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Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea

Related threads:
Lyr Req: Lady of Loughrea (24)
Lyr/info req: Strongmen from Loughrea (16)
Lyr Req: calf meal up above in Loughrea (2)


radriano 28 Oct 99 - 06:27 PM
Wolfgang 29 Oct 99 - 04:59 AM
Martin Ryan 29 Oct 99 - 05:47 AM
Wolfgang 04 Nov 99 - 07:44 AM
Martin Ryan 05 Nov 99 - 06:39 AM
Wolfgang 05 Nov 99 - 07:10 AM
Liam's Brother 05 Nov 99 - 09:23 AM
Wolfgang 05 Nov 99 - 10:12 AM
GUEST 29 Sep 06 - 04:44 PM
MartinRyan 30 Sep 06 - 02:18 PM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 06 Oct 06 - 11:35 AM
MartinRyan 06 Oct 06 - 12:38 PM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 09 Oct 06 - 11:42 AM
MartinRyan 10 Oct 06 - 04:41 AM
Wolfgang 10 Oct 06 - 05:26 AM
Wolfgang 10 Oct 06 - 01:43 PM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 14 Oct 06 - 11:46 AM
johnnyforde 20 Nov 07 - 10:55 AM
GUEST,Tony Small 05 Sep 08 - 10:56 AM
MartinRyan 05 Sep 08 - 11:00 AM
MartinRyan 05 Sep 08 - 12:49 PM
Frank_Finn 06 Sep 08 - 10:46 AM
MartinRyan 06 Sep 08 - 11:06 AM
Jim Dixon 07 Sep 08 - 04:21 PM
GUEST 22 Apr 09 - 10:14 PM
MartinRyan 23 Apr 09 - 03:32 AM
Jim Dixon 24 Apr 09 - 02:28 PM
MartinRyan 24 Apr 09 - 03:14 PM
MartinRyan 25 Apr 09 - 09:54 AM
MartinRyan 25 Apr 09 - 10:37 AM
MartinRyan 25 Apr 09 - 10:43 AM
Matthew Edwards 26 Apr 09 - 09:03 AM
MartinRyan 26 Apr 09 - 09:12 AM
GUEST,MainMan 04 Jul 09 - 06:54 AM
smpc 06 Aug 09 - 07:19 AM
GUEST,Frank Mazuca 31 May 10 - 10:22 AM
GUEST 11 Oct 13 - 08:19 AM
GUEST 30 Oct 13 - 08:38 PM
MartinRyan 31 Oct 13 - 03:52 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE GREY LAKE OF LOUGHREA
From: radriano
Date: 28 Oct 99 - 06:27 PM

Here's another song from the Roscommon Singers Circle CD.
Some words are missing and I couldn't quite get some phrases. Any help would be appreciated.

The Grey Lake of Loughrea
Singer: Johnny Johnston
Source: "What Will We do?", South Roscommon Singers Circle, Vol. 1


My heartstrings make me music if I would think of you
And if you would call me darlin' sure I [would wear a feather too]
I would swim the [ ] and [Slaney] and the Shannon anyday
Just to talk with you, lovely lady, and to walk you round Loughrea

If I owned all [Portuna] and the markets of Athlone
All the walls and all the money that belonged to Limerick town
I would part them to your people, oh, if you'd let me presume
Just to walk with you, lovely lady, and to be your Squire in tune

[Oh, rose leaf may tis easy] [for to blend a waystral now]
Ah, but who was ever able for to harrow with a plow
Not reared was I for labor or to watch the seasons play
But gamblin', sport, and dancin' that lost me my own Loughrea

In her grey house by the water, my love is dwellin' still
She's the moon's only daughter, oh, alone upon the hill
She may braid her hair that evenin' [ ]
They may think it's the moon that's rising o'er the grey lake of Loughrea

Last night, abroad in London, I spent my only crown
I toasted my own one and after cried tears down
I walked the lambs till mornin' and I heard you hark away
I wish I was the red fox that you hunted round Loughrea

Oh, let me last till Easter and after summer comes
But fast and never feastin' when the snow bush bud's in bloom
The Queen of Heart's is lonely but the Joker's still to play
I will lead and take her from you, you strong men of Loughrea


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: Wolfgang
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 04:59 AM

Thanks for posting this, radriano, this is one (of two) from the CD I hadn't tried yet to transcribe and I know why. I feared unsurmountable problems. But with your headstart, I'll have a go next week and perhaps someone else helps.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 05:47 AM

