In verse 4 above [April 1999], "an choraíocht" – struggle - could be "an churaíocht" – planting, or in this case interment
I never did get a-hold of Seán Ó Gallchobair's translation … a relative did write out the words for me and passed them on to someone else who mislaid the document. I was told Seán did the translation as a request for singer and TV producer Davy Hammond.
According to Éinrí Ó Muirgheasa, writing in the early 1930s, there was an earlier translation published in the "Poem Book of the Gael" (p 208-9 if you have the right edition) … I'd be very interested if someone with good library resources could look that one up.
More information from Ó Muirgheasa's "Dhá Chéad de Cheoltaibh Uladh" (1934):
Ardicoan / Áirdí Chuain is in the parish of the Grange of Inispollen, in the barony of Glenarm, a mile due west of Cushendun (Bun Abhann Duinne). From his description of high ground overlooking the bay, the place name is very appropriate. Ó Muirgheasa would prefer "Áirdí a' Chuain" as the proper place name. Although there is no townland now called "Gleann na gCuach", Ó Muirgheasa is certain that this is the same place as Glendun. Dr Eó in MacNeill wrote the song down from Séamus Mac Amhlaidh of Bun na hAbhanna, Co Antrim and published it in "Irisleabhar na Gaedhilge" , Oct. 1895. According to Dr Mac Neill, the words were the work of Seán Mac Ambrois. If Seán Mac Ambrois was born in Áirdí Chuain, the only glen close to it is Gleann Abhann Duinne / Glendun – and there are plenty of cuckoos (cuach) in that glen.
Ó Muirgheasa collected the song about 10 years after Mac Neill did, taking it down from an old woman in Gleann Áirimh (Glenariff, I presume) Co. Antrim. She had a verse which MacNeill had not taken down, the verse that begins with "'S é seo an churaíocht/curaidheacht 'tá buan …". According to Ó Muirgheasa, this line means that the poet had buried his wife; that explains why he is looking lonely across at the view of Antrim from Scotland and wants to return home and die in his native land.
I was interested to see a version published under the title "Ceol Dhá ibhí " in Breandán Ó Buachalla "Nua-Dhuanaire II" (1976). The source is a ms held in Belfast Public Library, XXXI, 56 (1831). In verse 3 the poet says he would get drink, sport and music if he were back in Antrim, in verse 4 he says speaks of the view that he had from Srón Ghearrá in (Garron Point, I believe) to the Moyle, a large ship battling/sailing the wind, and King George's fleet.
I wondered if this could mean King Charles but George IV (1762-1830) seems about right.
Re. "Dam beinn" and "gom beadh mé" - we would now write the 'm' just before the b, "dá mbeinn". I don't know why both "beinn" and "beadh mé" are used for "I would", "bha" is the same as "bhí " in standard Irish, and the verb "ruigsinn" ("ruigean") like "sroicheadh" means "to reach, to arrive at"
Is iomdha Nollaig a bh'agam féin
Nuair a bha mé ar bheagán céill'
Ag rith, ag iomáin chun an trá
Is an camán bán im' dhorn.
Dam beadh agam ach coite is rámh,
Is gom beadh mé ag iomradh ar an rámh,
Dúil leis an Rí agus ruigean slán
Is chan fhaighinn bás in uaigneas.
Is é m'amharc a bh'agam féin
Ó Shró n Ghearráin go dtí an Mhaoil,
Ar loingeas mór ar cáith ar ghaoith,
Agus cabhlach an Rí Seorlaí .
As well as the publications already cited in this posting, Ó Buachalla lists É. Ó Tuathail, "Féil-Sgríbhinn Eó in Mhic Néill" (ed by E Ua Riain, Dublin, 1940) and "Irisleabhar Muighe Nuadhad" 1914, 87.