About the work

Kilmartin Glen is a tone poem for orchestra based on the archeological pre-history and the recorded history of the people and the land in and around the village of Kilmartin, Argyll, Scotland. While the work is not specifically programmatic, the music is evocative of certain historic events and individuals. The “voices” of the land and its people can be heard throughout the work in the use of characteristic percussion and authentic folk melodies.

The work is divided into several sections each highlighting an important aspect of the history of the area:

Muir Éireann
Dál Riata
Temple Wood
a.	Cenél Loairn
b.	Cenél nÓengusa
c.	Cenél nGabráin
Áedán mac Gabráin and the Battle of Degsastan
Cináed mac Ailpín and the revival of the Kingdom of Dál Riata

There is no chronology implied in the order of the sections. Likewise, no historical connection between the three Cenéls or kindreds (Loairn, nÓengusa, nGabráin) and the pagan religious site of Temple Wood is implied. However, in the 6th century, at the time of the Cenéls, Christianity was only just beginning to be evangelized in the person of St. Columba. It is doubtful that it would have spread throughout the people in this area of Scotland. In light of this, it is possible that Temple Wood would have still been in use as a location for druid-like religious ceremonies.

The triple-meter melody in the Temple Wood section of Kilmartin Glen is based on an authentic ancient Scottish melody which research indicates* was used as a “charm to stop a hail storm.” Melodies such as this would have been heard in prehistoric times in and around Temple Wood during religious ceremonies.

History and Genesis

Kilmartin Glen has one of the most important concentrations of Neolithic and Bronze Age remains in Scotland.

There are more than 350 ancient monuments within a six-mile radius of the village, with 150 of them being prehistoric. Monuments include standing stones, a henge monument, numerous cists, and a "linear cemetery" comprising five burial cairns. Several of these, as well as many natural rocks, are decorated with cup and ring marks.

The Netherlargie cairns and standing stones are the oldest monuments of Kilmartin Glen, probably dating from the 4000 BC. Archaeological finds recovered from Netherlargie include Neolithic pottery and arrowheads

Temple Wood dates to around 3000 BC. The site includes two circles (north and south). The southern circle contains a ring of 13 standing stones about 12 meters (40 feet) in diameter. In the past it may have had 22 stones. In the center is a burial cist surrounded by a circle of stones about 3 meters (10 feet) in diameter. 

The northern circle is smaller and consists rounded river stones (which also fill the southern circle). In its center is a single stone; another stone is found on the edge of the circle. This circle may have originated as a timber circle.

The name of the site originates in the 19th century (coinciding with the planting of trees around the circles) It is located just south of the southern Netherlargie cairn.

To the south of the Kilmartin Glen, the remains of the Iron Age fortress can be found on a hill.

Dunadd, (Scottish Gaelic: “fort on the [River] Add”), dates from the early Middle Ages and is believed to be the capital of the ancient kingdom of Dál Riata. It is known for its unique stone carvings, including a footprint and basin thought to have formed part of Dál Riata's coronation ritual.

Dál Riata was a Gaelic overkingdom on the coast of the Muir Éireann (Irish Sea). In the late 6th and early 7th  century, it encompassed roughly what is now Argyll, Bute, and Lochaber in Scotland.

In Argyll, it consisted of three Cenéls or kindreds: Cenél Loairn (kindred of Loarn) in north and mid-Argyll, Cenél nÓengusa (kindred of Óengus) based on Islay and Cenél nGabráin (kindred of Gabrán) based in Kintyre.

The kingdom reached its height under Áedán mac Gabráin (r. 574-608), but its expansion was halted at the Battle of Degsastan in 603. Serious defeats in the 7th century ended Dál Riata's Golden Age, and the kingdom became a client of Northumbria, then subject to the Picts. There is some disagreement over the fate of the kingdom from the late eighth century onwards, however research points to a revival of Dál Riata under Cináed mac Ailpín, who is believed to have taken the kingship there in c. 840 following the disastrous defeat of the Pictish army by the Danes. The kingdom's independent existence ended in the Viking Age (c. 900), as it merged with the lands of the Picts to form the Kingdom of Alba. 

Kilmartin Glen is loving dedicated to my wife Paula and all good people of the Clan Crawford.

*The Kilmartin Sessions – The Sounds of Ancient Scotland. CD and book Copyright ©1997 by The Kilmartin House Trust
Kilmartin Glen - A Sculpture in Stones photo of Kilmartin Glen 
July 31, 2009
In 2006, I married a wonderful woman named Paula Crawford. Her interest in her family’s genealogy has been a tremendous source of inspiration to me and has brought us to Scotland with a visit to Kilmartin, Argyll on two occasions - our honeymoon and the summer of 2009. It has also brought me into the larger family of the Clan Crawford. Paula and I currently are the Mountain Time Zone Representatives for the Board of Directors of the Clan Crawford Association.http://www.yahoo.com/shapeimage_4_link_0
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