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Origins: Brid Og Ni Mhaille/Bridget O'Malley

29 Apr 01 - 12:51 AM (#451422)
Subject: Brid Og Ni Mhaille
From: GUEST,Andrew

Hello All, The annual party is coming up shortly in Darwin & a friend & I want to do a duet Gaelic/English of Brid Og Ni Mhaille/Bridgit O'Malley. We've the English words, no the Gaelic.

Can anyone help?

Cheers, Andrew

29 Apr 01 - 01:05 AM (#451430)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brid Og Ni Mhaille
From: Sorcha

DT no help on this one, has the English only.

29 Apr 01 - 01:14 AM (#451434)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brid Og Ni Mhaille
From: Amergin

Click here

29 Apr 01 - 01:31 AM (#451440)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brid Og Ni Mhaille
From: Sorcha

uh oh. I was all set for a Whhoooo-ooo, and got an Error 404, Cannot be displayed. You goober up the link, 'Gin? Check it and see, OK?

29 Apr 01 - 01:38 AM (#451444)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brid Og Ni Mhaille
From: Amergin

Hmmm, I was able to get there just fine...

Try clearing out your temporary internet files and checking your security settings...they might be too high...

29 Apr 01 - 01:48 AM (#451455)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brid Og Ni Mhaille
From: Sorcha

musta been just too busy, works OK now. One whooeee good Oh for you, 'Gin!

29 Apr 01 - 12:58 PM (#451589)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brid Og Ni Mhaille
From: GUEST,curmudgeon

I seem to recall finding it in Peter Kennedy's great tome, The Folksongs of Great Britain and Ireland.

30 Apr 01 - 01:26 PM (#452220)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brid Og Ni Mhaille
From: GUEST,Andrew

Hello All, Thanks for the quick response. The link worked great So, now I have a bookmark, HD copy & hard copy.

Thanks again, Andrew

13 May 02 - 09:32 PM (#710626)
From: Jim Dixon

Copied from


Is a Bhríd Óg Ní Mháille, 's tú d'fhág mo chroí cráite
Tá arraingeacha 'n bháis ag gabháil fríd cheart-lár mo chroí
Tá na mílte fear i ngrá le d'éadan ciúin náireach
Is go dtug tú barr breácht' ar thír Oirghiall má's fíor

Níl ní ar bith is áille ná'n ghealach os cionn a' tsáile
Ná bláth bán na n-áirní bhíos a' fás ar an droighean
O siúd mar bhíos mo ghrá-sa, 'na trillsí le breáchta
Béilín meala na páirte nach ndearn ariamh claon

Is tuirseach 's is brónach a chaithims' an Domhnach
Mo hata 'n mo dhorn liom 's mé ag osnaíl go trom
Mé 'g amharc ar na bóithre a mbínn 's mo ghrá' gabháil ann
'Nois ag fear eile pósta is mo h-och nach í 'n fheall

Nach mise 'tá thíos leis a' phósadh seo 'dhéanamh
'S nach gcodlaím aon oích' ach ag osnaíl go trom
O nár fhágaidh mé 'n saol seo go rabh mé 's mo chéad-searc
Ar an aon leabaidh sínte 's mo lámh faoi n-a cionn

Is buachaill deas óg mé 'tá ag triall 'un mo phósta
'S ní buan i bhfad beo mé mur' bhfaghaidh mé mo mhian
A chuisle is a stóirín, déan réidh 'gus bí romham-sa
Cionn deireannach den Domhnach ar Bhóithrín Droim Sliabh

[The English version is in the DT: BRIDGIT O'MALLEY.]

