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Origins: Brockagh Braes

22 Feb 21 - 04:48 PM (#4094340)
Subject: Origins: Brockagh Braes
From: Joe Offer

Noreen sang this at the Singaround.

Brockagh Braes

One night as I lay slumbering in my silent bed alone
Some reckless thoughts came to my mind which caused me for to roam
To leave my native country and the wee girl I do adore
So I thought it fit to take a trip, strange lands for to explore

Now the night before I went away I was walking over Brockagh Hill
When I met my darling on the road and her eyes with tears did fill
"Stay you at home dear John" she said "and do not go away
For I'll have none to comfort me when you are on the sea"

Well I took her by the lily white hand and I held her hard and fast
Saying "adieu to you my darling for my ship it lies in Belfast
But if you prove loyal sure I'll prove true for you know that I'm well inclined"
So we kissed goodbye and parted and I left my girl behind

And when we landed in Greenock sure the people all gathered around
And they said I was a rakish lad come to put their harvest down
They told me to return again and never more be seen
So without delay I sailed away for Ireland's lovely green

Sure when Mary heard that John was home her heart did beat with joy
Saying "come into my arms" she cried "you're my darling lovely boy"
Saying "come into my arms" she cried "of you I have thought great and long
And let them all say as they will, our wedding will now go on

And let them all say as they as they will

22 Feb 21 - 08:13 PM (#4094372)
Subject: RE: Origins: Brockagh Braes
From: GUEST,Dónal

There are other versions of this around, with only the placename changed.

I have sometimes wondered about 'when you are on the sea,' Belfast to Glasgow, or thereabouts, could hardly take more than a couple of hours.

23 Feb 21 - 12:18 PM (#4094464)
Subject: RE: Origins: Brockagh Braes
From: GUEST,John Moulden

This is more or less as sung by Geordie Hanna from Derrytresk on the western shore of Lough Neagh. It's also been collected in north America as Katadhin Green. The Hanna Family will soon issue a book detailing the life of Gerodie Hanna, the life of his area and his songs. I've been privileged to help with it and I await its issue with eagerness.

23 Feb 21 - 12:21 PM (#4094465)
Subject: RE: Origins: Brockagh Braes
From: GUEST,John Moulden

I should have said that locally, the song is attributed to the local poet, John Canavan, who wrote the song "To all intended emigrants" - I'd not be sure of his authorship of Brockagh Brae. The local spelling is Brocagh.

23 Feb 21 - 02:13 PM (#4094480)
Subject: RE: Origins: Brockagh Braes
From: weerover

The book "By Dobbin's Flowery Vale" subtitled "A journey in traditional song with the Armagh Pipers Club" has "Brockagh Brae", with verses more or less as given by Joe without that first verse,but with a third verse:

Now when we landed in Belfast, sure our ship she was in full sail,
Away she went on down the Lough with a blithe and pleasant gale,
We were sailing o'er the ocean where the foaming billows roar
And it's thanks be to the heavens above that we landed safe on shore.

and a final verse:

Oh, Brockagh Brae's a nice wee place where nice wee girls live in,
You would think they were the nightingales when they sit down to sing,
Where the salmon trout do sport around Lough Neagh's verdant shore,
So let them all say as they will, you'll be mine for evermore.

The book also give the musical notation. If anyone is keen to have the tune I could do the abc, though not having used it for years it would take me a bit of time.


23 Feb 21 - 05:19 PM (#4094500)
Subject: RE: Origins: Brockagh Braes
From: Ross Campbell

Not far from my mother's home place in Fermanagh, there is a Brockagh Brae, adjacent to Brockagh Bridge where the Swanlinbar road crosses the Sillees River. In the days (fifties) when we used to cycle all over, it was great fun going down; up, not so much.
There are very likely several more Brockaghs (at least another townland of the same name in Fermanagh).

As to the Glasgow-Belfast sailing time, Burns-Laird Line used to run overnight ferries from Lancefield Quay on the Broomielaw to Donegal Quay in the centre of Belfast, leaving at 9pm and arriving about 7am the next day. Journey times from Derry to Glasgow would be about the same.

24 Feb 21 - 03:02 PM (#4094640)
Subject: RE: Origins: Brockagh Braes
From: GUEST,John Moulden

The Brocagh/Brockagh in the mind of the singer(s) from the west of Lough Neagh is nearby in Co Tyrone. The additional two verses given above were also in the song as sung by Geordie Hanna.