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Aililiú na Gamhna
Tom Flanagan
Recorded in O’Connor’s Bar, Doolin c.1975

Carroll Mackenzie Collection


Tráthnóinín déanach ‘s mé thíos cois na buaile,
Cé chasfaí aníos chugam ach smaois de dhuine uasal.
D’iarr se an bpósfainn é, d’iarr sé go cruaidh é,
Is d’fhág sin mo chroí is m’intinn go buartha.

‘S aililiú na gamhna, na gamhna bána,
‘S aililiú na gamhna, na gamhna b’iad a b’fhearr liom,
‘S aililiú na gamhna, na gamhna geala bána,
Na gamhna maidin shamhraidh ag damhsa ar na bánta.

‘S iníon d’aoire mé féinig gan amhras,
Do bhí mise im’cónaí cois taobh na Leamhna.
Bhí bothán agam féin ann is fuinneog i gceann de,
Fad a bhíodh an bainne ag téamh agam, sea ghlaofainn ar na gamhna.

Raghadsa ar an aonach ‘s ceannóim mo ghamhan ann,
Is cuirfidh mé ar féarach iad amach ins na gleannta,
Íosfaidh siad an féar ann is barr an aitinn ghallda,
Is tiocfaidh siad abhaile chun an bhainne i gcomhair an tsamhraidh.

Faightear dom canna is faightear dom buarach,
Is faightear dom soitheach ina gcuirfead mo chuid uachtar.
Ceolta binn na cruinne ‘bheith á síorchur i mo chluasa,
Is do b’fhearr liomsa géimneach ná bó ag teacht chun buaile.


“A young woman, dissatisfied with her marriage, wishes to be back minding the calves where she was happiest. The song is common throughout Munster and is also popular with choirs perhaps because of its relative simple but beautiful melody. A text version can be found in ‘Cuisle an Cheoil’, An Roinn Oideachais, 1976. A translation of a version of this song taken down in Tuam, Galway, in the early part of the 20th century, is given, with the following note, in ‘Amhráin Mhuighe Seóla: Traditional Folk Songs from Galway and Mayo’.

As I walked through this wood last Wednesday,
A young maiden met me in the waste-land,
Searching for the calves I was, such was my errand,
And one of them I would not find till morning.

A little quicken tree there is, at the end of this wood,
And we will be together till the day comes.
It's up we will be, with the bright peep of the morning,
And you will find the calves in the waste-land.

I give my malediction to the herds of this wood,
It was they that left me here a wandering.
My father and my mother sorrowful at home,
And I without a chance of coming to them.

So now, my darling, since you are going from me,
And that it is not you who are destined for me,
Here is a little kiss from the top of my fingers,
And five hundred farewells to my treasure.

I am a young maid born with a fortune,
But alas! I am not fated to enjoy it.
In this town, while yet young,
I was brought into disgrace,
And all through the son of O'Malley.

To have been hanged I would very much prefer,
Or to have been burned in a bone fire,
Than to give the satisfaction to any mother's son,
That I'd rear for one year his offspring.

My girl was put standing before the congregation,
And into her hand was put the Bible,
She had to undertake to make due reparation,
Else from the place she'd have been banished.

Oh, Shane O'Malley, come you home with me;
Oh, come to me and have no shyness;
And never again will you go across the sea,
When you see your own baby and its mother.

For a variant of this song see ‘Irish Popular Songs’ by Edward Walsh. Petrie has two airs of this name, taken down by him in Clare in 1864. It is said that this song has the same story as that of an Ulster one, ‘Na Gamhna Geala’; a woman who has married a rich man is unhappy and remembers the days when she herded the cattle. In some version the rich man is a ship's captain.”
Jim Carroll

Amhráin Mhuighe Seóla, collected and edited by Mrs Costello, Tuam, 1923.

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