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The Search for Amhairgin

Event Date

Thursday, 22 August 2013 - 8:00pm - 10:00pm

Drogheda Museum / Old Drogheda Society

Special HERITAGE WEEK lecture

THE SEARCH FOR AMHAIRGIN – Looking deep into Millmount’s past …

By Kevin Barton & Conor Brady

THURS 22 AUG 2013 – 8pm
Governor’s House, Millmount Cultural Quarter

Using the latest geophys technology Drogheda Museum begin a year-long project to look deep into the ancient mound at Millmount in a search for Drogheda’s Stone Age …

It is thought that the mound at Millmount in Drogheda was originally part of the great Megalithic (“large stone”) Culture which flourished in the Boyne Valley from 5,000BCE to 2,000BCE and includes the internationally-famous tombs of Newgrange and Knowth. Its importance in our collective folk memory is underlined by the legend that the mythological figure Amhairgin (pronounced “Aver-gin”) the originator of song and poetry is buried there.

Because of the huge amount of structural changes on the mound over the millennia normal archaeological excavation is impossible but now through the wonders of modern electronic remote sensing (“geophys”) we can scan deep into Millmount and begin to unlock its secrets.

Leaders of the Project Team, Kevin Barton of Landscape & Geophysical Services  and Conor Brady, Lecturer in Archaeology at DKIT will launch the research programme with a special lecture in The Governor’s House Millmount on Thurs 22 Aug 2013 at 8pm.

In Early Irish mythology Amhairgin ("aver-gin") was the inventor of song and poetry as implied in his name ("Amhair"=singing; "gin" = give birth to). The extraordinary poem/song associated with him, Duan Amhairgine (The Song of Amhairgin), was therefore regarded by the Old Irish as the first song ever made and was always placed first in collections of poetry.

The power of this poem in Old Irish is such that a whole array of famous poets in many languages have attempted translations. Among them was the great English poet Robert Graves who said that “English poetic education should, really, begin not with Canterbury Tales, not with the Odyssey, not even with Genesis, but with the Song of Amergin.”

Many composers and songwriters have also set versions of the text to music including this one in the original Old Irish by Lisa Gerrard (of Dead Can Dance) from the BBC series "The Celts".