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Lamentation for the Baron of Loughmoe

By Benjamin Christensen

My wife Megan and I were in Ireland last week and paid a visit to Loughmoe Castle, the ancestral seat of the Purcells. The owner of the farmland on which the castle ruins now stands very kindly allowed us to walk back to the castle. It is an imposing edifice even in ruins!

Two days later we were at Trinity College in Dublin at an exhibit featuring the famous “Brian Boru” harp. A recording from that harp was playing nearby, and I was startled to read this informational plaque:

The composition we were listening to was commissioned in 1599 by Thomas Purcell (b. 1538)! Here is a link to this piece performed by Siobhán Armstrong on a replica of the Brian Boru harp. We listened and imagined standing 425 years ago in the great hall of Loughmoe Castle, where the world premier had likely been performed in honor of Thomas Purcell, Baron of Loughmoe.


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