08 Aug 16 - 01:57 AM (#3804103)
Subject: RE: Origins: Brid Og Ni Mhaille/Bridget O'Malley
From: Joe Offer

Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song:

Bridget O'Malley

DESCRIPTION: The singer laments that Bridget has left him heartbroken. He describes her beauty most fulsomely, and says his Sundays are now lonely and full of another. (She is now married, but) he bids her meet him on the road to Drumsleve
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1962 (recorded by Peter Kennedy)
KEYWORDS: love betrayal abandonment marriage foreignlanguage
FOUND IN: Ireland
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Kennedy 27, "Brid Og Ni Mhaille (Bridget O'Malley) (1 text+translation, 1 tune)

NOTES: Kennedy does not seem aware of any English-language versions of this Irish Gaelic song, but Silly Wizard found a text somewhere. It may well be a modern translation; it's awfully flowery. Indeed, the publication in Sing Out!, Volume 37, #4, p. 84, implies that it was assembled by Ruth Morgan" (although it does not make it clear how much was already translated). But I decided to include the song here because some might search for it. - RBW
File: K027

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.

Here are the lyrics we have in the Digital Tradition. Any comments or corrections?


Oh Bridgit O'Malley. You've left my heart shaken
With a hopeless desolation, I'd have you to know
It's the wonders of admiration your quiet face has taken
And your beauty will haunt me wherever I go.

The white moon above the pale sands, the pale stars above the thorn tree
Are cold beside my darling, but no purer than she
I gaze upon the cold moon till the stars drown in the warm sea
And the bright eyes of my darling are never on me.

My Sunday it is weary, my Sunday it is grey now
My heart is a cold thing, my heart is a stone
All joy is dead within me, my life has gone away now
For another has taken My Love for his own.

The day it is approaching when we were to be married
And it's rather I would die than live only to grieve.
Oh meet me, My Darling, e'er the sets o'er the barley
And I'll meet you there on the road to Drumslieve.

Oh Bridgit O'Malley. You've left my heart shaken
With a hopeless desolation, I'd have you to know
It's the wonders of admiration your quiet face has taken
And your beauty will haunt me wherever I go.

(Spelled "Briget O'Malley" on "So Many Partings")
Recorded by Silly Wizard
@Irish @parting
filename[ BRIDGIT

Here's the Silly Wizard recording, which seems to be the source of the DT lyrics:

08 Aug 16 - 11:42 AM (#3804175)
Subject: RE:: Brid Og Ni Mhaille/Bridget O'Malley
From: GUEST,Philippa

The English language lyrics given are close enough in meaning to the Irish.

My literal translation of lyrics submitted by Jim Dixon is (so far)

Oh, young Bríege O' Mally
You have left my heart broken
You've sent the pangs of death through the centre of my heart
Hundreds of men are in love with your quiet modest face
You are surely the most beautiful woman in Oriel.

There is nothing more beautiful
than the moon shining on the sea
or the white blossom growing on the blackthorn
My love is as brightly beautiful as that
[her] little honeyed mouth has never done wrong

I spend my Sundays sorrowful, my hat in my fist, sighing heavily
Looking at the road my love does walk
Now she is married to another, oh my grief, isn't it a shame

[I think "feall" implies he has been deceived - whether by Bríd or by her lover]
[often "agus gan i bheith liom" - "and her not with me" is sung rather than "is mo h-och nach í 'n fheall"

Aren't I the one who is cut down by this marriage
who will not sleep a single night but will be sighing/sobbing heavily
that I won't leave this world without me and my sweetheart
stretched on the same bed with my arm around her

I'm a nice young lad who aims to get married
but I won't live long if I don't gain my dear
my love [lit. pulse] and my treasure,
make ready and meet me next Sunday at the road
to Drumsleeve [droim sliabh - ridge of the mountain]

08 Aug 16 - 12:03 PM (#3804180)
Subject: RE: Origins: Brid Og Ni Mhaille/Bridget O'Malley
From: GUEST,Philippa

Phil and John Cunningham were members of Silly Wizard. Perhaps they themselves made the singable translation with help from Irish speaker Micheál Ó Domhnaill? The Cunningham and O Domhnaill families did considerable music collaboration.

27 Jun 20 - 05:30 PM (#4061773)
Subject: RE: Origins: Brid Og Ni Mhaille/Bridget O'Malley
From: Felipa

Peter Kennedy and Seán O Baoill collected the song from Hudaí Ó Duibheanaigh in Rann na Feirste (aka Ranafast), Co Donegal in 1953. But Kennedy was not the first person to publish the lyrics. I'm looking for older sources and here is a score, with lyrics, from Carl Hardebeck. No publication date given; Hardebeck died in 1945.

