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Lament for Padruig Og MacCrimmon

The Lament for Padruig Og MacCrimmon was composed circa 1700 by Iain Dall MacKay, the blind piper of Gairloch. Iain Dall was at Gairloch when he heard a rumour that Padruig Og MacCrimmon had died. As matters turned out, the rumour was wrong. Some time later, Iain Dall had the rare good fortune to play the tune for Padruig Og. After he played, Padruig asked Iain Dall what it was.


“That is a lament I composed for you.” “Indeed”, said MacCrimmon. “A lament for Peter and he is still alive. I shall learn the lament for myself.”


It was rare indeed that a person honoured by a Lament, would be alive and able to hear the tribute. In this case, the tribute is one of the very great ceol mor in the repertoire.


Iain Dall was acknowledged to be a charming, entertaining guest who was welcomed in the great houses of his time. He was as well known for his poetry as for his piping. As one might expect, Iain Dall had a fine ear for music and musicians.


When visiting Sir Alexander MacDonald of Sleat, he was asked to give an opinion on the playing of young Charles MacArthur who, after eleven years of training under Padruig Og MacCrimmon, was recently returned to Sir Alexander's service at Duntuilm. Iain was very complimentary of MacArthur.


Sir James then asked Iain to judge another player and compare the two. When the player was through, Iain said that he would recognize the playing of Padruig Og if all the pipers in Scotland played before him, for Padruig was the greatest master of piobaireachd in Scotland.


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