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Lyr Req: Inisheer

23 Sep 02 - 02:55 PM (#789754)
Subject: Inisheer
From: Eire-IN

Hello, I was at a festival this past week-end and while listening to the tune 'Inisheer' played by 'Kennedy's Kitchen', an Irish whistle maker asked me if I knew the words to the tune and proceeded to recite a few lines. After much research, I have come up with no poem or words to 'Inisheer' Can anybody shed some Light??? Much obliged

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23 Sep 02 - 05:21 PM (#789831)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: George Seto -

Not familiar with the tune. Do you have a MIDI file to let us hear it?

23 Sep 02 - 05:36 PM (#789840)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: Deskjet

It's a relatively new tune,and not a song; of course someone, somewhere, could have added some lyrics lately!

23 Sep 02 - 07:05 PM (#789874)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: GUEST,iains

As far as I know this tune is credited to Thomas P. Walsh. I don't believe lyrics were written for it, but may have been added by someone else at a later date.

23 Sep 02 - 07:11 PM (#789877)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: GUEST,iains the link above may give a further avenue to follow.

23 Sep 02 - 07:30 PM (#789889)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: GUEST,Brían


I first heard it at fiddle workshop with a Kevin McElroy. He says it's very popular. He didn't mention any words to it, although there could be some.


23 Sep 02 - 07:34 PM (#789892)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: George Seto -

PRetty tune, but unfortunately I don't recognize it.

23 Sep 02 - 07:48 PM (#789904)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: Alice

Inis Oir (Inisheer) is a popular slow tune played alot at sessions here in Montana in the last couple of years. As others have posted, it is by Thomas Walsh, and as far as I know there are no lyrics. Maybe someone has set a poem to it, but I'm pretty sure Thomas Walsh wrote it without adding lyrics.

24 Sep 02 - 01:02 PM (#790396)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: Declan

Thomas Walsh, who is from Dublin, wrote this tune which was poularised I think firstly by Buttons & Bows (Seamus & Manus Maguire on Fiddles, Jackie Daly on Accordeon and Gary O Briain on strings (Mandocello mostly)). If there are lyrics they are new and they are not widely known.

There is a song called Inisheer which is in Gaelic although I think there's an English translation as well - but this is a totally different tune - I think the tune of this one is scottish or it sounds like it to me. So this might be the cause of a bit of confusion. I don't have the lyrics but I think it contains the line - An tOilean aileann Orga Inis siar - the beautiful golden island of Inisheer.

26 Sep 02 - 10:52 AM (#791750)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: Eire-IN

Thanks everyone! As it turns out. Everyone is correct, there are no words to this particular melody by Walsh. The whistle maker was mistaken. He was thinking of Yeats' 'Inisfree' Altho, if Declan can put me on the right path, I would enjoy researching the tune and song to which he referred. Eire

16 Nov 02 - 01:41 AM (#827631)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: Brían

I heard a recording of Lasairfhíona Ní Chonaola sing this melody with Irish words(about Inisheer, Of course). They were quite nice. I don't recall them. Maybe i could wrest them from the CD's owner.


18 Nov 02 - 05:02 AM (#828842)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: Declan

These are newly composed lyrics which she translated to Gaelic herself from a poem in English written by a woman called Carberry (Can't remember her first name). Was featured in recent RTE TV Program - details on the Lasairfhiona thread.

18 Nov 02 - 09:07 AM (#828893)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: MartinRyan

That's probably Ethna Carbery, who wrote, among other songs, Roddy McCorley. I saw part of the program but didn't catch the section on this song.


18 Nov 02 - 09:17 AM (#828897)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: MartinRyan

Ethna Carbery wrote a poem called "On Inisheer" - so the odds are that Lasairfhiona Ní Chonaola adapted those. Can't find the words of the original at the moment.


18 Nov 02 - 09:34 AM (#828912)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: Declan

By the way the song I referred to earlier in this thread was sung to a Scottish tune called the Road to the Isles. I have a feeling that the words to this Inis Oirr song are in a well known booklet of Gaelic songs call Abair Amhran, but I can't find my copy to check. Maybe someone else has a copy ?

In any case the one we're talking about now is (in my opinion) a much nicer tune/song.

18 Nov 02 - 03:11 PM (#829205)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: GUEST,Philippa

The song Lasairfhiona sings isn't in Abair Amhrán. And why would it be, if the words were only recently translated and set to music? (Abair Amhrán only contains lyrics in Irish Gaelic and was originally published in 1962, although it has been reprinted a number of times)Or if you are talking of an older song going to the tune of The Road to the Isles, do you know the title of it? I can't recall anything of that nature in in Abair Amhrán ... though I'm reminded of another song to a Scottish tune: Trasna na dtonnta, dul/gabhail siar, dul siar ...(Westering Home) and though I think that's in Abair Amhrán I can't find it now!