Great singing from Johnny Johnston on this one.If Radriano and Wolfgang haven't deciphered the placenames etc. by the time I ge back from the weekend, I'll have a go!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: Wolfgang
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 07:44 AM

Martin, I think we need your help. Here's what little I think I might have found last night:
verse 1, line 2: (perhaps) last word 'true' instead of too
verse 1, line 3: the first river sounds like 'Shoed' to me
Verse 2, line 1: quite sure it's 'Portumna'
verse 3, line 1: might start 'Oh, rose-leafed May 'tis...'
verse 4, line 3: second half sounds to me like 'while those who got away' (sense?)
last verse: there's an 'I'll' before 'take'.
Radriano, new try from you??

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 06:39 AM

Here's a few amendments:

My heartstrings make sweet music if I would think of you
And if you would call me darlin' sure I [would wear a feather too]
I would swim the Suir and [Slaney] and the Shannon any day
Just to talk with you, lovely lady, and to walk you round Loughrea

If I owned all Portuna and the markets of Athlone
All the walls and all the money that belonged to Limerick town
I would part them to your people, oh, if you'd let me presume
Just to walk with you, lovely lady, and to be your Squire in Tuam

Oh, rose leaf'd May, ‘tis easy] [for to blend a wastrel now]
Ah, but who was ever able for to harrow with a plow
Not reared was I for labor or to watch the seasons play
But gamblin', sport, and dancin' that lost me my own Loughrea

In her grey house by the water, my love is dwellin' still
She's the moon's only daughter, oh, alone upon the hill
She may braid her hair that evenin' [ ]
They may think it's the moon that's rising o'er the grey lake of Loughrea

Last night, abroad in London, I spent my only crown
I toasted my own one and after cried tears down
I walked the lamps till mornin' and I heard you hark away
I wish I was the red fox that you hunted round Loughrea

Oh, lent may last till Easter and after summer comes
But fast and never feastin' when the snow bush bud's in bloom
The Queen of Heart's is lonely but the Joker's still to play
I will lead and take her from you, you strong men of Loughrea


Tuam, Portumna and Loughrea are place names in County Galway. The Suir is an Irish river. "Walked the lamps" seems to mean walked the streets at night. Lent is the season before Easter.

There are still a few difficult lines - I'll talk to Johnny about them when I see him next.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: Wolfgang
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 07:10 AM

Thanks, Martin, it really starts to make sense. In verse 3, line 1, "wastrel" makes sense and fits the sound.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 09:23 AM

Johnny Johnston's singing of "The Grey Lake of Loughrea" is reason enough to get the (uncommon) Roscommon CD. He is a really terrific singer. As a bonus, you get Martin Ryan singing the little known MacColl song, "Ten Young Women and One Young Man" and 18 other tracks. This one's a gem. I hope Max spins it a bit next week. Are you listening, Max?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: Wolfgang
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 10:12 AM

And here's the tracklist and information how to get it: Roscommon . Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 04:44 PM

Recorded version by Christy Moore in the "Box Set"
with a melody by Tony Small who dug it up with Sean Ryan's help in the eighties.Tony has a number of Loughrea songs that are rare.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: MartinRyan
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 02:18 PM

The words are those of a poem by Padraig (sp.?) Fallon.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 11:35 AM

Third verse; not "blend" but "blame the wastrel now"?
Fourth: "..braid her hair at evenin, while those who pass that way"?
Fifth: "I waulked the lambs till morning"?*
Sixth: "Tho' Lent will last till Easter, and after Summer comes;
       But fasting or feasting, while the sloe-bush buds and blooms,
       The Queen of Hearts is lonely, but the Jkoer's yet to play:
       I will lead and take her from you O strong men of Lough Rea"

Suggested emendations to above, based upon hearing the song from various singers, including C Lynch and K Dunne, in the last couple of years.


