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Nora Daly
(Roud 8002) 
Peggy McMahon
Cloonlaheen, Doolough

Recorded in singer's home, date unknown
Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

It was down near Miltown Malbay, not a thousand miles from Galway,
When I was young and merry, in the breezy hills of Clare.
I spied a cailín comely, with winsome ways and homely,
And she driving in her donkey-cart, a-going to the fair.

It was mild and pleasant weather, with the bloom of furze and feather.
Which filled my soul with gladness, on the mild and balmy air.
My spirit felt far lighter, and my life was ten times brighter,
Since I met that little cailín, a-going to the fair.

The donkey wild and airy, took a sudden wild figarie,
And steep and crooked was the road, of our protection bare.
The cart it toppled over, and her plight I did discover
And save my little cailín, a-going to the fair.

Oh, her cheeks grew rosy blushes, and her voice was like the thrushes,
And rippling o’er her shoulders, was a mass of nut-brown hair.
Her voice was sweet and tender, and I vowed I would defend her
From that rascal of a donkey, a-going to the fair.

Though to her I was a stranger, when she was out of danger,
She graciously invited me, the pleasure both to share.
With cupid far outride her, I gladly sat beside her
And we drove along quiet merrily, to Miltown Malbay Fair

Said she: “I’m Nora Daly from the parish of Kilmaley,
My father he’s a farmer, and the crossest man in Clare!
If he saw you here beside me I’m afraid that he would chide me.
So please, get down and walk a bit, before we reach the fair.”

I reluctantly obeyed her, for I couldn’t have gainsaid her,
With visions of her father with a fierce and angry glare.
Up before me quickly started, and I from her sadly parted,
But I treasured her sweet memories until I reached the fair.

At the Four Mile Stone I met her, and within my heart I set her.
I treasured her sweet memories in my wanderings everywhere.
Often in exile dreaming, I could see her blue eyes beaming,
As they beamed upon me long ago a-going to the fair.

After years abroad sojourning, and my love still brightly burning,
I sought for her and married her, and settled down in Clare.
Ofttimes I do remind her, of that day long left behind her,
When I met her in the donkey-cart, a-going to the fair.

Now, I’ve told my little story, though aged now, and hoary,
It makes me feel quite young again and puts to flight dull cares.
And along with what I’ve told you - one more secret I’ll unfold you:
That you never met such loving hearts as those in County Clare!


“Another poem turned into a song by Miltown Malbay schoolteacher, playwright, poet, and Gaelic scholar Tomás Ó hAodha (Thomas Hayes – 1866-1935). It was published, with his other composition, ‘Farewell to Miltown Malbay’, in his collection of poems, ‘The Hills of Clare’ (c 1922); both remain hugely popular with local singers.”
Jim Carroll

See also
Nora Daly sung by Tom Lenihan
Nora Daly sung by Micho Russell

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