Turlough O'Carolan composed a song to Brighid Ní Mhaille, but I haven't found out yet whether the tune and/or the words were the same as Bríd Óg Ní Mhaille. O'Carolan the harpist was a praise singer, so the lines about Bríd marrying someone else don't strike me as typical O'Carolan.

27 Jun 20 - 05:36 PM (#4061775)
Subject: RE: Origins: Brid Og Ni Mhaille/Bridget O'Malley
From: Felipa

I forgot to add the link for the Hardebeck score:

27 Jun 20 - 06:51 PM (#4061781)
Subject: RE: Origins: Brid Og Ni Mhaille/Bridget O'Malley


A collection of songs in Irish mainly from Donegal recorded by Peter Kennedy, Sean O Boyle & Noel Hamilton. All the songs are introduced & explained in English by Hudie Devaney, Conal O Donnell and Sheila Gallagher from Gweedore. These are the original recordings of songs #25-48 in FOLKSONGS OF BRITAIN AND IRELAND, edited by Peter Kennedy BRID OG NI MHAILLE - The Shamrock Feb 1872 - HARDEBECK 1939 Govnmt Publ Dublin #M-103 - KENNEDY FSBI 1975 #27 O Donnell - Tune used for THE BLACKBIRD OF AVONDALE -- Hudie DEVANEY rec by Peter Kennedy, Ranafast, Co Donegal 1953: BBC 19970 with talk bef/ SAYDISC CD SDL 411 1995 "Traditional Songs of Ireland" - Conal O'DONNELL rec by Peter Kennedy London 1962: FOLKTRAX 003 - O BOYLE Family: CEOLTA GAEL OSS-2 1971 - Mary O'HARA (voc/ harp): DECCA GES-1095 1973

Conal O'Donnell tells that a friend of his, Owen O'Donnell, happened to be a Gaelic teacher in County Mayo and took a fancy to this song, and brought it back to Donegal where it has become very popular. It is the oft-repeated story of the young man who has lost his love to another. He bemoans her marriage, and laments his own forthcoming one. This girl left him in his pain. 1 would say that he took it very bad when he didn't succeed in getting her. He tells about the change that took place in himself - CONAL O'DONNELL.

There's one verse in this song where he says: 'There is nothing more beautiful than the moon over the sea or the white blossom, and my love is like that with her golden tresses and her honey-mouth that has never deceived anybody' - HUDIE DEVANEY.

NOTE: Meenawanne = Min a'Bainne. 'Min' means a piece of flat ground on the mountainside that was good for grazing milk-cows. 'Chib' in Verse 3, line 4, is the sour grass which grows on the mountains. The old people could tell from the teeth of the cattle when they had been grazing on it for too long.

[my note: O Malley is a Mayo surname, but the placenames in the song indicate a connection with southeast Ulster]

08 Jan 21 - 05:21 AM (#4087015)
Subject: RE: Origins: Brid Og Ni Mhaille/Bridget O'Malley
From: GUEST,Rory

Here are the lyrics of the Carl G. Hardebec score Felipa posted above.

Hardebec published some music scores in 1902, it is not clear if this score was one of them. I suspect a later date, between 1902 and 1945.
An inscription at the bottom left of the first page is: E/2/39 , could this be Feb 1939?

Brigid Óg Ní Mháille

Score by Carl G. Hardebec (1869-1945)

A Brígid Óg Ní Mháille 's tú d' fág mo croide cráidte
'S gur fág tú arraing an báis gabáil trí ceartlár mo cleíb
Tá na mílte fear i ngrád led' éadan ciúin náireac
'S go dtug tú bárr breagta ó Tír Urrad má 's fíor

Níl níd ar bit is áilne 'n á an gealac ós cionn 'a tsáile
'S'ná blát bán na n-áirne Bíos ag fás ar an droigeann
Siúd mar bíos mo grádsa le triollsa is le breagtact;
béilín meala na páirce nac dtearn ariam gníom

Is tuirseac 's is brónac a caitim se Dómnac,
Mo hata i mo dorn is mé ag osnaigeal go trom.
'S mé ag amarc ar na bóitrib a mbionn mo grád ag gabáil ann.
Anois ag fear eile pósta 'S gan i a beit liom.