*i.e., kept watch over the young sheep? (cf "Wawking/waulking of the fauld", C18th Scots song adapted by Allan Ramsay 1684-1758). That is, presumably he didn't do this in London, but is remembering a time he did so near to Lough Rea, and how he heard the woman in question out hunting after foxes. Admittedly, this doesn't go too well with the impression that he's a gentleman born, who lost all thro' gambling &c: or, did he have to try employment as a shepherd because of this loss of fortune?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: MartinRyan
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 12:38 PM

ABCD

Interesting. I've never actually see the poem in print - have you? It would settle the lambs/lamps walking/waulking idea at least!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 11:42 AM

No, Martin, I haven't (which would largely end discussion/confusion/repeated listenings and attempts to discriminate nicely and, not least, remember!). And, of course, I wouldn't dare suggest "improvements" (as I realised, later, "emendations" might suggest; I only meant emendations to what I took to be other people's attempts to get the words of all verses). However, I did take your own point about P Fallon, and finds he uses an expression about "arc-lamps" in one poem, so perhaps the singer is indeed "walking the lamps", one-by-one, all through the night in the London streets, and hearing not lake-water lapping at the shore but instead the Lady herself, indulging in blood-sports. Incidentally, the song has two of my favorite concepts in such songs in traditional idiom; that about Lent and Easter, the ?Sloe-bush &c, and the folk-wisdom, perhaps, of "who was ever able for to harrow with a plough".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: MartinRyan
Date: 10 Oct 06 - 04:41 AM

ABCD

This song has become very popular in recent years, though few people seem to know its origins. I've made half-hearted attempts to find the original poem, when browsing in bookshops - without success. A decent library should solve the problem - but I never seem to get round to going into one these days!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: Wolfgang
Date: 10 Oct 06 - 05:26 AM

Much appreciated recommendations.

Wolfgang


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE GREY LAKE OF LOUGHREA
From: Wolfgang
Date: 10 Oct 06 - 01:43 PM

Martin's version with ABCD's recommendations inserted:

THE GREY LAKE OF LOUGHREA

My heartstrings make sweet music if I would think of you
And if you would call me darlin' sure I [would wear a feather too]
I would swim the Suir and [Slaney] and the Shannon any day
Just to talk with you, lovely lady, and to walk you round Loughrea

If I owned all Portuna and the markets of Athlone
All the walls and all the money that belonged to Limerick town
I would part them to your people, oh, if you'd let me presume
Just to walk with you, lovely lady, and to be your Squire in Tuam

Oh, rose-leaf'd May, 'tis easy for to blame the wastrel now
Ah, but who was ever able for to harrow with a plough
Not reared was I for labour or to watch the seasons play
But gamblin', sport, and dancin' that lost me my own Loughrea

In her grey house by the water, my love is dwellin' still
She's the moon's only daughter, oh, alone upon the hill
She may braid her hair at evenin, while those who pass that way
They may think it's the moon that's rising o'er the grey lake of Loughrea

Last night, abroad in London, I spent my only crown
I toasted my own one and after cried tears down
I waulked the lamps till mornin' and I heard you hark away
I wish I was the red fox that you hunted round Loughrea

Tho' Lent will last till Easter, and after Summer comes;
But fasting or feasting, while the sloe-bush buds and blooms,
The Queen of Hearts is lonely, but the Joker's yet to play:
I will lead and take her from you O strong men of Loughrea

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 14 Oct 06 - 11:46 AM

I wondered why an earlier posting by Martin Ryan had "ABCD" at the top of it, until seeing the above by Wolfgang. I'm sure that in verse two it's "Portumna" (note the "m" there). And, if "waulk'd" be the words in final verse, that only goes with "lambs"; it's similar in sense to an Irish "Wake", only of course the creatures aren't dead...

One time I heard this song, incidentally, the line given here as "rose-leaf'd May" was sung as (I'm sure) "Some people say [it's easy &c]" which is, if prosaic, at least clear in sense. I take "May" not to be the month, but an archaic word for a "Maiden"? Of course, maybe that's the lady's name...

Just shows how difficult it is to be definitive. I remember going to P K's published works for "Raglan Road", and discovering the sense/sentences were quite different from the way it seems invariably to be done.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: johnnyforde
Date: 20 Nov 07 - 10:55 AM

it is portumna    a town just ouside loughrea.... big castle and grounds there.


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Subject: ADD Version: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: GUEST,Tony Small
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 10:56 AM

Greetings..
I'v been singing this for years now and here are the words I sing..
I first heard of it from Sean Ryan and as he had no melody, I made up my own.. (as heard on the Christy Moore "Box Set" recording)
Some say it was written by Padraig Fallon and others attribute it to Brian Mc Mahon.

THE GREY LAKE OF LOUGHREA

My heartstrings make me music if I but think of you
And if you would call me darling, I would wear a feathered shoe
I would swim the Suir,the Slaney and the Shannon anyday
Just to talk with you, lovely lady, and to walk you round Loughrea.

