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.