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carraig aonair

03 Aug 03 - 06:07 PM (#996083)
Subject: carraig aonair
From: GUEST,Elizabeth

I am looking for information about the song "carraig aonair". The lyrics can be found here:


03 Aug 03 - 08:14 PM (#996143)
Subject: RE: carraig aonair
From: Brían

The song is a lament written by Conchbhar O laoghaire for his three sons, Finin, Cormac and Donal and the husband of his daughter who drowned together close to Fastnet Rock. It seems Conchubhar was married twice and he recieved neither pity nor support from either wife.

The things you learn from listening to folk music.

I got this from the liner notes of Bruch na Carraige Baine by the late Diarmuid O Suilleabhain. It also appears to go by the title LUAN DUBH AN AIR.


03 Aug 03 - 09:51 PM (#996177)
Subject: Lyrics Add: carraig aonair
From: Brían


Ó! Luan dubh an áir tháinig suaineas ró-breá,
Do ghluaisíais uaim-se leath-uairín roim lá
Ag iasgach ar bhád i gciantaibh d'úr mbá,
D'fhonn iarsma na bliana 's 'n-úr ndiaidh go bhfaghad bás.

'Sé Domhnall mo mhaoin an té b'óige dem chloinn,
'Gus coicíos ón lá san 'sea tháini' sé i dtír,
Gan tapa, gan bhrí, gan anam 'n-a chroí,
Ach a ghéaga boga geala 's iad leata ar a' dtuinn.

'Sé Tomás mo stór, b'é rí na bhfear óg,
Bhí modhamhail maiseach múinte, géar-chumtha go leor,
'S gur sgríg sé ar a' gcóir leis an mbúcla bhí ar a bróig
Gurab í Carraig Aonair a chéile go deó.

Is tá duine eile 'em chloinn nár thráchtas air puinn,
Cormac, mo chogarach, ceann cothuithe mo thighe,
Thugadh an fia leis ón gcoill is an bradán ón linn,
Feadóga dubha an tsléi 'ge 's gan bhréig cearca fraoigh.

'Sí an Nodlaig seo chúinn an Nodlaig gan fonn
Dom cheathrar breá brolla'-gheal fé shruthaibh na dtonn.
Dá dtigidís chúm tá go doimhin ins a ' tsrúill,
Is breá dhéanfainn iad do chaoine is do shíne i n-Acadh Dúin.

'Sé mo chreach is mo dhíth mar leigeas iad ar luing
I gcomhar le Saoi Séamus mar a dtéadh na Wild Geese:
Bheadh mo shúil-se le Críost le n-a gcumann arís,
Is nárbh i Carraig ba chéile dhom chloinn.

Mo chreach is mo chás ná deachúir don Spáinn,
Nó i gcongnamh leis an bhFranncach 'déanamh aimhlis bhur námhad,
Ó chonnac an lá a ndeachúir bhur mbá,
Gan coinne len bhur gcongnamh ná tnúthh go bhfaghainn bás.

A 'nighean ó mo chroí, ná goil-se 's ná caoi,
Mar gheó tú togha nóchair dhéanfaidh romhar dhuit is crích.
Ní bhfaghad-sa mo bhuíon ná mo thriúr d'fhearaibh ghrinn,
Ná mo cheathrar breá múinte de lúbairibh groí.

A chlann ó mo chroí ,nó an trua libh mar a bhím,
Bhur n-athair bocht in' aonar a'géar-ghol's a caoi
'N-a chuaile trom chríon i gcúil uaigneach a'tighe,
Is an bhean atá i n-áit bhúr máthar ní cás le mar bhím.

Ar mo ghlúinibh nuair théim isteach chun tighe Dé,
Is féachaim ar an gcúinne a mbíodh mo thriúr ann a' léamh,
Tagann greim in mo thaobh ná leigheasfar lem ré,
Nuair chím Carraig Aonair, ó pléasgann mo chroí.
Thar n'ais dhom arís go mullach mo thighe,
'Gus is í Carraig Aonair is céile dom chloinn.

(these are from the link above. There might be another song crossed over into it.)


04 Aug 03 - 05:28 PM (#996673)
Subject: RE: carraig aonair
From: GUEST,Elizabeth

Thank you Brian! Do you know when it was written?


04 Aug 03 - 11:11 PM (#996829)
Subject: RE: carraig aonair
From: Brían

I don't know exactly, but it was collected by Martin Freeman whose work seems to have been published in the 1920's. I have found some references to him on this forum. Diarmuid O Suilleabhain's version is quite nice. The air is quite haunting. I notice the spelling in the version from the link you've provided appears to be old. It might be from Freeman's publication. Do you know anything about the song?


05 Aug 03 - 04:44 PM (#997387)
Subject: RE: carraig aonair
From: GUEST,Elizabeth

No, sorry, I have no information. I only heard a recording of the song, and thought the air was haunting. (It might be Diarmuid O Suilleabhain I heard, as the tape was given to a friend of mine from his sister.)