If I owned all Portumna and the markets of Athlone
All the walls and all the money belonged to Limerick town
I would part them to your people, if you'd let me presume
Just to walk with you, lovely lady, and to be your Squire in Tuam.

Oro! fair maid but it's easy to blame the wastrel now.
For who was ever able for to harrow with a plow?
Not reared was I for labor or to watch the seasons play
But gambling, sport and dancing they lost me my Loughrea .

In her grey house by the water, my love is dwelling still,
She's the moon's only daughter, oh! lamp upon the hill,
She may braid her hair at evening while those who walk the way,
They think it's the moon that's rising o'er the grey lake of Loughrea.

Last night, abroad in London, I spent my only crown,
I toasted my own sweetheart and after cried tears down.
I walked the lamps till morning and I heard you hark away,
I wish I was the red fox that you hunted round Loughrea

Oh,lent may last till Easter and after summer comes,
With fasting and with feasting when the slow bush buds in full bloom,
The Queen of Hearts is lonely for her joker still to play,
I will lead and take her from you, strong man of Loughrea..


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: MartinRyan
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 11:00 AM

Thank you Tony!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: MartinRyan
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 12:49 PM

Incidentally, Tony, your name has cropped up here a few times over the years! If you put "tony small" into the search box at the top left of the page, you'll get links to (some at least of) the threads concerned. You might like to comment on some.

Regards


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Subject: ADD: Version: LADY OF LOUGHREA
From: Frank_Finn
Date: 06 Sep 08 - 10:46 AM

I got the words of this song from Seamus McMathuna at a fleadh in Enniscorthy. By I heard it sung - most beautifully by a Hari Krishna man from Wicklow. (cannot remember his name)
I have the sheet Seamus gave me and the words are shown below

In the notes Seamus says this:

"I first heard this song sung by Garry McMahon at a Fleadh in Newcastle West back in the early '60's. At that stage when good songs could only be obtained by diligent collecting. Garry had a large repertoire of fine and rare songs. The Lady of Loughrea was written by Páraig Fallon, a well-known poet of the 1940 -1960 period. I believe it was inspired by the ideas and motifs of a gaelic song, Tá mo theach ar an ardán"

These are the words on the sheet he gave me and there are only very slight differences to Tony's. btw It is the title song on the Colm O'Donnell CD titled Heartstrings.


LADY OF LOUGHREA
(Páraig Fallon)

My heartstrings make sweet music if I but think of you
And if you should call me darling, I would wear a feathered shoe
I would swim the Suir or Slaney or the Shannon anyday
Just to talk with you, lovely lady, and to walk you round Loughrea.

If I owned all Portumna or the markets of Athlone
Or the wharves and all the money that belong to Limerick town
I would part them to your people, if you'd let me presume
Just to walk with you, lovely lady, and to be your Squire in Tuam.

Oh rose-leaf maid 'tis easy for to blame the wastrel now.
But who was ever able for to harrow with a plow?
Not reared was I for labour or to watch the seasons play
But gambling, sport and dancing, that lost me my own Loughrea .

In her grey house by the water, my love is dwelling still,
She's the moon's only daughter, oh! her lamp upon the hill,
She may braid her hair at evening while those who walk the way,
They may think it's the moon that's rising o'er the grey lake of Loughrea.

Last night, abroad in London, I spent my only crown,
I toasted my own one and after cried tears down.
I walked the lamps till morning and I heard your "hark away",
I wished I were the red fox that you hunt around Loughrea

Oh,lent may last till Easter and after summer comes,
But fasting or feasting, the sloe bush buds and blooms,
The Queen of Hearts is lonely but the joker's still to play,
I will lead and take her from you, oh strong men of Loughrea.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: MartinRyan
Date: 06 Sep 08 - 11:06 AM

Glad to have the Fallon attribution corroborated.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Sep 08 - 04:21 PM

From

The Dublin Magazine: A Quarterly Review of Literature, Science and Art. Edited by Seumas O'Sullivan. January-March, 1952, page 7 (I think):

In her grey house by the water
My love is dwelling still,
The moon's one only daughter,
O Lamp upon the Hill;
She'll braid her hair at evening
And those who walk the way
They think it's the moon that's rising
On the grey lake of Loughrea.

[Only snippets are viewable at Google Book Search.]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 10:14 PM

The Grey Lake of Loughrea.

