the curl
of when she was good and when she was…
And where she was begat
and in a generation
the third she will beget,
with the stranger’s seed blooming
into the flower called Horrid.

I walk in a yellow dress
and a white pocketbook stuffed with cigarettes,
enough pills, my wallet, my keys,
and being twenty-eight, or is it forty-five?
I walk. I walk.
I hold matches at street signs
for it is dark,
as dark as the leathery dead
and I have lost my green Ford,
my house in the suburbs,
two little kids
sucked up like pollen by the bee in me
and a husband
who has wiped off his eyes
in order not to see my inside out
and I am walking and looking
and this is no dream
just my oily life
where the people are alibis
and the street is unfindable for an
entire lifetime.

Pull the shades down –
I don’t care!
Bolt the door, mercy,
erase the number,
rip down the street sign,
what can it matter,
what can it matter to this cheapskate
who wants to own the past
that went out on a dead ship
and left me only with paper?

Not there.

I open my pocketbook,
as women do,
and fish swim back and forth
between the dollars and the lipstick.
I pick them out,
one by one
and throw them at the street signs,
and shoot my pocketbook
into the Charles River.
Next I pull the dream off
and slam into the cement wall
of the clumsy calendar
I live in,
my life,
and its hauled up

Anne Sexton

Music Network Seminar, ‘The Wealth of Music and Health’

Performance in the Stroke Unit of AMNCH of Ian Wilson’s ‘Bewitched’ that emerged from his composer-in-residence time there as co-ordinated by the National Centre for Arts & Health (read more here >>>)

Music Network presents ‘The Wealth of Music and Health’ a day-long seminar in Music and Health at the Coach House, Dublin Castle on Wednesday 23 May. Aimed at professional musicians, healthcare professionals and arts and health practitioners, the seminar will present a snapshot of the current music and health environment.

Based on findings from the recent European Music in Healthcare Settings: Training Trainers Programme, ‘The Wealth of Music and Health’ will examine how the new skills and competences acquired through this training programme can affect the arts and health landscape in Ireland. According to Sharon Rollston, Acting CEO at Music Network, “Music Network is looking forward to sharing learning on the latest developments in the area of music and health with our national and international colleagues, and to examining how Music Network’s contribution to professional development for musicians can make a greater impact on the lives of patients, clients, residents and healthcare professionals in Ireland”.  Speakers will include Jenny Elliot, CEO Artscare Northern Ireland; Philippe Bouteloup, Director, Musique & Santé, France; Kevin O’Shanahan, Director Music Alive and Arts & Mental Health Coordinator with West Cork Mental Health Services among others. The seminar promises to be an informative and challenging day of discussion, engagement and inspiration with national and international practitioners and key organisations and individuals involved in this exciting area of work.

The European Music in Healthcare Settings: Training Trainers Programme brought Irish musicians Liam Merriman, Finn McGinty and Gráinne Hope together with six other musicians, three from the UK and three from Finland, to participate in an 8-month, intensive, training programme led by Musique et Santé (a non-profit organisation advocating for the development of live music in hospitals and institutions). The training focused on learning the craft of training other musicians in the skills, resources and policies of this specific area of work.

The music in healthcare settings approach involves a non-clinical approach that advocates for access to high-quality, live music in any healthcare situation and opportunities for healthcare professionals, patients/clients/services users to explore music creatively. The focus of this approach is the well-being of the patient/client/service-user, their relatives, the healthcare professional and care staff operating in a healthcare environment. While some clinical outcomes have been recorded in participants in these interventions, they are considered a boon rather than the objective of the engagement.

For further information on the seminar including registration details visit

Rock band past helps Ronal Kavanagh heal musicians

Music and medicine have been so central to the life of Dr Ronan Kavanagh that it seemed to be a logical move for the consultant rheumatologist to open up the first clinic in the country to cater exclusively for musicians last year.

The Musicians’ Clinic, dealing with the pains and strains which come with playing an instrument for hours on end, has proved a huge hit with enthusiasts from all around the country who warm to Ronan because of his own history as a keyboard player in a rock band. (Galway City Tribune) >

Belly laughs and Bach the latest prescriptions for heart disease

Dr Michael Miller, professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said watching a film or a sitcom that produces laughter has a positive effect on cardiovascular function and may be as beneficial as going for a run. However, the laughter must be intense – “more of a deep belly laugh”, Dr Miller said – and needs to last for about 15 seconds to be effective.

Meanwhile, a German cardiologist who is also an organist told the same symposium that, in comparison to listening to Bach, heavy metal music has a “potential to be dangerous”. (Times) >>>