O 's nac mise ata tíos leis an bpósad sin beit déanta.
Nac gcodluigim 'san oidce ac ag osnaigeal go trom
Ó nár fága mé an saogal so go raib mé 's mo stóirín le céile go haoibinn agus í i ngrád liom.

Is buacaill deas óg mé atá ag triall cun mo pósta.
'S ní buan i bfad beó mé mura bfáigim mo mian
A taisce is a stóirín déan réid is bí rómamsa
Ceann deir'neac den Dómnac ar bóitrib Sliab Buide.


08 Jan 21 - 05:27 AM (#4087016)
Subject: RE: Origins: Brid Og Ni Mhaille/Bridget O'Malley
From: GUEST,Rory

Brigid Óg Ní Mháille
(Young Bridget O'Malley)

Song composed by
Turlough O'Carolan (Toirdhealbhach Ó Cearbhalláin) (1670–1738)
A blind Celtic harper, composer and singer

At the instance of James Hardiman (1782-1855), author of the History of Galway, the poet James Furlong (1794-1827) undertook to produce metrical versions in English of the compositions of Turlough O'Carolan and other native Irish poets. While engaged on this work Furlong died in Dublin on 25 July 1827.
Hardiman contributed 42 translations, most in Volume I of his publication Irish minstrelsy in 1831.

Irish minstrelsy, or, Bardic remains of Ireland; with English poetical translations,
by James Hardiman (1782-1855) ed, vol 1, 1831, pp.74-77
Poetic translations of Carolan by Thomas Furlong.

"Brighítt n-ic uí Mháile"

Cearbhallán ró chan

A Bhrighítt n-ic uí Mháile, is tú d' fáig mo chróidhe cráidhte,
Ta arraingeadha báis tré cheart-lár chróidhe,
Táid na mílte fear a ngrádh le na h-éadain chiúin, náireach,
'S go d-tug sí bárr breághdhachta air thír-Eirill, má's fíor.

Maidin chiúin, cheódhmhar, d' ár éirgheas 's an bh-fóghmhar,
Ciá cásfaídhe ann 'sa ród orm, acht stór geal mo chuím,
'N uair dhearc me air a clódh geal, do sgárdas fuil t-sróna,
A 's fuair mé trí póga d' fóir air mo shaoígheal.

Ní'l read air bith is áilne, ná grian ós cionn gáirdin,
'S na rósa bréaghdha d' fásas amach as an g-craoíbh:
Mar súd bhídheas mo ghrádh-sa, le deise 's le bréaghacht,
A chúil thiuigh na bh-fáinneadha, bh-fuil mo ghean ort le blíadhain.

Buachaill deas óg me, ta triall chum mo phósta,
Ní buan a bh-fad beód me, muna bh-fagh mé mo mhiann:
A chuisle a 's a stórach! fagh réidh agur bídh rómhamsa,
Go déigheanach dia dómhnaich air bhóithribh Ráthliamh.

Is me si tá shíos, leis an b pósaso dhéanadh;
Ní chodlaim an oídhche acht ag osnaíghioll go trom;
Ná'r fhágbhaidh me an saéghal-so, go m-béidhead a'r tú, chéad shearc,
Air leaba chlúimh éanlaith a'r mo lámh faoí do cheann.

"Bridget O'Malley"
Poetic translation
By Thomas Furlong

Dear maid, thou hast left me in anguish to smart,
And pangs, worse than death, pierce my love-stricken heart;
Thou flower of Tirerell, still, still, must I pine.
Oh ! where my O'Malley blooms beauty like thine.

On a mild dewy morn in the autumn I rov'd,
I stray'd o'er the pathway where stray'd my belov'd.
Oh ! why should I dwell on the bliss that is past?
But the kiss I had there, I must prize to the last.

