The Keepers of the Flame
(Air: The Bantry Girl’s Lament)
Author: Dave Barron

Dublin Core

Title

The Keepers of the Flame
(Air: The Bantry Girl’s Lament)
Author: Dave Barron

Subject

The Oral Tradition was central to how our Irish Culture was passed from one generation to the next. The stories, songs and poems that illustrated our Way of Life and our Cultural beliefs were repeated at social events, heard, modified and passed from one generation to the next. The local Rambling House sessions were a key element of that Oral Tradition.
Sadly, the OT is now under threat from our modern social media. Our modern culture is shaped by influences that emanate from places, known and unknown, across the world; the values of our ancestors are diluted or dissolved. The moral framework that shaped and supported our Irish way of life is under serious threat.
Now more than ever we need the Culture Framework and those who keep it alive.
The song reflects on that Oral Tradition and its importance. It particularly remembers Eddie MacDonald of Clonmore, County Carlow, who successfully promoted and maintained the Rambling House tradition. Ar dheis Dé go raibh Eddie.

Description

Long, long ago ancestral lore was passed on orally;
The spark to light the Cultural Fire was lit in family
And local neighbours and the clan, all warmed to that same Flame
And so all came to act the same, all Keepers of the Flame.
Ár gcultúr úr, ó ghlúin go glúin, trí Coimeádaí ár scéal.

That Cultural Fire, fanned into flame, became our Irish Way,
So strong it burned Norse and Norman adopted Irish ways;
Seanchaí and Bard, they were the stars who tended to the Flame;
They told the stories of our race, the Keepers of the Flame.
Ár gcultúr úr, ó ghlúin go glúin, trí Coimeádaí ár scéal.

Queen Liza knew the part they played, how Bards maintained the Flame;
Her empire tried to quench our Flame, to their eternal shame;
But by fireside on Rambling Nights our Culture still was safe:
The singers and the Fear an Tigh, all Keepers of the Flame.
Ár gcultúr úr, ó ghlúin go glúin, trí Coimeádaí ár scéal.

How can we keep the Flame today, with new technology?
The button we press will answer all quests, from AI to Zoology;
But AI and facts need more than that: they need a cultural frame:
We need to maintain our Cultural Flame and the Keepers of the Flame.
Ár gcultúr úr, ó ghlúin go glúin, trí Coimeádaí ár scéal.

In old Clonmore lived such a man, McDonald was his name;
He aimed to keep the Fire aflame, not glory and not fame;
There Eddie Mac and his Rambling House all kept the Fire aflame,
Now Eddie’s gone, he’s joined the throng, the Keepers of the Flame.
Yes, Eddie’s passed to Heaven’s host of Keepers of the Flame.

Files

Citation

“The Keepers of the Flame (Air: The Bantry Girl’s Lament) Author: Dave Barron,” From Carlow Streams, accessed July 16, 2024, http://fromcarlowstreams.ie/items/show/302.