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Origins: Leis a Lurighan / Leis an Lurgainn

GUEST 08 May 06 - 07:18 PM
GUEST,Philippa 09 May 06 - 08:24 AM
George Seto - 09 May 06 - 08:44 AM
George Seto - 09 May 06 - 07:47 PM
Susanne (skw) 10 May 06 - 06:48 PM
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Subject: 'Leis a Lurighan' translation
Date: 08 May 06 - 07:18 PM

I heard this song by a band called A Chorus of Two. I searched the forums but didn't find anything on it. It's a seasong sung in English but the constant refrain is 'Leis a Lurighan'. Any info on it's origin or what it may mean would be great. Thanks. Here are the lyrics:

Leis a Lurighan

On the ocean O he, waves in motion, Oho
Not but clouds could we see o'er the blue sky below
Island looming O he, in the gloaming, Oho
Our ship's compass set we, and our lights we did show.

Leis a lurighan O he, leis a lurighan Oho,
in the grey dark of evening, o'er the waves let us go.

Aros passing O he, was harassing, Oho,
The proud billow to see, high as mastheads to flow
Captain hollers, O he, to his fellows, Oho,
Those whom courage would flee, let them go down below,


In the tempest, O he, waves were crashing, Oho,
And the cry of the sea as the cold wind did blow.
Captain hollers, O he, to his fellows, Oho,
Those who won't stand with me, let them go down below.


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Subject: RE: 'Leis a Lurighan' translation
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 09 May 06 - 08:24 AM

there was a previous thread but I'm not able to track it down at the moment

the original is in Scottish Gaelic

Leis a' Lurgainn means With the Lurgann - Dwelly's Dictionary translates Lurgann as "shaft, shin, leg ..." but it seems to be the name of the boat, in another version it's Leis a' Mhaighdinn (with The Maiden)
see Gaelic lyrics and some info at and

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Subject: RE: 'Leis a Lurighan' translation
From: George Seto -
Date: 09 May 06 - 08:44 AM

This is a short fragment of the full song, about 3 out of about 7 or 8 verses. The song is about an ill fated trip to Ireland (Eirinn).

Leis an Lurgainn


Leis an Lurgainn o hi

Leis an Lurgainn o hò
Beul an anmoich o hi
'S fheudar faibh le 'cuid seòl

An Cuan Eirinn o hi
Muir ag éirigh o hò
Cha bu léir dhuinn o hi
Ni fo 'n ghréin ach na neòil

Seachad Ìle o hi
'M beul na h-oidhche o hò
Las sinn coinnlean o hi
'S chuir sinn combaist air dòigh

Seachad Aros o hi
Bha i gàbhaidh o hò
'N fhairge làidir o hi
Suas gu bàrr a' chroinn-sgòid

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Subject: Lyr Add: LEIS AN LURGAINN
From: George Seto -
Date: 09 May 06 - 07:47 PM

Here's the full song:

Leis an Lurgainn

Leis an Lurgainn o hì,
Leis an Lurgainn o hó,
Beul an anmoich o hì,
'S fheudar falbh le 'cuid seòl.

An Cuan Eirinn o hì,
Muir ag éirigh o hò,
Cha bu léir dhuinn o hì,
Nì fo'n ghréin ach na neòil.

Seachad Ile o hì,
'M beul na h-oidhche o hò,
Las sinn coinnlean o hì,
'S chuir sinn combaist air dòigh.

Seachad Aros o hì,
Bha i gàbhaidh o hò,
'N fhairge làidir o hì,
Suas gu bàrr a' chroinn-sgòid.

Thuirt an sgiobair o hì,
Ri chuid ghillean o hò,
"Glacaibh misneach o hì,
'S deanaibh dì
chioll, a sheòid."

"Mar bu nòs dhuibh o hì,
Seasaibh dileas o hò,
'Bheil e coltach o hì,
Gu'n tig dosgainn 'n ar còir?"

"Suas a h-aodach o hì,
Ri 'croinn chaola o hò,
'Snàmh cho aotrom o hì,
Ris an fhaoilinn air lòn."

"Muir 'ga bualadh o hì,
Taobh an fhuaraidh o hò,
Bith'dh sinn buadhar o hì,
'S gillean uallach air bò

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Subject: RE: 'Leis a Lurighan' translation
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 10 May 06 - 06:48 PM

I think this is the previous thread.

The following passage reminded me very much of the song, so I just quote it here:

[1999:] Both the navy and the merchant shipowners learnt through bitter experience to expect a certain percentage of their ships to sink every year they sailed. With the mortality rate so high and conditions so bad, the sailors themselves could only cultivate a brutal fatalism about their work. They lived in a twilit world, with their own jargon and codes. Most did not expect to live beyond the age of forty. They regarded the government with suspicion, the law with indifference, and their landlubber compatriots with derision. They were accustomed to shipwreck and injury, they accepted that the sea was unsafe, and they remained suspicious of men who promised salvation. (Bella Bathurst, The Lighthouse Stevensons 11)

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