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Remembering brave Arranmore men in song

We are always delighted to show our support to the local community here in our native Donegal in the northwest of Ireland and the story behind this recent fund-raising effort on Arranmore really touched our hearts and we want to share it with you.

In December our good friend Jerry Early from Arranmore, an island off the coast of Donegal, released a very special song he composed together with his cousin John Gallagher to commemorate a momentous event in the island’s history.

I’ll Go tells the story of the rescue of the survivors of a Dutch merchant ship, the SS Stolwijk, by the crew of the Arranmore lifeboat, on December 6, 1940.

Jerry was aware of the rescue from a young age and although most of the crew were still alive during his childhood, the men involved rarely, if ever spoke about that night. It was not their way to seek praise or indulge in self congratulation.

“Many of the islanders had never heard of it. I think the reason for this is because none of the crew or families talked about it. That in many ways makes the story even more mystical. But let’s not underestimate what these men did. Gold medals are earned not given. These fantastic men never spoke about what they did, but we can,” he said.

The Lifeboat Association, however, recognised their exceptional efforts with a gold medal for coxswain Jack Boyle and silver and bronze medals for his crew, this honour was replicated with medals from Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. This is one of only three gold medal crews in the history of Irish lifeboats.

Music community

Members of the Donegal music community gathered in force to help Jerry record the song at Attica Studios in Termon. Produced by Orri McBrearty and Declan McClafferty (In Their Thousands), it also features the family group Clann Mhic Ruairi from Rann na Feirste, All-Ireland winning flautist Trudy Ní Dhomhnaill and Eimear Gallagher (accordion).

John Muldowney is well-known to our YouTube followers as the Irish balladeer who keeps bringing us beautiful folk songs. John is also a good friend to Jerry and the people of Arranmore and so he has shown his support by performing Jerry and John’s song for us to raise awareness of the story and their fundraising efforts. John is playing an X7 Artisan in this performance.

All proceeds from the sale of I’ll Go, which is available to download on iTunes and Amazon, will go towards the erection of a memorial on Arranmore. Photos courtesy of Gerry Murphy Photography Ireland

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