The sunbeams are beauteous when on flower beds they play.
And sweet seem young roses as they bloom on the spray;
The white-bosom'd lilies thrice lovely we call.
But my true love is brighter, far brighter than all

I'm young, and a bridegroom soon destin'd to be.
But short is my course, love ! if bless'd not with thee:
On Sunday, at dusk, by Rath-leave shall I stray,
May I meet thee, my sweetest, by chance on the way.

In gloom, and in sorrow, my days must go by,
At night on my pillow in anguish I sigh;
Hope springs not — peace comes not — sleep flees from me there —
Oh ! when comes my lov'd one, that pillow to share.


08 Jan 21 - 07:52 AM (#4087039)
Subject: RE: Origins: Brid Og Ni Mhaille/Bridget O'Malley
From: Felipa

I just read a bit about Carl Hardebeck. He was raised in England, with a German father and Welsh mother, but worked in Belfast as an adult and learned Irish.

some excerpts from History Ireland magazine.

1) When Carl was nineteen and still at school his father invested what at the time was a small fortune to provide for his future security; at the same time advising his blind son to make himself independent by developing his talents. Before he was twenty-three he had won diplomas as organist and pianist, still a pupil of Frederick Corder. Though also fully qualified as a teacher of music he doubted he could earn his living as a tutor. Deciding to use some of his investments to open a music store, he left London for Belfast. With a partner to run the business side of the enterprise he established himself in the northern capital. The venture failed when the money allowed by his trustees ran out, and his partner disappeared.

‘Professor of Music’

The disillusioned young man decided to remain in Belfast. Now twenty-seven, he reluctantly erected a brass plate at his residence in Limestone road: ‘Carl Gilbert von Hardebeck, Professor of Music’. He was invited to take on the job of organist and choirmaster in the church of the Holy Family, then a poor corrugated iron chapel in Newington Avenue. He later moved to St Peter’s pro-cathedral on the Falls Road where his devoted choirboys called him ‘Tantum Ergo’. For his part, demonstrating a sense of humour that stood him in good stead in his difficult life, he poked fun at the ‘holy growlers’ in the men’s confraternity, and the ‘chronic drouths’ of the Total Abstinence Society.

2) Learnt Irish

The collections of the pioneers, and the poetry of Ferguson, James Clarence Mangan and Standish O’Grady, and the Gaelic scholar, Dr George Sigerson who had recently published his anthology, Bards of the Gael and the Gall provided a rich resource for the study of the inheritance of Irish traditional music. With the same enthusiasm Hardebeck recruited Sean Ó Catháin and Tadhg Mac a’Bhaird, native speakers, to teach him Irish; accepting the task from the conviction that without some knowledge of the language the musician would not understand the principles of Gaelic poetry, ‘essential to the proper appreciation of the music to be noted’. Never having acquired fluency in speech, he mastered the phonetic principles and understood its poetry. The realisation that here was a culture of great antiquity excited him: ‘The Irish tonalities did not originate in the Greek or Latin…the Gaelic language and poetry are at least as old as Latin or Greek’.

is admiration for the Irish speaking ‘peasant of Donegal, Cork or Mayo’ knew no bounds; the humble cottier had ‘a far higher sense of true poetry than even the average university graduate’ and a ‘more natural refinement than three-quarters of the aristocracy’. ‘Their poems voiced the feelings of the people and their history’, he wrote in the preface to Part II of Gems of Melody: A Collection of Old Irish Melodies. ‘The melodies are so beautiful, that they alone—if every other proof were wanting—show that the people who produced them must have been a highly artistic, cultured and civilised nation.’
At the Feis Cheoil in 1900 he placed himself among the traditionalists with his cantata, The Red Hand of Ulster. His conversion to an Irish idiom was confirmed at a Gaelic League concert in the Ulster Hall on St Patrick’s Day when he heard Mairtín O’Conlon, from County Clare, perform unaccompanied songs in the singer’s native Irish. ‘I was so enchanted by the flow, the rhythm, the rise and fall of melody and, above all, the simplicity and character of this music that I decided to leave all and follow it.’

