To celebrate Seachtain na Gaelige and Bliain na Gaeilge, Jim McHugh will release a new song entitled ‘An Muc Snámha’ on 6th of March 2018. Jim McHugh comes from Castleblayney Co. Monaghan and the name Muckno is synonymous with the town, and is attached to the beautiful lakes and to the parish itself. The name Muckno is derived from the legend of ‘an Muc Snámha’ (the swimming pig). The legend depicts St. Maeldoid who decided to build a new monastery on the opposite side of Muckno lake. After his hard labour each day, St. Maeldoid would return the next morning to find his stone walls all knocked down. The legend describes a black pig (an muc dubh) swimming across the lake at night to destroy St. Maeldoid’s work. The legend attests the black pig was the devil (an diabhal) himself.
For this song, Jim McHugh interprets this legend slightly different. It’s based on the pig’s perspective. Up to this point, he had been earning his keep with the monks and was ruefully awarded by the monks with shelter and food for him and his family. This all changed when St. Maeldoid and his monks (na manaigh) decided to build a new monastery. They were so consumed with their new project that they neglected the poor pig and his family. Of course, he had to take action so he escaped from his keep. It wasn’t easy for the small pig. Crossing the freezing lake (an loch) at night and knocking down the walls and large stones (na clocha móra) had a negative impact on his health (mo cheann atá tinn) and physical condition (lámha briste). His reputation was also tarnished and blackened (Dúirt siad gur mise an diabhal). In the song chorus, the wee pig gloats he’s a free pig (is muc saor mé) and they’ll never capture him (ní bhéarfaidh said orm)! Legend tells that St. Maeldoid eventually abandoned his efforts across the lake. This we assume was to the satisfaction of the small pig and his family.
The song is produced, mixed and mastered in Ben Reels Studio, Silverbridge, Armagh. The song features McHugh on vocals, guitar and mandolin. Percussion by Ben and Jim.
An Muc Snámha will be available on all digital formats for streaming/download.