Thank you again Brian!


10 Sep 14 - 01:41 AM (#3658908)
Subject: RE: carraig aonair
From: GUEST,Peach

I have found this version in Youtube, the description has the lyrics in both Irish and English

10 Sep 14 - 09:53 AM (#3659014)
Subject: RE: carraig aonair
From: GUEST,leeneia

You can find the music notation and abc for this at this site:

I'm not sure if this tune is the same as on the video, but it's a good tune nonetheless. I'm going to add it to my flute music collection.

The page has it in the key of E, but don't be fazed. It is in the key of G. A drone of sustained E notes and G notes works well with it.

11 Sep 14 - 04:12 AM (#3659232)
Subject: RE: carraig aonair
From: Jim Carroll

This fro Donal O'Sullivan's Songs of the Irish
Jim Carroll


On that Monday of woe far away you did row,
Calm and peaceful the sea was an hour ere dawn's glow.
Ah! you little did know that cold death hovered low—
That sad day still haunts me wherever I go.

Young Donal, ah! he was the babe of the three,
Two weeks from their sailing he came back to me;
With the wind on the lee and the waves running free,
A pale lifeless corpse he returned from the sea.

And Thomas, he too has left me to rue,
So handsome, so sturdy, a man through and through.
With the hasp of his shoe he wrote out the clue,
That the Lone Rock had claimed him her lover to woo.

Lastly Cormac, my pet, I've not mentioned him yet,
A comelier huntsman no man ever met.
The best salmon he'd net, the best woodcock he'd get,
In the pools, on the hills, in fair weather and wet.

This coming Yule-tide all joy is denied
To my white-breasted boys that lie under the tide.
Were they with me who died,
I would keen them with pride,
And in Aghadown I'd lay them in the grave, side by side.

My grey hairs would have ease had I granted their pleas
To take ship with Sir James and to join the Wild Geese.
But there's now no release from this grief without cease,
And the Lone Rock for ever is wedded to these.

I recall you were fain to cross over to Spain,
In the ranks of King Louis our freedom to gain,
But my woe and my bane! you lie deep in the main,
Your drowned faces deny me all surcease of pain.

My poor daughter! don't weep! If he's lost on the deep,
You may still wed another who will sow for you and reap.
For me—lonely I creep, and my vigil I keep,
My strong-armed young stalwarts come between me and sleep.

My dead sons! do you know the depth of my woe,
As withered and gaunt through the household I go ?
Sad and sadder I grow as I pace to and fro,
While your step-mother cares not what's grieving me so.

When to God's house I steal my frenzy to heal,
And my eyes meet the spot where my boys used to kneel,
Like salmon in creel I shiver and reel,
Great God! must I suffer the torment I feel?

When I climb the hill side and the sea opens wide,
And I view the Lone Rock, ' tis as if I had died.
Back at home as I bide my tears flow like a tide,
And the Lone Rock eternal remains my sons' bride.

Narrative translaton
On that fatal Monday there came a deceptive calm, And you went from me a short half-hour before daybreak, To go fishing in a boat and to be drowned far away, To get a New Year's gift [of fish], and I shall die after your loss.

Donal, my beloved, was the youngest of my children, And it was a fortnight from that day that he came ashore, Without strength or vigour, without life in his heart, But with his soft white limbs spread on the waves.

Thomas was my treasure, the flower of young men, Mannerly and handsome he was, well-bred, beautifully built. With the buckle of his shoe he wrote on the rudder That the Lone Rock would be his spouse for ever.

And there is another of my children I have not mentioned yet, Cormac, my darling, the prop of my household. He would bring the deer from the wood, and the salmon from the pool, Black mountain plover and grouse as well.

This coming Christmas will be a joyless Christmas For my four, fair, white-breasted ones under the tide. Could they but return to me who are deep in the sea, Well would I keen them and lay them in Aghadown !

Ah ! woe is me that I did not let them go aboard ship Along with Sir James in the wake of the Wild Geese ! Then I should have hoped in Christ for their society again, And that the Lone Rock would not be my children's spouse.

'Tis a thousand pities you did not go to Spain, Or to help the French and to spoil your foes, Since I have seen the day when you went away to be drowned, And I cannot look for your help, or hope to die.

My beloved daughter, do not weep, do not grieve, For you will get a choice husband who will dig for you and maintain you. I shall not get my company, nor my three joyous lads, Nor my fine, well-bred quartet of strong stalwarts.
My darling children, do you not pity me, Your poor lonely father weeping and crying? A heavy, withered, gaunt man in a lonely corner of the house, While the woman who has your mother's place is untouched by my suffering.

When I enter the house of God and kneel down, And look at the corner where my three sons used to read [their prayers], There comes into my breast a pain that will never be cured. Great God! am I not to be pitied in my helpless torment ?

