Caoineadh Cu Chulainn polka

Also known as Cuchulainn’s Lament, Lament For My Son.

There are 5 recordings of this tune.

Caoineadh Cu Chulainn has been added to 2 tune sets.

Caoineadh Cu Chulainn has been added to 125 tunebooks.

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One setting

X: 1
T: Caoineadh Cu Chulainn
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:F|"G5"G2 "Gsus4"d2|"G"ga/g/ fd|"G3"B2 "Gsus4/2 G" cd| "Gsus4" F4|
GF "G"D2|D2 zF|G2 "G/D"d2|"G"ga/g/ fd|
"G3"B2 "Gsus4/2"c2|"G"d2 "Gsus4"{E}F2|F2 "G"G2|G4|
Gz de/f/|"Cmaj9"g2 "D"a2|{d}eA B2|Bz de/f/ "Cmaj7"ge/g/ "D"a2|
d2 B2| "Am7"cB/c/ de|"Gsus4/2"A4|Az D2|
"Gsus4"G2 "G7sus4" d2|"C2/G"eA B2|B(3B/A/G/ "D/G"A2|A(3A/G/F/ "C2/G"G2|
"Csus2"G2 GF|F2 G2|G4|G2 Gd:|
|:"Em"a2 b"Cmaj7/E"d|"Em7"a2 b2|g2 fg|"D"a2 dB|
"C2"cB/c/ "G/B" Bc/d/|dz "C2"G2|G4|G2 zd|
"Em"a2 b"Cmaj7/E"d|"Em7"a2 b2|g2 "Em"d2|B2 "C"c2|
c"C2"d/c/ Bc|"D"d4|ga "G"b2|"C/G"c'2 b"D/G"a|
a2 "D/C"f2|"Em"g2 "D"f2|"C"d2 B2|c(3B/c/d/ e"C6/9"A|
A4|A2 AD:||:"G7sus4"G2 d2|B2 "C2/G"cd/c/|
"Em"B2 GA|"Em"B2 E2|F4|G4|"C"G4|
G3 D|"G7sus4"G2 d2|B2 "C2/G"cd/c/|
"Em"B2 GA|"Em"B2 E2|"C2"F4|G4|"A"G4|G3:|"G5"||
# Added by JACKB .

Eight comments

Not A Polka

But a fantastic slow air, not to be played with strict metre, but freely. (Not sure of the musical term Rubarto?)

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I think this was composed by Bill Whelan for Riverdance. Or am I mistaken?

Rubato, by the way, is the standard musical term for slight variations in tempo. This tune could be approached as "molto (very) rubato" or even "ad libitum" (i.e., "ad lib," meaning freely).

Posted by .


In case anyone is wondering, the pronunciation is something like “kwinnuh koo ĥullin”—not scientifically exact, but a reasonably recognizable anglicization.

The transcription isn’t quite right, I think, but it works if you listen to it as well. There’s a great performance available online at

Cú Chulainn is a mythological Irish hero—sort of the Celtic equivalent to Achilles.


"Not sure of the musical term Rubarto?"

The musical term is Rubato. You were close, but not quite.

Wexfords First Rebellion 1793

According to sleeve notes of recording called Fonn, by local Enniscorthy musicians - this was composed by Davy Spillane and recorded in Sept 2000 for a video production "Wexfords First Rebellion 1793" by Carraigbyrne Film Productions Ltd. Thanks are given to Bill Murray for permission to use.

The 1798 rebellion is very well known in Ireland but must admit, I had not heard of a Wexford Rebellion in 1793. However apparently it did indeed occur and is not a typo!

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