Greetings...

I've been singing this for years now and here are the words I sing...
I first heard of it from Sean Ryan (Whistle Maestro) and as he had no melody, I made up my own...
(As heard on the Christy Moore "Box Set" recording.)

Some say it was written by Padraig Fallon. (Poet of Athenry, Galway) and others attribute it to Brian Mc Mahon (Writer of Listowel, Kerry)

The Grey Lake of Loughrea.

My heartstrings make me music if I but think of you,
And if you would call me darling, I would wear a feathered shoe,
I would swim the Suir, the Slaney and the Shannon any day'
Just to talk with you, lovely lady and to walk you round Loughrea.

If I owned all Portumna and the markets of Athlone,
All the walls and all the money belonged to Limerick town,
I would part them to your people, if you'd let me presume
Just to walk with you, lovely lady, and to be your Squire in Tuam.

Oro! Fair maid but it's easy to blame the wastrel now.
For who was ever able for to harrow with a plow?
Not reared was I for labor or to watch the seasons play
But gambling, sport and dancing they lost me my Loughrea .

In her grey house by the water, my love is dwelling still,
She's the moon's only daughter, oh! Lamp upon the hill,
She may braid her hair at evening while those who walk the way,
They think it's the moon that's rising o'er the grey lake of Loughrea.

Last night, abroad in London, I spent my only crown;
I toasted my own sweetheart and after cried tears down.
I walked the lamps till morning and I heard you hark away,
I wished I were the red fox that you hunted round Loughrea

Oh, Lent may last till Easter and after summer comes,
With fasting and with feasting when the slow bush buds in full bloom,
The Queen of Hearts is lonely for her joker still to play,
I will lead and take her from you, strong man of Loughrea..

Enjoy…

Tony Small.   My URL: myspace link


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: MartinRyan
Date: 23 Apr 09 - 03:32 AM

Hi Tony

Good to see you here. The attribution to Fallon is solid. The Brian McMahon connection probably comes from its association with his son Gary, mentioned earlier in the thread.

Regards


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE PRETTY GIRLS OF LOUGHREA (P Fallon)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 02:28 PM

I found this first with Google Books, and then consulted an actual print copy at a local university. It's in The Dublin Magazine, edited by Seumas O'Sullivan, v. 27-28, 1952-3, page 6. [Oops! I forgot to write down exactly which issue I found this in; but it's a quarterly periodical, so there are only 8 possibilities.]

From
WORDS FOR OLD AIRS
By Padraic Fallon

I dedicate these songs to Mrs Costello of Tuam, who made that most interesting collection of Irish Folk Songs known as "Amhrain Muighe Sheola".


THE PRETTY GIRLS OF LOUGHREA
Amhrain Muighe Sheola No. 22.

My heart-strings make me music
If I but think of you;
And if you call me, darling,
I'll wear a feathered shoe,
And swim the Suir and Slaney
And the Shannon any day
To talk with you, my dear one,
And walk you round Loughrea.

Did I own all Portumna
And the markets of Athlone,
Or the wharfs and the money
That belong to Limerick town
I would part them to your people
O if you'd let me presume
To look upon you one long day
And be your squire in Tuam.

O Rose-leafed maid, it's easy
To blame the wastrel now,
But who was ever able
To harrow with a plough;
Not reared was I to labour
Or to watch the season's way,
But gambling, sport and pleasure
Lost me my own Loughrea.

In her grey house by the water
My love is dwelling still,
The moon's one only daughter,
O Lamp upon the Hill;
She'll braid her hair at evening
And those who walk the way
They think it's the moon that's rising
On the grey lake of Loughrea.

Last night abroad in London
I spent my only crown;
I toasted my own one
And after cried tears down;
I walked the lamps till morning
And I heard your harkaway;
I wished I was the red fox
That you hunted round Loughrea.

No Lent will last out Easter
And after, summer comes;
And fasting is feasting
When the sloe-bush buds and blooms;
The Queen of Hearts is lonely,
But the Joker's still to play;
I'll lead and I'll take her from you,
O Strong men of Loughrea.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: MartinRyan
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 03:14 PM

Mrs Costello's collection was first published in the Journal of the Irish Folksong Society in the early 20th C. I have a (facsimile reissue) copy and will check it out. I think Fallon's poem is partly based on an Irish language original.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: MartinRyan
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 09:54 AM

There's a sample of the Johnny Johnston recording mentioned at the beginning of this thread HERE

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: MartinRyan
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 10:37 AM

In fact, The Pretty Girls of Loughrea is not in the JIFS version. Probably in a revised later publication.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: MartinRyan
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 10:43 AM

It appears in Londubh an Charn (Sons of the Irish Gael) published 1927 - under the title Baile Locha Riabhach (literally The Town of Loughrea) which refers to Mrs. Costello's earlier publication.

