Music for eternal rest

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“Fiddler’s Grave, Castlecaldwell, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh” is the title on this interesting image from the amazing Eason Collection. This unusual, and hopefully very appropriate tombstone near Enniskillen attracted the attention of the photographer, and it should make an interesting read for those who can clarify the script.

Photographer: Unknown

Collection: Eason Photographic Collection

Date: between 1900-1920

NLI Ref: EAS_2063

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at


Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 15249
eason easonson easoncollection easonphotographiccollection glassnegative nationallibraryofireland ulster monument cofermanagh northernireland fiddler tombstone castlecaldwell enniskillen drowning rossbegpoint fermanagh ireland dennism’cabe dennismccabe 20thcentury

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    • 22/Jun/2020 07:51:05

    To the memory of Dennis McCabe, who doesn't appear to fit on his headstone very well. Maybe it's a music joke - maybe he always held on over the bar line.

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    Frank Fullard

    • 22/Jun/2020 08:15:18

    This is wonderful!

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    • 22/Jun/2020 08:22:02

    To the memory of Denis M'Cabe, Fidler who fell out of the St Patrick Barge belonging to Sir James Caldwell Bart and Count of Milan, and was drowned off this Point Aug. 15, 1770- 'Beware ye Fidlers of ye Fidler's fate Nor tempt ye deep lest you repent too late You ever have been deemed to water foes Then shun ye lake till it with whiskey flows On firm Land only - Exercise your skill There you may play and safely drink your fill'. D.D.D. J.J. "Originally erected at the point of the Rossbeg peninsula, it was moved a couple of times before being set in its present location at the entrance to Castle Caldwell Country Park." From -

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    • 22/Jun/2020 08:27:52

    Flickr is sometimes amazing! In 2011 via

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    • 22/Jun/2020 08:28:22

    "Sir James had a genuine interest in music but this was not because he had any talent in that direction himself and only because of the pleasure it gave to others. He organized a series of concerts to amuse his friends and he helped organize similar functions in Dublin for the Rotunda Hospital to aid a fund for the charitable purpose of helping the blind poor of Dublin. His own band featured in the Jubilee celebrations which marked the winning of the improvement premiums he gave to the local tenant farmers. It is likely that Major Ridsdale, tutor to his sons composed the Fiddlestone inscription. TO THE MEMORY OF DENIS McCABE FIDLER WHO FELL OUT OF THE ST. PATRICK’S BARGE BELONGING TO SIR JAMES CALDWELL, BART., AND COUNT OF MILAN & WAS DROWNED OFF THIS POINT AUGUST YE 15 1770 BEWARE YE FIDLERS OF YE FIDLERS FATE NOR TEMPT YE DEEP LEAST YE REPENT TOO LATE: YE EVER HAVE BEEN DEEMED TO WATER FOES, THEN SHUN YE LAKE TILL IT WITH WHISKY FLOWS; ON FIRM LAND ONLY EXERCISE YOUR SKILL, THERE YOU MAY PLAY AND DRINK YOUR FILL. D.D.D. J.J. Arthur Young, the English writer on agricultural topics in his famous Tour of Ireland, when leaving Castle Caldwell records taking his leave of the place in a six-oared barge with colours flying and a band of music playing and he also records the exact place where the fiddler was drowned as he journeys up the lake towards Enniskillen: “Eagle Island first salutes us, a woody knole. Others pass in review; among the rest Herring Island, noted for the wreck of a herring-boat, and the drowning of a fiddler, but the boat-men love herrings better than music, and gave their name to the Isle rather than that of the “Son of Apollo”. The island in question lies near the southern shore of Lower Lough Erne near Magho Cliffs but has had its name altered in concept though not in sound by being recorded now as Heron Island and not Herring Island. In relation to the cryptic initials J. B. Doyle records the fiddle stone in 1854 as “stone shaped into the form of a violoncello but he does not mention the letters D.D.D. or J.J. so perhaps this settles an uncharitable argument as to what they mean, e.g. Denis Died Drunk or Denis Died Damned. These letters are most likely an addition by a later and more uncharitable hand."

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    • 22/Jun/2020 08:28:32

    wonderful memorial

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    • 22/Jun/2020 08:29:36

    yes beachcomber was "in" just before me. Here is a link to the Enniskillin Museums service with the words as transcribed by Mr Hog.

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    • 22/Jun/2020 08:31:38

    Fiddle view -

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    • 22/Jun/2020 09:15:11

    All about the Caldwell family and Castle Caldwell; the comments are interesting too ...

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    • 22/Jun/2020 09:26:49

    Was there a tradition of playing a tune on the pillar to the left of the headstone? The top looks whiter and less weather stained that the one on the right. It reminds me of The Musical Wall at Lynnbury outside Mullingar.

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    • 22/Jun/2020 12:57:56

    Looks in poor shape compared to photo, covered in lichen? Could do with a bit of conservation

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    • 22/Jun/2020 15:23:59[email protected] Has more written on his tombstone, I dare say, than any of us ever will

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    • 23/Jun/2020 04:16:47

    Congrats on Explore! ⭐ June 22, 2020

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    le cabri

    • 23/Jun/2020 22:33:36

    That's photography!