Category Archives: Munster

Kerry Dance

Oh! The days of the Kerry dancing, oh! The ring of the piper’s tune,
Oh! For one of those hours of gladness, gone, alas! Like youth, too soon!
When the boys being to gather in the glen of a summer nigh,
And the Kerry piper’s tuning made us long with wild delight.


Chorus
Oh! To think of it, oh! To dream of it, fills my heart with tears;
Oh! The days of the Kerry dancing, oh! The ring of the piper’s tune;
Oh! for one of those hours of gladness, gone, alas! Like youth, too soon.

Refrain
Time goes on and the happy years are dead,
And one by one the merry hearts are fled;
Silent now is the wild and lonely glen,
Where the bright glad laugh will echo ne’er again.

Only dreaming of days gone by, in my heart I hear
Loving voices of old companions, stealing out of the past once more –
And the sound of the dear old music, soft and sweet as in days of yore,
When the boys began to gather in the glen of a summer night,
And the Kerry piper’s tuning made us long with wild delight.

Was there ever a sweeter colleen in the dance than Eily More?
Or a prouder lad than Thady, as he boldly took the floor?
“Lads and lasses to your places, up the middle and down again,”
Ah! The merry-hearted laughter ringing through the happy glen.

I’m lonesome since I crossed the hills and o’er the moor that’s sedgy;
With heavy thoughts my mind is filled, since I have parted with Peggy.
Whene’er I turn to view the place, the tears doth fall and blind me,
When I think on the charming grace of the girl I left behind me.

The hours I remember well when next to see doth move me;
The burning flames in my heart doth tell, since first she owned she loved me.
In search of someone fair and gay, several doth remind me;
I know my darling loves me well, though I left her far behind me.

The bees shall lavish, make no store, and the dove become a ranger;
The fallen water cease to roar, before I’ll ever change her.
Each mutual promise faithfully made by her whom tears doth blind me,
And bless the hour I pass away with the girl I left behind me.

My mind her image full retains, whether asleep or waking;
I hope to see my jewel again, for her my heart is breaking.
But if ever I chance to go that way, and that she has not resigned me,
I’ll reconcile my mind and stay with the girl I left behind me.

Oh, Limerick is Beautiful

Oh, Limerick is beautiful.
As ev’rybody knows,
And by that city of my heart
How proud old Shannon flows!
It sweeps down by the brave old town
As pure in depth and tone
As when Sarsfield swept the Saxons from
The walls of Garryowen.


‘Tis not for Limerick I sigh –
Though I love her in my soul –
Though times will change and friends will die,
And man will not control;
No, not for friends long passed away
Or days for ever flown,
But that the maiden I adore
Is sad in Garryowen.

Oh, she I love is beautiful,
And world wide is her fame;
She dwells down by the rushing tide,
And Eire is her name;
And dearer than my very life
Her glances are to me,
The light that guides my weary soul
Across life’s stormy sea.

I loved her in my boyhood,
And now in manhood’s noon,
The vision of my life is still
To dry thy tear’s aroon;
I’d sing unto the tomb, or dance
Beneath the gallows tree,
To see her on the hills once more
Proud, passionate and free.

Two versions of Limerick is Beautiful are given here, written by two different authors – it is believed given the similarities of each, that they came from an anonymous or traditional original.

The Limerick Rake

I am a young fellow that’s easy and bold
In Castleconnors I’m very well known,
In Newcastlewest I spent many an note
With Kitty and Judy and Mary
My father rebuked me for being such a rake
And spending my time in such frolicksome ways,
But I’ll never forget the good nature of Jane
Agus fágaimid siúd mar atá sé.


My parents they reared me to shake and to mow,
To plough and to harrow to rep and to sow
but my heart being to airy to drop it so low
I set out upon high speculation,
On paper and parchment they taught me to write
In Euclid and Grammar they opened my eyes
And in Multiplication in truth I was bright
Agus fágaimid siúd mar atá sé.

If I chance for to go to the town of Adare
The girls all round me do flock on the square
Some give me a bottle and others sweet cakes
To treat me unknown to their parents.
There is one from Askeaton and one from the Pike
And another from Ardagh my heart has beguiled
Though’ being from the mountains her stockings are white
Agus fágaimid siúd mar atá sé.

To quarrel for riches I ne’er was inclined
For the greatest of misers must leave them behind
I’ll purchase a cow that will never run dry
And I’ll milk her by twisting her horn
John Damer of Shronel had plenty of gold
And Devonshire’s treasure was twenty times more
But he’s laid on his back among nettles and stones.
Agus fágaimid siúd mar atá sé.

This cow she will milk without clover or grass
For she’s pampered with corn, good barley and hops
She’s warm and stout and she’s free in her paps
And she’ll milk without spancel or halter.
The man that will drink it will cock his caubeen
And if any one cough there’ll be wigs on the green
And the feeble old hag will get supple and free.
Agus fágaimid siúd mar atá sé.

