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Calmly Awaiting the End

for uilleann pipes and string quartet

Year:  2016   ·  Duration:  10m

Year:  2016
Duration:  10m

Dave Flynn

Composer:   Dave Flynn


Programme Poem written by Dave Flynn 31st May 2016, 100 years and 23 days after Éamonn Ceannt's murder.


Calmly Awaiting the End from his Kilmainham Gaol cell,
Éamonn Ceannt of Ballymoe looks back on his brief, shining life.
Drones, regs and chanter sing the soundtrack.

Foremost in his mind, his beloved wife Áine Ní Bhraonáin, an unsung hero herself.

Ceannt's mind drifts fondly to June 1905,
recalling the hypnotic jigs they danced on their wedding day.
Soon sweet nostalgia gives way to jarring, oppressive thoughts

To the suffering of his fellow Irish,

The relentless repression of their language, culture, beliefs and livelihoods.
Ceannt's calmness boils to a rage equal to the rage he felt when he realised
he HAD to join the struggle for freedom,
to join MacDiarmaida's IRB, to plot the Rising of 1916.
The jigs in his mind change to a revolutionary reel

His thoughts turning to the young men who fought so bravely with their lives to hold the South Dublin Union.

The din of relentless gunfire and bombings fetters the sweet piping music
Crans cry out as Ceannt recalls Pearse's surrender order.
The bitter sapidity of defeat still freshly sour on his tongue
The walls are closing in on Ceannt now.
Now Ceannt's mind turns to the immediate past
Detention at Richmond Barracks, transfer to Kilmainham Gaol
for a pre-determined court martial.
The pipes cry a lament as he recalls his last battle
against a military judge prejudiced with Imperialist spite

He recalls his spirited defence of Ireland's honour, his defence of his Irish brethren.
He recalls General Maxwell's cold judgement.

Death by firing squad
The pipes fall silent....

Back in the present of the past, Ceannt sits in his prison cell
calmly awaiting the end.

A clock ticks relentlessly as he pens his last letter to Áine.

Dearest Áine, not wife but widow before these lines reach you, I am here without hope of this world, without fear, calmly awaiting the end.
I die a noble death for Ireland's freedom.
Men and women will vie with one another to shake your dear hand....Tell Ronan to be a good boy and remember Easter 1916 forever;

The ink not yet dry, Ceannt the hero piper is marched from his cell to calmly await his fate.
He hears the sound of gunfire one last time. That sound will last for a hundred years.

Commissioned note

Commissioned by Galway County Council to mark the centenary of the death of Eamonn Ceannt, an uilleann piper and one of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising that ultimately led to the Republic of Ireland's independence from British rule.