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Guide to Creggan Church and Graveyard

The Fairy Land of Promise

(Translation - in parts paraphrase, with two verses missing -
of Art MacCooey's poem "Urchill an Chreagain", by George Sigerson)

On the clay of Creggan churchyard, I slept all the night in woe,
With the rise of morn, a Maiden came and kissed me, bending low:
Her cheek had the blush of beauty, her tresses the golden sheen,
'Twas the world's delight to gaze on the face of that fair young queen.

"O true heart", she said, "and constant! Consume not in grief for aye,
But arise and make ready swiftly and come to the West away;
In that fair land of Promise, strangers bear sway o'er no sea nor shore,
But the sweetness of airy music shall entrance thee for evermore".

"Not for all the gold that monarchs could heap on the round of earth
Would I stay when you seek me, Princess.! - but this lone land of my birth,
Keeps yet on its hills some kindred my heart would be loath to leave,
And the bride that in youth I wedded, were I gone, would, it may be, grieve".

"Methinks that, of all thy kindled, no friend hast thou living now, -
None speaks but to deride thee, none grieves for thy stricken brow;
No hand goes to clasp a comrade's, no eyes to look into thine -
Why tarry in snows of sorrow, when I call to a life divine?".

"Ah my anguish, my wound! We've lost them, the Gael of our true Tyrone,
And the Heir of the Fews, unhonoured, sleeps under the cold gray stone.
Brave branches of Niall Frasach, whose delight were the lays of old,
Whose hearts gave the minstrels welcome, whose hands gave the poets gold".

"Since at Aughrim all were vanished, and the Boyne - alas my woe!
And fallen the great Milesians and every chieftain low, -
It were better to fairy fortress, to flee, in our love, away,
Than to suffer Clan William's arrows in thy torn heart every day".

"One pledge I shall ask you only, one promise, O Queen divine!
And then I will follow faithful - still follow each step of thine,
Should I die in some far-off country, in our wanderings east and west,
In the fragrant clay of Creggan let my weary heart have rest".