Braille board and stylus

In the Donegal Gaeltacht he visited the cottage homes of Cloughanelly, Glencolumcille, Gweedore and the Rosses, collecting songs; he ‘gathered them eagerly and studied them minutely’. O’Boyle recorded a graphic description of the pioneer song collector at work, before the invention of the Dictaphone. The ‘Fear Mór Dall’ coming in on the arm of his guide, stooping low through the small door, with a Gaelic salutation on his lips. Sitting in the chimney corner, he took out his Braille board, frame and stylus, and called on the ‘singer of the household’.
In Hardebeck’s own words, taking down a traditional air was no easy task, especially from a singer when asked to repeat a phrase, had to go back to the beginning of the music and the poetry. ‘This means you have to take him up when he comes round to the phrase you want. You have to write as fast as you can to keep up with even the slowest singing pace…If you can write the words below the notes, so much the better…Without the words you have only lost time, taking down a skeleton of the tune.’
He brought to his life’s work the insights of his training and experience in the accompaniment of plain chant, and discovered that Irish melodies were composed in the same modes. ‘I found that the study of plainsong which I pursued with my friend Arthur de Meulemeester…was the greatest help to me in learning to understand the scale and principle of modal music.’

08 Jan 21 - 08:10 AM (#4087042)
Subject: RE: Origins: Brid Og Ni Mhaille/Bridget O'Malley
From: Thompson

Where's Drumsleve?

08 Jan 21 - 08:16 AM (#4087044)
Subject: RE: Origins: Brid Og Ni Mhaille/Bridget O'Malley
From: Felipa

I've asked for an edit re the blue clicky in the above post about musician and collector Carl Hardebeck. If there is no longer a surfeit of purple prose, it has been done.

As the transcripts from Rory are not in modern spelling, and as I don't have the original source documents; I don't know if any corrections are needed. I do note the absence of the "h" to denote lenition; this would have appeared in old print not as an "h" but as a dot about the previous letter (the consonant which was lenited or aspirated). So for instance
Níl níd ar bit is áilne 'n á an gealac ós cionn 'a tsáile
would be Níl nidh ar bith is áille 'n á an ghealach ós cionn a' tsáile.
"nidh" would now be spelled ní and the accent mark over the "i" replaces the "dh". In this case it means "a thing" rather than indicating a negative.

In the last verse in the transcription from Hardiman, I think "b pósaso" must be wrong. I suggest "b-posadh á". We would not have a hyphen between the letter b and the root word "pósadh" nowadays.

08 Jan 21 - 10:15 AM (#4087054)
Subject: RE Drumslieve
From: Felipa

Thompson, The only Drumslieve I can find listed on internet is near Fintown Co Donegal

no Droim Sliabh listed at Drumcliffe Co Sligo is Droim Chliabh in Irish. Drom Cliabh in Co Tipperary. Droim na Craoibhe in Co Monaghan There is a Sliabh Dhroim na Luifearnaí in Co Donegal.
The name could be an error or it could be a placename that has been forgotten, or at least is unofficial. County Mayo perhaps?
I don't find a Ráth Liabh (Hardiman) either; there is a Ráth Liag in Co Laois. As for Sliabh Buidhe (Hardebeck), there is at least one Sliabh Buí (modern spelling of buidhe, Slievebwee - yellow mountain), in Co Kerry.

08 Jan 21 - 10:19 AM (#4087055)
Subject: RE: Origins: Brid Og Ni Mhaille/Bridget O'Malley
From: Felipa

for those who don't know, Tír Oiriall/Oirghiall or Oriel is an area around counties Armagh and Monaghan

08 Jan 21 - 10:29 AM (#4087057)
Subject: RE: Origins: Brid Og Ni Mhaille/Bridget O'Malley
From: GUEST,Modette

Drumslieve is not near Fintown in Co. Donegal but to the southeast of Feeny on the road to Draperstown, Co. Derry.

Drumslieve, Co. Derry

08 Jan 21 - 01:05 PM (#4087078)
Subject: RE: Origins: Brid Og Ni Mhaille/Bridget O'Malley
From: Felipa

aye I actually meant Fincairn Co Derry rather than Fintown Co Donegal! That was clear from my link. But whether or not that's the place the best known version of Bríd Óg Ní Mhaille meant to refer to, I don't know.