If I chance for to go to the market of Croom
With a tilt in my hat and my pipes in good tune,
I am welcome at once and brought up to a room
Where Bacchus is sporting with Venus
There’s Peggy and Jane from the town of Bruree
And Biddy from Bruff and we all on a spree
Such a combing of lock as there is about me
Agus fágaimid siúd mar atá sé.

There’s some says I’m foolish and there’s some says I’m wise
But being fond of the women I think is no crime
For the son of King David had ten hundred wives
And his wisdom was highly recorded.
I’ll till a good garden and live at my ease
And each woman and child can partake of the same
If there’s war in the cabin themselves they can blame
Agus fágaimid siúd mar atá sé.

And now for the future I mean to be wise
And I’ll send for those women that acted so kind
And I’ll marry them all on the morrow bye and bye
If the clergy agree to the bargain.
And when I’m on my back and my soul is at peace
These women will gather to cry at my wake
And their sons and their daughters will offer their prayers
To the Lord for the soul of their father.

The Vales of Traderee

Foreword by Vince Hearns: “The late Michael O Grady from Ballycar, Newmarket-on-Fergus gave me this song. Where the town of Shannon is today was formerly known as Rinanna and prior to that it was Traderee in the Barony of Bunratty encompassing the parishes of Drumgile, Tullyvaraga and Clonloughlin. I only got the two verses and the chorus from Mick and I have never heard it sung by anyone since.”


Kind friends the grief I cannot tell
That this sad parting had to be
For I’ve been with you in your homes
‘Round the lovely vales of Traderee.

The rugged rocks I do admire
Whose rugged heights I climbed to see
And all around me did enquire
If I loved the vale around Traderee.

Oh I love it’s hill and valleys fair,
By Shannon’s breezes ever fanned
And still there’s something charming there
That binds me fast to that dear old land

The rugged rocks I do admire
Whose rugged heights I climbed to see
And all around me did enquire
If I loved the vale around Traderee.

The Old Man of Kilcockan

By prayer and entreaty and threat they did worry me
To be wed to a gaffer my youth denied,
On leaden feet to the priest they did hurry me,
With a heart stone dead while the knot was tied.
I like not his gait nor the rheumy red eyes of him,
His furry grey brows, the groans and the sighs of him.
I long for a young man, to lie and to rise with him,
Who would kiss and caress me at morning-tide!


All maids yet unwed, whether wealthy or dowerless,
Be warned by my fortune against old drones;
For I lie by a dotard both shrivelled and powerless,
As good to possess a heap of bones.
Wide-eyed each night, with a heart that’s like lead in me,
I think of the withered old creature’s that wed to me,
Compared to the stalwart that might lie abed with me,
Clasping me to him with love’s sweet tones!

Six-guineas I’d give, and I’d pay it right readily,
If someone would put my old man away,
Come on him by stealth and take aim at him steadily,
Make sure of the target and earn his pay :
Or if in the sea he could set about drowning him,
Lay him flat in the ditch and knock the wall down on him,
Or perhaps even better still just to throttle the jowl of him
And leave him for dead just before the day!

Last night as I lay between waking and sleeping
I heard that my wretched old man was dead;
I leapt from the pillow, my gratitude heaping
On the man in the ditch who had done the deed.
They made up their story while there was still breath in him,
‘Twas the bay mare that kicked him – and that was the death of him,
Go, take to the young man this news that is best for him –
In the grave at Kilcockan my wretch is laid!

Irish : Seanduine Chill Chocáin (Original version)

The Trip to Gougane

Foreword by Vince Hearns: “Cork city and county is the source of many great songs and I found it very difficult to pick one song from the great store. It was from the late Johnny Cronin of Inchegeela, that I got this song. He was quite ill when I recorded him in the months before he died. The song is very popular in the Muskerry; area of West Cork and Gougane of course refers to the great beauty spot Gougane Barra where St. Finbar had his monastery.”


I am one of those jolly young lads from the cross
I’m fond of amusement and fond of a glass
With a thirst I can’t quench and a heart that is free,
Sure everything else plays the divil with me
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di.
On that holiday morning just after first mass,
We started our away on our trip from the cross,
In two hansom cars that were hired for the day,
All waiting there ready to take us away,
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di.

We had Buckleys, and Healys, and Sullivans too,
The Learys, a Connell, a Roche and a Drew,
Such a crowd of McCarthys I ne’er saw before
And the Cronins were there by the dozen and score.
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di.

We had girls also all dressed up so neat,
And to make our enjoyment entirely complete
We paid for them all without making a case,
With the worth of our money knocked our of their waist,
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di.

‘Twas to sweet Ballingeary we first did draw near
Where we moistened our lips with some drops of good beer,
Then we started again just as fleet as the fawn
And about on o’clock we rolled into Gougane.
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di.

