Category Archives: Love

Moorlough Mary

The first time I saw young Moorlough Mary
‘Twas in a market of Sweet Strabane;
Her smiling countenance were so engaging,
All other fair ones she did trapan.
Her killing glances bereave my senses;
No rest can I find either night or day;
In my silent slumber I start with wonder,
Saying ‘Moorluogh Mary, will you come away?’


From Moorlough banks I will never wander,
Where heifers gaze on yon pleasant soil;
Where lambkins sporting, fair maids resorting,
The timorous hare, and blue heather bell.
I’ll press my cheese, and my wool I’ll tease,
And my ewes I’ll milk by the eve of day;
The hurling moor-cock and lark alarms me;
From Bonnie Moorlough I’ll never stray.

I’ll go down to yon woodland to my situation,
Where recreation is all in view,
On the river Mourne where salmons sporting,
And sounding echoes bring something new.
The thrush and blackbird will join in chorus
With notes melodious on Liskea brae,
And the sweet lough stream I would restore you,
Saying’Moorlough Mary, will you come away?’

Were I a man of great education,
As I heard the wild ochone.
I’d lean my head on her snowy bosom,
In wedlock’s band, love, give me your hand.
I’d entertain her both eve and morning;
With robes I’d dress her both rich and gay;
With kisses sweet I would embrace her,
Saying ‘Moorlough Mary, will you come away?’

Fare thee well, then, young Moorlough Mary,
Ten thousand times I’ve bid you adieu;
While life remains in my glowing bosom.
I’ll never cease, love, but to think of you.
I’ll build my house upon yon high mountain,
I’ll deck it round with the berry tree,
Since I have gained you, young Moorlough Mary,
Though often times you have strayed from me.

On Raglan Road or The Dawning of the Day

On Raglan Road on an autumn day
I saw her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare
That I might someday rue
I saw the danger
Yet I walked
Along the enchanted way
And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf
At the dawning of the day


On Grafton Street in November
We tripped lightly along the ledge
Of the deep ravine
Where can be seen
The worth of passion’s pledge
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts
And I not making hay
Oh I loved too much
And by such and such
Is happiness thrown away

I gave her gifts of the mind
I gave her the secret sign
That’s known to the artists
Who have known the true gods of sound and stone
And word and tint, I did not stint,
I gave her poems to say.
With her own name there and her own dark hair
Like clouds over fields of May.

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet
I see her walking now
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow
That I had wooed not as I should
A creature made of clay
When the angel woos the clay he’d lose
His wings at the dawning of the day.

The Spinning Wheel by John Francis Waller

Mellow the moonlight to shine is beginning,
Close by the window young Eileen is Spinning;
Bent o’er the fire her blind grandmother, sitting,
Is crooning, and moaning, and drowsily knitting: –


“Eileen, achara, I hear someone tapping.”
“Tis the ivy, dear mother, against the glass flapping.”
“Eily, I surely hear somebody sighihg,”
“Tis the sound, mother dear, of the summer wind dying.”

Merrily, cheerily, noiselessly whirring,
Swings the wheel, spins the wheel, while the foot’s stirring;
Sprightly, and brightly, and airily ringing
Thrills the sweet voice of the young maiden singing.

“What’s that noise that I hear at the window, I wonder?”
“Tis the little birds chirpmg the holly bush under.”
“What makes you be shoving and moving your stool on,
And singing all wrong that old song of ‘The Coolun?”
There’s a form at the casement – the form of her true love –
And he whispers, with face bent, “I’m waiting for you, love;
Get up on the stool, through the lattice step lightly,
We’ll rove in the grove while the moon’s shining brightly.”

Merrily, cheerily, noiselessly whirring,
Swings the wheel, spins the wheel, while the foot’s stirring;
Sprightly, and brightly, and airily ringing
Thrills the sweet voice of the young maiden singing.

The Sweet Girls of Derry by J. E. Carpenter

Och! The sweet girls of Derry
Are comely and merry,
They have lips like the cherry,
And teeth like the snow;
But ’tis not in nature
To dwell on each feature,
That every sweet creature
In Derry can show!
Och, hone! So pleasant and merry,
They’re quite captivating – the sweet girls of Derry.


What can I compare to
Their soft silken hair, too!
It wouldn’t be fair to
Thus rival the crow!
And Och! ‘neath its creeping,
What fair necks were peeping,
Besides – all in keeping,
A freckle or so.
Och hone! So charming and merry
They bother’d me quite, did the sweet girls of Derry.

To see their eyes glitter
It made my heart twitter,
But their frown – Och! it’s bitter
When clouded their brows!
Then their dear little noses
Seem made to smell posies,
And their breath – shames the rose’s,
‘Tis sweet as the cow’s!
Och hone! So comely and merry
They’re quite captivating – the sweet girls of Derry.

So sweet too each voice is,
Its music so choice is,
My heart still rejoices
To think of the strain.
And to show how they bind me,
I left them behind me,
But soon they shall find me
In Derry again.
Och hone! – so pleasant and merry,
I’d live till I die – for the sweet girls of Derry.

Down by the Liffeyside or Anna Liffey

Written by Peadar Kearney.


Twas down by Anna Liffey, my love and I did stray
Where in the good old slushy mud the sea gulls sport and play.
We got the whiff of ray and chips and Mary softly sighed,
“Oh John, come on for a wan and wan
Down by the Liffeyside.”

Then down along by George’s street the loving pairs to view
While Mary swanked it like a queen in a skirt of royal blue;
Her hat was lately turned and her blouse was newly dyed,
Oh you could not match her round the block,
Down by the Liffeyside.

And on her old melodeon how sweetly could she play.;
“Good-by-ee” and “Don’t sigh-ee” and “Rule Brittanni-ay”
But when she turned Sinn Feiner me heart near burst with pride,
To hear her sing the “Soldier’s Song”,
Down by the Liffeyside.

On Sunday morning to Meath street together we will go,
And it’s up to Father Murphy we both will make our vow.
We’ll join our hands in wedlock bands and we’ll be soon outside
For a whole afternoon, for our honeymoon,
Down by the Liffeyside.

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.

Norah Magee

Sure it is not at reading and writing
That Terry’s of genius the spark;
The boy’s a deal better at fighting.
And that he calls making his mark.
The truth he oft sends me a letter
The strength of his passion to tell:
I can’t read myself – all the better,
I can take of the writing a spell.
There’s a might big D to begin it,
And then E, A, R, I can see;
So I guess all the rest that is in it,
For he calls me dear Norah Magee.


When I bring home the milk in the morning
I’m thinking of him all the same;
I know to deceive he’s be scorning
For love’s of his letter the crame.
I can bake, I can brew, and boil praties,
And buttermilk too I can make;
And as to accomplishments – faith ’tis
Myself that can dance at a wake.
It’s little that I care for learning,
For Terry is faithful to me
And says he’d my name soon be turning
To other than Norah Magee.

The Man of the North Countrie

He came from the North and his words were few
But his voice was kind and his heart was true;
And I knew by his eyes n guile had he,
So I married the manof.the North Countrie.


Oh! Garryowen maybe more gay,
Than this quiet street of Ballibay;
And I know the sunshines softly down.
On the river that passes my native town.

But there’s not – I say it with joyand pridee –
Better man than mine in Munsterwide;
And Limerick town has no happier hearth
than mine has been with my man of the North.

I wish that in Munster they only knew
The kind, kind neighbours I came unto;
Small hate or scorn would ever be
Between the South and the North Countrie.

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!

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!