19 Nov 02 - 06:10 AM (#829662)
From: Declan


Sorry if I sent you on a wild goose chase. I found Abair amhran and the song wasn't in it, but it was in another song book called Amhrán-leabhar Ógra Éireann which I bought in school when I was 10. The song is listed as a translation (to Gaelic) by Diarmuid Ó hAllmhain. Looks like he also transposed it (geographically rather than musically) to the west of Ireland from the isles of Scotland (unless there's an equivalent text in English, which I've never come accross).
Here it is :

Air: The Road to the Isles

Tá an mhuar-fharraige 'om gairm féin aniar,
'S mé ag imeacht romham im fhánaí tríd an sliabh;
Gura buan a mhairfidh mé go bhfaice mé mo mhian –
An t-oileán órga áileann Inis Thiar

Chorus :

O ! trí aiteann is trí saithnigh is trí fraoch atá mo thriall,
Thar carraig is thar portach is thar riasc,
Is má cheapann tú gur amaid mé nó streare bocht gan chiall –
Níor airís géim na mara fós aniar;
Gura buan a mhairfidh mé go bhfaice mé mo mhian –
An t-oileán órga áileann Inis Thiar

Bím ag síor-thaiasteal liom gan sealadh sos ná scith,
Trí dutha ghlé an tSeoigh ag imeacht siar,
Trí crích í Fhleatheartaigh ag tarrain ar na dTonn
Go srise mé fá dheoidh Inis Thiar

Translated by Diarmuid Ó hAllmhain

An approximate translation to English (by me)

The roar of the sea is calling me westwards
As I travel as a wandrer through the mountains
May I live long enough until I gain my desire
The beautifull golden isle of Inisheer

Oh! I make my trail through gorse and through ? and through heather
Over rocks and over bogs and over ridges,
And if you think I'm foolish or a poor senseless rover,
I still haven't heard the leaping of the western sea
May I live long enough until I gain my desire
The beautifull golden isle of Inisheer

I'm always travelling without pause or break or rest,
Going west through the beautiful Joyce country,
Through the territory of the Flaherty's I'm drawn towards the waves,
Until I finally reach Inisheer.

19 Nov 02 - 06:14 AM (#829663)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer

thanks Declan -- and I had that book also!

19 Nov 02 - 09:56 AM (#829822)
Subject: Lyr Add: ON INISHEER (Ethna Carbery)
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan

Here's the words of Ethna Carbery's (not her real name)poem "On Inisheer":

         On Inisheer, on Inisheer,
         In the Spring-tide of the year,
You sought me, in your eyes love's rapture burning;
         And for the words you said,
         Above my drooping head,
My heart flew to you on the wings of yearning.
         On Inisheer, on Inisheer,
         I had never known a fear,
Nor a sorrow, nor a sigh to mar my laughter;
         Until that saddest day,
         When my true love sailed away,
And the sun grew dim, and darkness followed after.
         Why did you go, oh love,
         Ere the primrose peeped above
The scanty grass bleached with the wind salt-bitter?
         Here, by a cabin fire,
         Each with our heart's desire,
Had not the peace of home for us been fitter?
         Than you to pine afar
         Under the Southern Star,
And I to pine by Keevin's ruined altar,
         Watching the cliffs of Clare
         Fade in the evening air,
Telling my beads for you in tones that falter; [Page 95] 
         Or by the holy well,
         Where as the darkness fell,
And out of dark the tender dawn came flowing
         In seas of silver light,
         You prayed the livelong night
That Christ would bless and guard you in your going.
         Some day He keeps in store
         You will return, a-stor,
Your curragh down our foaming current speeding
         From the welcome of your clan,
         On the rocks of Inishmaan,
To heal my wound of longing, ever bleeding.
         On Inisheer; on Inisheer,
          Love, I shall wait you here,
My radiant web of dreams through grey hours weaving.
         Until, the red gold won,
         And all your wandering done,
You take me to your heart and end my grieving.

I found them HERE Not sure how I missed them first time round.


19 Nov 02 - 01:08 PM (#830002)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: Malcolm Douglas

The Fiddler's Companion has this to say about the tune now known as The Road to the Isles:

"The tune was composed originally under the title The Burning Sands of Egypt by John McClellan, D.C.M., a poet and painter from Dunoon, Scotland, who was Pipe-Major of the 8th Battalion, Argyl and Sutherland Highlanders during World War I. Later the tune was known as The Bens of Jura."