Regards


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Subject: Lyr Add: Nelli Ban
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 09:03 AM

I may have a different edition of Amhráin Mhuighe Seóla, but song #22 Nellí Bhán appears to be the basis for Padraig Fallon's poem.

Mrs Costello gives the Irish words, and the tune, followed by an English translation. She learned the song from Micheal Breathnach from Inverin, Spiddal, who was a friend of hers in London where he was also Secretary of the Gaelic League.

[Mrs Costello indicated aspirates with dots above the relevant letters; I have changed this by adding an 'h' after the letter instead.]

Nellí Bhán

Ó's, a Nellí bhán, 's tú grádh liom,
'S tú cuisle geal mo chroidhe.
Leig mo lámh ar do bhrághaid ghil,
Nó ni mhair-fidh mé beo mí.
Do shnámhfainn féin an t-Siúir Leat,
'S an t-Sion-ainn mhór 'do dhiaidh,
Ó, rug tú an bárr an lá úd
Ó mhnáibh deas-a Loch-a Riabhaigh.

Dá mbhad liom-sa Portumna
Agus baile Locha Riabhach,
Luimneach gan chunntas,
'S thart timcheall Bh'l-á-Cliath;
Ar do mhuinntir-se a roinnfinn
A leath agus dhá thrian,
Ar cunntas a bheith i dTuaim leat
Lá fada 'gus bliadhain.

Ní chainnteóchainn ar mo chapall,
Ar mo dhiallaid ná ar mo shrian,
Ná ar pháircínibh an fhaltanais (?)
A mbiodhmuid ann a' fiadhac;
Ná ar a ndeachaidh de bháid
Ó Shasana thar sáile le bliadhain,
Má chainntighmid an lá úd
Ar mnáibh deasa Locha Riabhach.

Tabhair mo bheannacht-sa go Connachtaibh,
Mar is ann a bhíodh an greann,
Agus chugat-sa féin a ghrádh ghil,
Nach bhfeicfidh mé go bráth.
An chómhrádh úd bhí eadrainn
Ag dul anonn sliabh bán na dtom,
'S gurab í an tSionainn mhór chongbhuigh muid
A bhí lán go bruach romhainn.

Ó 'gus truagh géar nár cailleadh mé,
Amuigh ar an sliabh,
'San áit a mbéadh mo chnámha
Le piocadh ag an bhfiach,
Sul dar thuit mé i ngrádh leat,
A bhruinneall na ngeal-chíoch;
'S go mb'fheárr le do mháthairín
Nach bhfeicfeadh sí mé 'riamh.

TRANSLATION [By Mrs Costello]

1. And oh! fair Nelly, you are my love,
You're the bright pulse of my heart;
Lay my hand on your white neck,
Or I will not live a month.
I would swim the (river) Suir with you,
And the mighty Shannon after you,
For on that day you took the palm
From the pretty women of Loughrea.

2. Were I to own Portumna
And the town of Loughrea,
Limerick without account,
And all around Dublin,
Among your people I'd divide
Its half and its two-thirds,
For the sake of being in Tuam with you
For a long day and a year.

3. I would not speak about my horse,
About my saddle or bridle,
Nor of the fields of enmity (?),
In which we used to hunt,
Nor of all the boats that travelled
In a year from England across the sea,
If we should speak on that day
Of the pretty women of Loughrea.

4. Take my blessing to Connacht,
For there used to be the fun,
And to yourself, my bright love,
Whom I'll never see again.
The talk that passed between us
Going over the white mountain of the thickets,
And 'twas only the Shannon restrained us,
That was full to the very brink.

5. My bitter grief that I did not die
Away out on the mountain,
The place where my bones would lie
To be picked by the raven.
Before I fell in love with you
O, maiden of the white breasts:
And your mother too would much prefer
That she'd never see me more.

From Eibhlín Bean Mhic Choisdealbha; Amhráin Mhuighe Seóla, facsimile reprint of 1923 edition, Cló Iar-Chonnachta, 1990.

