Category Archives: Connaught

The Maid of Ballyhaunis

My Mary dear! For thee I die,
O! place thy hand, in mine, love –
My fathers here were chieftains high,
Then to my plaints incline, love.
O! Plaited-hair! That now we were
In wedlock’s hand united
For maiden mine, in grief I’ll pine,
Until our vows are plighted!

Thou, Rowan-bloom, since thus I rove,
All worn and faint to greet thee,
Come to these arms, my constant love,
With love as true to meet me!
Alas! My head – it’s wits are fled,
I’ve failed in filial duty –
My sire did say, “Shun, shun, for aye,
That Ballyhaunis beauty!”

But thy Cailín Bán I marked one day,
Where the blooms of the bean-field cluster,
Thy bosom white like ocean’s spray,
Thy cheek like rowan-fruit’s lustre,
Thy tones that shame the wild birds fame
Which sing in the summer weather –
And O! I sigh that thou, love, and I
Steal! Not from this world together!

If with thy lover thou depart
To the land of Ships my fair love,
No weary pain of head or heart,
Shall haunt our slumbers there, love –
O! haste away, ere cold death’s prey,
My soul from thee withdrawn is;
And my hope’s reward, the churchyard sward,
In the town of Ballyhaunis

Molly St. George

Miss Molly St. George is
a maid without peer,
So handsome, so modest,
so graceful, so dear.
Though demure and retiring,
she yet far excels
The lasses of Omagh,
the damsels of Kells:
From lake-side Portumna
to Limerick sound
There’s no doubting maid Molly,
your like is not found!

I’m a sprite from the deluge,
afloat on the lake
A sprite that is banished
from mountain and brake
With nets on each side in
which thousands have strove
A net full of magic,
a net full of love.
How I wish that in either
imprisoned I’d been,
With a hope of release at
the hand of my queen!

My frends all keep saying
I’m foolish and wild,
That in loving maid Molly
My hopes are beguiled:
When I wish to persuade her
I tremble, I’m mute,
For her voice is far sweeter
Than viol or lute
Oh! Life is a burden and
Death hovers near,
If you tell me maid Molly,
You’ll not be my dear!

Written by Donal O’Sullivan.

The Galway Races

As I roved out through Galway town to seek for recreation
On the seventeenth of August, me mind being elevated
There were multitudes assembled with their tickets at the station
My eyes began to dazzle and they going to see the race
To me whack-fa-the-do-fa the diddle-iddle-a

There were passengers from Limerick and passengers from Nina
Passengers from Dublin and sportsmen for Tipperary
There were passengers from Kerry and all quarters of the nation
And I remember Mr. Haughey for to join the Galway Blazers
To me whack-fa-the-do-fa the diddle-iddle-a

There were multitudes Erin and members from New Keeshore
The boys of Connemara and the Clare unmarried maidens
People from Cork City who where loyal true and faithful
They brought home the Feinian prisoners from dying and foreign nations
To me whack-fa-the-do-fa the diddle-iddle-a

And it’s there you’ll see confectioners with sugar sticks and dainties
Lozenges and oranges and lemonade and raisins
Gingerbread and spices to accommodate the ladies
And big crubeen three pence to be sucking while you’re able
To me whack-fa-the-do-fa the diddle-iddle-a

It’s there you’ll see the gamblers, the thimbles and the garters
The sporting wheel of fortune with four and twenty quarters
And others without scruples pelting wattles at poor Maggie
And her daddy well contented to be gazing at his daughter
To me whack-fa-the-do-fa the diddle-iddle-a

It’s there you’ll see the pipers and the fiddlers competing
The nimble-footed dancers, a-tripping on the daisies
There were others shouting cigars and likes and bills for all the races
With colors of the jockeys and the price and horses ages
To me whack-fa-the-do-fa the diddle-iddle-a

It’s there you’ll see the jockey, and they’re mounted out so stately
The pink, the blue, the orange, the emblem of our nation
When the bell was rung for starting, all the horses seemed impatient
I thought they never stood on ground, their speed was so amazing
To me whack-fa-the-do-fa the diddle-iddle-a

There was half a million people there, from all denominations
The Catholic, the Protestant, the Jew and Presbyterian
There was yet no animosity, no matter what persuasion
But sportsman hospitality inducing Mr. Paisley
With me whack-fa-the-do-fa the diddle-iddle-a

Galway Bay

If you ever go across the sea to Ireland,
Then maybe at the closing of your day
You will sit and watch the moon rise over Claddagh,
And watch the sun go down on Galway Bay.