The title under which it is now usually known derives from a poem by Kenneth MacLeod (Marjorie Kennedy-Fraser's co-editor on Songs of the Hebrides), which was written at around the same time as the tune, and later set to it. Text and a midi are in the DT: ROAD TO THE ISLES.

The comment there, "Collected & translated by Kennedy-Fraser and MacLeod" is an error. Neither text nor tune is traditional, and there was no "Gaelic original". Diarmuid Ó hAllmhain's Irish text, posted above by Declan, does seem to be based on MacCleod's song, though of course much changed.

17 Apr 03 - 10:22 AM (#935413)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: GUEST,Grace

Does anybody know the music to Inisheer, ive been searching the web all day for it, i would be greatful if you could send them to or to this page, as my sister would love to have it played at her wedding.thanks a million.

17 Apr 03 - 10:31 AM (#935422)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: MMario

click for Inisheer

17 Nov 09 - 03:04 PM (#2767916)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: GUEST,gerry

Inis Thiar
Is trí aiteann is trí raithneach is trí fhraoch ata mo thriall
-1st line of chorus [Furze, fern, heather]

23 Dec 09 - 07:03 AM (#2794911)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: GUEST,James

I need some help, guys. I'm looking for a specific rendition of Inisheer, instrumental, and the only pertinent info I have is that it was on an album called "Celtic Reverie", released by Tapestry International. I've been looking for this particular version for some time and can't seem to locate an artist or get a hold of the original album.

Any help?

23 Dec 09 - 07:20 AM (#2794916)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: Mr Happy

Also known as The Eagle's Feather, Inis Oírr In Inis Oírr (Inishere On Inishere) "The Eagle's Feather" / "Inisheer" a composition by Thomas Walsh:

25 Dec 09 - 12:47 PM (#2796275)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: Jim Dixon

This must be the album you had in mind:

Celtic Reverie at

The label is Tapestries International.

The artists on the album are "Noel McLoughlin, Kieran Fahy and others"

1. The Minstrel's Lament, 2. Once I Loved, 3. Carickfergus, 4. Sliabh Na Mban, 5. Lea Rig/Kind Robin, 6. She Moved Through The Faire, 7. Cape Britten Sunrise, 8. Betty McNeil, 9. Siobhan Ni Dhuibhir, 10. Dark Lochnager, 11. Lullaby, 12. The Reason I Left Mullingar, 13. Dergeant Early's Dream, 14. Inisheer - Inis oirthuir.

It's also listed on, where it says the composer is Thomas Walsh and the performer is Sean Talamh, and the label is Arc Music (UK). (It is not uncommon for the same album to be released on different labels at different times or in different countries; and with different sleeve art and possibly a bonus track or two.)

12 May 14 - 10:36 AM (#3625450)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer

There is a version of "Inisheer" with Irish lyrics (retitled "Inis Oirr") on the composer Thomas Walsh's album 'The Plassey on the Rocks.' According to his online bio, he wrote some words in English and had them translated to Irish.

14 Jul 15 - 02:31 AM (#3723450)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: GUEST,Barbara

Beautiful tune into which these words from Scots Minstrelsie, Vol V attributed to William Train (circa 1840) fit perfectly.

The cauld cauld winter's gane luve
Sae bitter and sae snell
And spring has come again luve
Tae deck yon leesome dell
The buds burst frae the tree luve
The birds sing by the shaw
But sad sad's my dowie heart luve
For ye are far awa

I thocht the time wad flee luve
As in the days gane by
And I wad think on thee luve
And a' my patience try
But o' the weary hours luve
They winna flee ava
They hae brought me nocht but dule luve
Sin ye hae been awa

Wae's me it's sair tae bide luve
The dirdums ane may dree
But the feelings winna hide luve
Wi saut tears in the e'e
And yet the ills o' life luve
Compared wi' joys are sma'
Sae will it be when ye return luve
Nae mair tae gang awa

14 Jul 15 - 01:00 PM (#3723566)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: Steve Shaw

Have a look at the related thread simply entitled Inisheer. The mighty Thomas himself actually posted to it in 2010.

14 Jul 15 - 07:46 PM (#3723659)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: GUEST,Spailpin

I'm sure Eleanor Shanley has recorded a song with Innishear air to it ?

14 Jul 15 - 08:22 PM (#3723664)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: Jack Campin

Barbara's words only scan if you leave all the "luve"s out.

15 Jul 15 - 01:58 AM (#3723699)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Inisheer
From: GUEST,Barbara

"Barbara's words only scan if you leave all the "luve"s out."
Beg to differ Jack, sorry. Different phrasing maybe? If our paths ever cross I'll sing it for you - complete with "luves"