commemorating The Battle of Clontarf | read more

Commissioned by: The Temple Bar Trad Festival 2014

On April 23rd, Good Friday 1014, Sigtrygg Silkenbeard, the Norse King of Dublin, watched from the walls of the greatest city in the western Viking world as two armies slaughtered one another a little over a mile from his city walls.

The Gaelic account tells us that the onslaught was so ferocious that those standing on the city walls could not recognise each other because of the spattered blood and hair that was whipped back by a sea breeze from the battlefield.

The victor of the day, Brian Borumha, didn’t live to see his victory, and for the Vikings it spelt the death knell of their suzerainty in the western Viking world.

In Cogadh Gael re Gallaibh and Njal’s Saga, Norse and Irish eye witnesses gave gripping accounts of this bloody power struggle. At the Temple Bar trad fest 2014 Lorcán's composition presented an intrigueing picture of that days events taken from these ancient accounts.

 


 

 

from derry to the sea | read more

Commissioned by: Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann Doire 2013

derry to the sea deep end of the ford in Derry
"If poets verse be but fables
So be food and garments fables
So is all the world a fable
So is man of dust a fable
"
Colmcille at the convention of Druim Cett 575AD

From the beginning, the river Foyle has shaped the story of Derry and the lives of its inhabitants.

Flowing past the original Oaken settlement, and through the modern City, its currents have been an artery of commerce from Derry to the sea and the wider world.

As a route of transit it has played an important role in the life of the city and its people, bringing trade and employment as well as being the point of departure in countless stories of exile over the past 1500 years.

From the story of Colmcille, a man who started a war over a book and took exile as punishment, to the bitter songs of emigrants of the 18th – 19th centuries, the Foyle has been central to the history of Derry –and Ireland- and the people who passed through it. The story of exile is one of the histories of Derry, in which the Foyle has a clear voice.    

I am the Foyle Derry

 

 


 

 

An TÁin : An Avant-Garde epic of staggering antiquity | read more

Commissioned by: the william Kennedy International Piping Festival 2010

The Tain brochureAn Táin brochure
The villainous Meadhbh, driven by greed and the lust of conquest,, invades the kingdom of Ulster with the ultimate aim to steal the prize bull of the Ulster people, the Donn Cuailgne.

The ancient kingdom of Ulster is left defenceless because of an ancient curse, and but for the stand of one lone warrior, the youthful Cú Chulainn, she would advance unchecked through the plains of Muirthemna, despoiling and looting. 

Would she win her prize, or would her web of lies and manipulations come undone?

Meadhbh could not get the better of Cú Chulainn until she cajoled and coerced Cú Chulainn's foster brother, Ferdia, into challenging him to single combat.

And so she sets the scene for the tragic and titanic battle of the blood brothers which raged so furiously that the water of the ford boiled and the river diverted its course.

An Táin is an heroic epic more than 2000 years old. It describes a Celtic warrior society and an epic campaign which revolves around two of the most enigmatic and powerful characters in Irish mythology.

A tale of political intrigue, bloodshed, and betrayal, it is amongst the great legends of the world.

 


 

 

TÁsc is Tuairisc : madness on the Franklin expedition | Read more
Words: Lorcán Mac Mathúna; Music: Simon O Connor, Daire Bracken , Lorcán Mac Mathúna

Commissioned by: the axis theatre, ballymun, and Boradh Buan2009

 

The Sir John Franklin polar expedition shocked Victorian Britain to the core. Hailed as a heroic adventure on its departure in 1845, it vanished into the ice of Canada with 129 men; never to be seen again.

Reports from rescue missions rumoured that the desperate mission had fallen on depraved necessity, and that cannibalism was the final fate of the dwindling survivors.

Tásc is Tuairisc (Account and Death Notice) is a dark minimalist composition which imagines a claustrophobic psychology in the mind of a lone seaman’s journey to madness.