Just to hear again the ripple of the trout stream,
The women in the meadows making hay,
And to sit beside a turf- fire in the cabin
And I to watch the barefoot Gossoons at their play

For the breezes blowing o’ er the seas from Ireland
Are perfumed by the heather as they blow
And the women in the uplands diggin’ praties,
Speak a language that the strangers do not know.

For the strangers came and tried to teach us their way
They scorn’d us just for being what we are
But they might as well go chasing after moonbeams
Or light a penny candle from a star

And if there is going to be life hereafter,
And somehow I am sure there’s going to be
I will ask God to let me make my heaven
In that dear land across the Irish sea

The Claddagh Ring

It being a fine morning, this young man he chose
That he’d make occasion to wear his fine clothes

And it’s down to the glen where the bonnie lassie goes
To give her a token of his love, we suppose

“Mary, oh Mary, if I could be your man
Between you and danger I fearlessly would stand

With this gold claddagh ring on your lily-white hand
Oh, there ne’er was another would dress you so grand.”

There’s no sun in summer there’s no flowers in spring
Her hands hold my heart like the gold claddagh ring.

“Johnny, oh Johnny the ring it is of gold
And it’s hands and fine heart, they are lovely to behold

But if I had the ring for one evening to hold
Then you shall have my answer e’er the week shall be old.”

“Oh why have the weeks gone and not an answer came?
And why is it that women are smarter than men?

Oh the girl’s kept the ring which I shall ne’er see again
Oh, she has many like it in a fine box at hame.”

There’s no sun in summer there’s no flowers in spring
Her hands hold my heart like the gold claddagh ring.

It being a fine morning, this young man he chose
That he’d make occasion to wear his fine clothes

And it’s down to the glen where the bonnie lassie goes
To give her a token of his love, we suppose

There’s no sun in summer there’s no flowers in spring
Her hands hold my heart like the gold claddagh ring.
Oh, her hands hold my heart like the gold claddagh ring.

Nice Little Jane From Ballinasloe

You lads that are funny, and call maids your honey,
Give ear for a moment, I’ll not keep you long.
I’m wounded by Cupid, he has made me stupid,
To tell you the truth, now, my brain’s nearly wrong;
A neat little posy, who does live quite cosy,
Has kept me unable to walk to and fro;
Each day I’m declining, in love I’m repining,
For nice little jenny from Ballinasloe.

It was in September, I’ll ever remember,
I went out to walk by a clear river side
For sweet recreation, but, to my vexation,
This wonder of Nature I quickly espied;
I stood for to view her an hour I’m sure;
The earth could not show such a damsel I know,
As that little girl, the pride of the world,
Called nice little Jenny from Ballinasloe.

I said to her. ‘Darling! this is a nice morning;
The birds sing enchanting, which charms the groves;
Their notes do delight me, and you do invite me,
Along this clear water some time for to rove;
Your beauty has won me and surely undone me,
If you won’t agree for to cure my sad woe,
So great is my sorrow, I’ll ne’er see tomorrow,
My sweet little Jenny from Ballinasloe.’

‘Sir, I did not invite you, nor yet clue not slight you;
You’re at your own option to act as you please;
I am not ambitious, nor e’er was officious,
I am never inclined to disdain or to tease;
I love conversation, likewise recreation,
I’m free with a friend, and I’m cold with a foe;
But my virtue’s my glory and will be till I’m hoary,’
Said nice little Jenny from Ballinasloe.

‘Most lovely of creatures! your beautiful features
Have sorely attracted and captured my heart;
If you won’t relieve me, in truth you may believe me,
Bewildered in sorrow till death I must smart;
I’m at your election, so grant me protection,
And feel for a creature that’s tortured in woe;
One smile it will heal me; one frown it will kill me;
Sweet nice little Jenny from Ballinasloe!’