When I climb on the ditch and look downwards, When I see the Lone Rock my heart bursts.
Back I go again to the top of my house, And it is the Lone Rock that is my children's spouse.

This poignant lament was composed by a native of south-west Cork for his three sons and a son-in-law, drowned at sea. They went fishing a few days before Christmas and were wrecked on Carraig Aonair ("The Lone Rock"). This rock is situated four and a half miles south-west of Cape Clear, the most southerly point of Ireland. The Fastnet Lighthouse, first built on the rock in i 853, is a familiar object to voyagers to and from the United States. The four young men managed to scramble to temporary safety, and before being overcome by the rising tide one of the sons scratched a last message on the rudder of the wrecked boat with the buckle of his shoe, to tell what their fate had been. The son-in-law is not mentioned by name, but he is alluded to in verse 8. Aghadown, where the father wished his boys to be buried, is on the mainland, opposite Clear Island.
As is well known, "The Wild Geese" was the name given to those Irish soldiers who left Ireland after the Capitulation of Limerick in 1691 and took service in the armies of the Continent. If the victims of the tragedy had been in a position to join them, as the poem suggests, it must have been composed not long after their departure; and for this reason it is the more noteworthy that the name "Wild Geese" is given in English. "Na Geadhna Fiadhaine", which is the Irish equivalent, is frequently seen since the Irish language revival movement began in modern times; but there is no evidence that the Wild Geese were so called by their contemporaries.
The Sir James mentioned in the sixth verse may be Sir James FitzEdmund Cotter, of Baile na Speire (Anngrove), near Carrigtuohill, County Cork. Sir James was a distin¬guished adherent of the Stuarts and slew the regicide John Lisle at Lausanne in 1664. King James appointed him Governor of the City of Cork "and the Great Island near it" (Cove) in February, 1690; and during the wars of 1690—1691 he commanded for the King in Munster until the Capitulation.
The name of the author of the lament is remembered traditionally in Clear Island as Conchubhar O Laoghaire (Conor O'Leary). It is worthy to be chronicled here as that of a true poet. On the other hand, Crofton Croker took down a version of which he published a translation (but not, unfortunately, the original) in his Researches in the South of Ireland (1 824), p. 175; and he there gives the name as O'Donoghue.

07 Jun 16 - 01:15 PM (#3794272)
Subject: RE: carraig aonair
From: GUEST,Mollie Lovett

I have seen the version posted by Jim Carroll a few times but it isn't the original as far as I know. Here are the lyrics I learnt (if my memory serves me correctly.) It has more modern spelling which doesn't reflect pronunciation in all cases. Letters and the word "do" before verbs is dropped in line with either usage, spelling reforms or both.


Ó! Luan dubh an áir tháinig suaineas ró-breá,
Do ghluaiseadar uaim-se leath-uairín roim lá
Ag iascach i mbád i gcontúirt a mbá,
Is tá iarsma na blian' úd i bhur ndiaidh go bhfaighead bás.

'Sé Cormac mo mhaoin an té b'óige dem chlainn,
'Gus coicíos ón lá san 'sea tháinig sé i dtír,
Gan tapa, gan bhrí, gan anam 'na chroí,
Ach a ghéaga boga geala 's iad leata ar a' dtoinn.

'Sé Domhnall mo stór, b'é rogha na bhfear n-óg,
Bhí módhúil, maiseach múinte, géar-chumtha go leor,
'S do scríobh sé ar a' gcóir leis an mbúcla bhí 'na bhróig
Gurb í Carraig Aonair a chéile go deó.

Tá duine eile dem chlainn nár thráchtas air puinn,
'Sé Finín, mo chóngarach, ceann cothaithe an tí.
Thugadh an fia leis ón gcoill is an bradán ón linn,
Fiadóga dubha an tsléi 'ge 's gan bhréig cearca fraoigh.

'Sí an Nollaig seo chugainn an Nollaig gan fonn
Dom cheathrar breá brolla'-gheal fé shruthaibh na dtonn.
Dá dtiocfaidís chugam, tá go doimhin ins a 'tsrúill,
Is breá dhéanfainn iad a chaoineadh is a shíneadh i n-Acadh Dúin.

A iníon, ó, mo chroí, ná goil-se 's ná caoin,
Mar gheobhaidh tú togha nóchair a dhéanfaidh romhar dhuit is crích.
Ní bhfaghad-sa mo bhuíon ná mo thriúr d'fhearaibh ghrinn,
Ná mo cheathrar breá múinte de lúbairibh groí.

Nuir a fhéachaim uaim síos, tagann greim i mo thaobh,
Nuair chím Carraig Aonair, ó pléascann mo chroí.
Thar n-ais dom arís go mullach mo thighe,
'Sí Carraig Aonair is céile dom chloinn.