Another version of the song appears in Edward Walsh's bilingual 'Irish Popular Songs' (1847) pp.113-115, and in the 2nd edition of 1883 pp.116-119. Both editions can be found in the Internet Archive:-
Edward Walsh: Irish Popular Songs (1847)
Edward Walsh: Irish Popular Songs 2nd ed.(1883)

This is Walsh's rather more poetic translation of the song:-

Nelly Ban

O, sit beside me, Nelly Bán, bright favourite of my heart,
Unless I touch thy snowy neck my life will soon depart-
I'd swim for thee the River Suir and Shannon's widespread sea:
Thou dost excel the beauteous maids of the town of blue Loch Rea!

Were mine the town on blue Loch Rea, Portunma's pleasant streets,
The city of the Battle-ford, and Limerick of the fleets,
Unto thy tribe these precious gifts I gladly would resign,
Could gifts like these incline them, love, to make thee ever mine!

My blessing take to Connaught back, the land of friendship free,
And to my own beloved who is so far from me;
On Thomond's dusky mountain, our meeting place we chose-
Swoln Shannon's waves detain'd me - in savage wrath they rose!

I would sooner than my gallant steed - I pass his bridle-rein,
Or heirdom of the wide domain where stately deer are slain;
Than all that reach'd to Limerick of laden fleets this year,
That in the town on blue Loch Rea I could behold my dear!

O! that I were laid in death far on a hill away,
My right hand high extended to feed the bird of prey,
Since, Nelly Bán, the theme of bards, I fell in love with thee,
And thy mother says she'll have me not, her son-in-law to be!

Matthew Edwards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: MartinRyan
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 09:12 AM

Matthew

Think I confused the issue somewhat: Baile Locha Riabhach and Nellí Bhán are the same song. I managed to miss Mrs. Costello's version in JIFSS because she used Neili Bhan/Fair Nelly as the title, rather than Pretty Girls.../Baile ... !

There have, indeed, been quite a few verse translations over the years.

Thanks for the link to Walsh's books, BTW

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: GUEST,MainMan
Date: 04 Jul 09 - 06:54 AM

Does anyone know the christy moore chords to the song??


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: smpc
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 07:19 AM

i know this song as 'The Lady Of Loughrae'

My heart strings make sweet music if I but think of you
And if you should call me darling I would wear a feathered shoe
I would swim the Suir or Slaney or the Shannon any day
Just to talk with you lovely lady and to walk you round Loughrae.

If I owned all Portumna the markets of Athlone
Or the wharves and all the money that belong to Limerick town
I would part them with your people if you'd let me presume
Just to talk with you lovely lady and to be your squire in Tuam.

Oh! Roseleaf maid t'is easy for to blame the wastrel now
But who was ever able for to harrow with a plough
Not reared was I for labour or to watch the seasons play
But gambling, sport and dancing that lost me my own Loughrae.

In her grey house by the water my love is dwelling still
She is the moons only daughter, oh her lamp upon the hill
She may braid her hair at evening while those who go the way
They may think it's the moon that's rising o'er the grey lake to Loughrae.

Last night abroad in London I spent my only crown
I toasted to last one and after cried tears down
I walked the lamps till morning and I heard your hark away
Oh I wish I were the red fox that you hunted round Loughrae.

Oh! Lent may last till Easter and after Summer comes
But for fasting or feasting while the sloe bush buds and blooms
The queen of hearts is lonely but the jokers still to play
Oh! I'll fight and I'll take her from you oh strong men of Loughrae.


the place names are in Galway and the suir, slaney and the shannon are rivers in Ireland the Shannon being the biggest.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: GUEST,Frank Mazuca
Date: 31 May 10 - 10:22 AM

Portumna (Port Omna in Irish - meaning 'the landing place of the oak') is a town in the South-East of County Galway, Ireland


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Oct 13 - 08:19 AM

Verse 3 ..Garry sang blame the wastrel. Bryan got the song from Padraig Fallon so I expect Garry sang the original words.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 08:38 PM

The original title given to the song by Padraic Fallon was The Loughrea Gambler's Lament . Michael Hogan (The Bard of Thomond) 1832-1899 wrote a very different song entitled My Mary Of Loughrea.(Joe O'Connor)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Lake of Loughrea
From: MartinRyan
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 03:52 AM

Thanks, Joe.

Regards


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