‘Sir, yonder’s my lover, if he should discover
Or ever take notice you spoke unto me,
He’d close your existence in spite of resistance;
Be pleased to withdraw, then, lest he might you see;
You see he’s approaching, then don’t be encroaching,
He has his large dog and his gun there also;
Although you’re a stranger I wish you from danger,’
Said nice little Jenny from Ballinasloe.

I bowed then genteely, and thanked her quite freely;
I bid her adieu and took to the road;
So great was my trouble my pace I did double;
My heart was oppressed and sank down with the load;
For ever I’ll mourn for beauteous Jane Curran,
And ramble about in affection and woe,
And think of the hour I saw that sweet flower. –
My dear little Jenny from Ballinasloe!

The Oul’ Plaid Shawl

Not far from old Kinvara, in the merry month of May,
When birds were singing cheerily, there came across my way,
As if from out the sky above an angel chanced to fall,
A little Irish cailin in an ould plaid shawl.

She tripped along right joyously, a basket on her arm;
And oh! her face, and, oh! her grace, the soul of saint would charm;
Her brown hair rippled o’er her brow, her greatest charm of all
Was her modest blue eyes beaming ‘neath the ould plaid shawl.

I courteously saluted her, ‘God save you, miss,’ says I;
‘God save you, kindly sir,’ says she, and shyly passed me by;
Off went my heart along with her, a captive in her thrall,
Imprisoned in the corner of her ould plaid shawl.

Enchanted with her beauty rare, I gazed in pure delight,
Till round an angle of the road she vanished from my sight,
But ever since I sighing say, as I that scene recall,
‘The grace of God about you and your ould plaid shawl.’

I’ve heard of highway robbers that, with pistols and with knives,
Make trembling travellers yield them up their money or their lives,
But think of me that handed out my heart and head and all gives,
To a simple little cailin in an ould plaid shawl.

Oh! graceful the mantillas that the signorinas wear,
And tasteful are the bonnets of Parisian ladies fair,
But never cloak or hood or robe, in palace, bow’r, or hall,
Clad half such witching beauty as that ould plaid shawl.

Oh! ‘some men sigh for riches, and some men live for fame,
And some on history’s pages hope to win a glorious name;
My aims are not ambitious, and my wishes are but small –
You might wrap them all together in an ould plaid shawl.

I’ll seek her all through Galway, and I’ll seek her all through Clare,
I’ll search for tale or tiding of my traveller everywhere,
For peace of mind I’ll never find until my own I call
That little Irish cailin in her ould plaid shawl.

Mailí San Seóirse by Donal O’Sullivan

Sí an níon sin San Seóirse
an oígbhean rug barr
Le deise, le mórdháil,
le sgéimh is le breácht.
‘Sí an ainnear chiúin óg í,
‘sí is ionnraic’ a’s is fearr
Ón tSionainn chunna h-Ómuí,
ón Ómui go Droichead Átha,
Portumna na long is
go Luimneach na mbád,
go deimhim, a Mhailí mhaighdean,
níl do leithid-se le fail!

Is mé an síogaí ón ndíleann
Ar bhruach loch’ a’ snámh,
Is mé an síogaí ga mo dhíbirt
Ó Ghaillimh’s gach áit.
Bíonn lion ar gach taobh dhíom
Chuir na mílte chun báis,
Líon a mbíonn síothbhraíocht
Is lion a mbíonn grá:
Mo chreach mór’s mo dhíth nach
I lion aca táim,
‘S gan m.fhuasgailt ag aoinneach
ach ag an mhaighdean deas mná!

Tá mo chaired gá shíor-rá liom
go bhfuilim gan chéill,
Go bhfuil grá agam ar Mháire
‘s gan fáth dhomh bheith lé:
Go mbíom gá síor-shása
‘s ag innse na mbréag,
‘S gur binne liom nó cláirseach
foghar a béil.
Tá an bás ga mo chrá’s is
fogus domh an t-éag,
Go deimhin, a Mhailí mhaighdean,
muna ngéabhair liom féin!