Tune of the Day: Limerick's Lamentation
There is no doubt that “Limerick's Lamentation” is related to the Scottish lament “Lochaber No More”. The two melodies may have had a common ancestry, although provenance is claimed by both Ireland and Scotland. Irish folk musician Robin Morton (1976) says the weight of evidence lends credence to the Scots claim, despite Francis O'Neill's seemingly cogent argument that a tune composed by the 17th century County Cavan harper Myles O'Reilly was the common ancestor of both. The esteemed harper Thomas Connellon has also been given credit for the tune. In 1922, O'Neill wrote: “As far back as 1676, this melody was referred to as ‛The Irish Tune’.”
The Irish version, also known as “Marbhna Luimní”, derives its title from the siege and fall of the city of Limerick to the English forces of Ginkel in 1691, at the end of the Williamite Wars. The tune is sometimes known as “Sarsfield's Lamentation”, from the name of the commander of the Irish forces at Limerick.