Creggan Poets
 

 

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Creggan Poets

creggan maccooey.jpg (139819 bytes)

The Creggan poets, Art MacCooey, Padraic Mac A Liondain and Seamus MacMurphy, are buried in Creggan graveyard near Crossmaglen, County Armagh. Go in the main gate at the visitors centre, which is open from June to September 3-5.30. Sundays only.

            Art MacCooey 1738-1773 was born in Mounthill. He worked locally as a labourer and gardener. He fell out with the local clergy and was married in Creggan instead. This event led to him having to leave the area and he wrote about this in one of his poems. He returned some time later and made his peace. Many of his poems were very popular in his day but only 25 of them survive. The inscription on the headstone are the last two lines of his best known poem Úrchill an Chreagáin. They were translated by Sigerson as “in the fragrant clay of Creggan let my weary heart have rest”. The stone was unveiled in 1973 by Senorita Conchita O’Neill. The grave of Art’s sister is in the same graveyard.creggan macaliodain.jpg (210329 bytes)

              Padraic Mac A Liondain 1665-1733 was born in Creggan parish, County Armagh. One of his better known compositions was a lament for Eoghan Rua O’Neill. He was also a harpist. A commemorative plaque on the wall reads: A Prayer For The Soul Of/ Padraic Mac A Liondain, Poet Of The Few/ Buried In This Churchyard March 1773 R.I.P./ Plaque Erected By Eigse Oirialla 1987.creggan macmurphy.jpg (197782 bytes)

              Seamus MacMurphy 1720-1750, according to his headstone, was a poet and a tory. The word “tory”, originally meaning robber or pursuer, was also applied to those who supported the Jacobean cause. MacMurphy founded a school for Gaelic poetry and was a supporter of the Stuart cause. He found himself on the run from John Johnston, the Chief Constable of (the barony of) the Fews. He was betrayed by Molly McDacker, who was in love with him but believed he was unfaithful. MacMurphy was hanged, allegedly for stealing, but more likely because of the rhyme ascribed to him “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, Save us from Johnston, King of the Fews”. Johnston is buried in the same graveyard.

Further information and directions to the grave are to be found in "The End - An Illustrated Guide to the Graves of Irish Writers".  Click here to order a copy of this book