We were both tired and thirsty when the horses did stop,
And each man was smacking his lips for a drop,
We jumped down from the cars and our band we struck up
And we marched in a body straight into the pub.
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di.

There were some that went boating on a lake near at hand,
While others went drinking till they couldn’t stand,
Sure we thought we’d see sights that would dazzle our eyes
Yerra divil the sights, only mountains and skies,
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di.

So we started for home then before ‘t would get late,
And the horses were going at the divil’s own rate
I thought that they surely would fall down on the road
Before they could carry such a drunken old load,
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di.

When we reached Ballingeary we looked for some bread,
But ‘t was boxes of biscuits they gave us instead
And their bellies being empty by each mother’s son,
We finished twelve boxes before we were done.
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di.

No good porter the owner had in his Hotel,
But a bad brand of stout that had failed him to sell,
And in order to fool us this clever old coon
Good porter was hid in a private back room
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di.

The people came running to see what was the score
Some ran to the windows and more to the door
Saying who are these people all dressed up so swell
Others saying they’re swanks from the Abbey Hotel
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di.

We returned to the cross when our trip it was o’er
Where we filled ourselves up with the porter once more
We recovered our senses next morning at dawn
And that put an end to our trip to Gougane.
Rally ra fol de da, rally rack fol the di.

Seanduine Chill Chocáin

Is teinn duch an pósa, fó-ríor, a gealladh dom,
Go h-óg mé ceangailthe ‘g críon-donan!
Nuair a chureadh le fórsa ‘n-a chomhair go tigh an tsagairt mé
Im chroí bhí m’atuirse ar linn le rá.
Ní thaithneann a shiúl, a lúth ná a sheasamh liom,
A mhala throm chlúmhach ná a shúile dearaga,
Go mb’fhearr liom óigfhear a phógfadh mo leaca,
Mo chroí gur cheangail san óg-bhuinneán!


‘S a chailíní óga, mo chomharle má dheineann sibh,
‘S is teinn dúch atuirseach bhím dá bharr,
‘S mé ‘lui lé seanduine caite gan luadar,
‘S ná fuil dá bharr agam ach uail bheag cnámha!
A’ machtnamh a bhím san oíche ar mo leabaidh
Ar a’ seanduine gcríona, len’ aois go gcrapann sé,
Seochas a’ gcroí-fhear a shínfeadh ar leabaidh liom,
‘S go mb’fhiú é ar maidin a phóg úd ‘fháil!

Thúrfainn sé phíosa, ‘s é ‘dhíol ar a’ dtairrnge,
D’éinne beó ghlacfadh mo sgéal ‘n-a láimh,
Do lúifeadh ar shúil mo sgrúile seanduine,
Má thiocfadh a gan fhios i gcomhair é ‘lámhach:
Chuirfeadh ‘á bhátha é i lár na fairrge,
Shinfeadh sa’ díg é ‘s a’ claí do leaga air,
Nú cár bh’fhearr é mar ní an píop a chnaga dhe,
‘S mo sgrúile ‘fháil marbh leath-uair roim lá?

Araoir ar mo leabaidh ‘s mé a’ machtnamh trim nealtaibh,
‘Sea d’airíos gur cailleadh me sheann-donán;
D’éirios im sheasamh ‘s do ghabhas mile baochas
Leis a’ té úd a mhairbh sa’ díg ar lár.
Sé airím ‘á bhuachnaint gur shuathadar eatorrtha é
Gurbh í an lair rua do bhuail is do mhairbh é,
Beir sgéal leat uaim go dtí an buachaillín meacanta
Gur chuireas me sheanduine I gCill Chocáin!

English: The Old Man of Kilcockan (Original version)

Limerick is Beautiful

Limerick is beautiful,
As everybody knows;
The river Shannon full of fish,
Through that city flows.
But ’tis not the river of the fish
That weighs upon my mind;
Nor with the town of Limerick
I’ve any fault to find – Ochone, ochone.


The girl I love is beautiful
And soft eyed as the fawn;
She lives in Garryowen
And is called the Colleen Bawn.
And proudly as that river flows
Through that famed city.
As proudly, and without a word,
That Colleen goes by me – Ochone, ochone.

If I was made the Emperor
Of Russia to command,
Or Julius Caesar, or the
Lord Lieutenant of the land,
I’d give my plate and golden store,
I’d give up my army;
The horses and the rifles, and the foot,
And the Royal Artillery – Ochone, ochone.

I’d give the crown from off my head
My people on their knees;
I’d give the fleet of sailing ships
Upon the briny seas.
A beggar I would go to bed,
And happy rise at dawn;
If by my side, for my sweet bride,
I had found my Colleen Bawn – Ochone, ochone.

Two versions of Limerick is Beautiful are given here, written by two different authors – it is believed given the similarities of each, that they came from an anonymous or traditional original.