Christy Moore’s ethereal rendition of John Spillane’s song ‘Gortataggart’ evokes memories of a lost world, maybe that is too severe, a world that can come back to life with a little imagination…
Can be seen on You Tube.
John Spillane, born in Cork in 1961, went to secondary school in Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh. maybe one of the best schools in the world, http://www.csncork.ie. The song evokes the world of his mother’s birthplace, Colomane, and the townland of Gortatagort (the priest’s field), a few miles from Bantry.
The song echoes with the field names, ‘the haggard’ the field of the gaullanes’, cnoca rua, páirc na cluise, where the red fuschia weeps in the hen’s garden, spring of well water, south ray grass, paírcin na h-onan, god goes to sleepoin the hills and the valleys moon rise above the haggard peace descends, and angels bleed over Bantry Bay . Eamonn Langford of Cork did a study on the names of local areas in West Cork, ‘Logainmneacha Chiarraí/ Corcaigh’, shown that virtually every field in Cork had its own name many of which due to his efforts have been preserved.
The song brings back the 1960s in West Cork, electricity had arrived, not to every house, farmers still went to the creamery on the horse and cart, and people cycled 30 miles on the 25th September to go to the pilgrimage to Gougán Barra.
Within a few mile of Gortatagort are the birthplaces of Francis O’Neill the Chief Of Police in Chicago and collector of Irish Music, Sean Hurley (1897-1961), the first Irishman to hold a Chinese passport http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean_Hurley.
The ruined church and graveyard of Moulivard, place of pilgrimage to Father Bernane,