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Maid of the Moorlough Shore
(Roud 2946)
Martin Reidy
Tullaghaboy, Connolly
Recorded in singer’s home, October 1977

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Martin Reidy

You hills and dells and flowery vales that lies near the Moorlough shore;
You wind that blows on the Baltic shore, will I ever see you more?
Where the primrose grows and the violet blows, where the trout and the salmon plays;
With my line and hook, delight I took, with the friends of my youthful days.

As I roved out to see my love, to hear what she might say;
Or to see if she'd take pity on me, before I go away;
She said: “I loved an Irish lad and he was my only joy,
And ever since I saw his face I loved that soldier boy.”

“Perhaps your soldier boy is lost, while on the raging main;
Or perhaps he's gone with another maid; you may never see him again.”
“Oh, if my soldier boy is lost, he's the one I do adore;
Seven years I will wait for him on the banks of the Moorlough shore.”

Farewell to Sewell's Castle grand, farewell to College Hill.
Where the linnet wades the sparkling streams, and the falling Shann runs still.
'Twas there I spent my youthful days, but alas they are no more,
For cruelty has banished me, far away from the Moorlough shore.


"The title ‘Maid of the Moorlough Shore’ at first suggests the location as being Murlough Bay, north Antrim, but it has also been found as ‘Maid of Mourne Shore’ which places it further south. This might explain Martin's reference to the River Shann, as an outlet to Lough Shannagh flows through Silent Valley from the Mourne Mountains, emerging out to the sea at Kilkeel, South Down. Hugh Shields links it to this latter area with a local story of a miller's daughter betrothed to a fisherman, the marriage fixed to take place on the eve of Greencastle Fair. Her lover is drowned in a storm and the girl, finding the body, loses her mind and is herself drowned.
Ref: ‘Shamrock, Rose and Thistle’, Hugh Shields, Blackstaff Press, 1981.
Other recordings: Desmond Ward; Plumbridge, Co Tyrone, ‘Harvest Home No.1’; Arts Council of Northern Ireland; Robert Cinnamond, Record No. 24840, BBC Archive."

The above commentary, lyrics and recording are taken from ‘Around the Hills of Clare: Songs and Recitations from the Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie Collection’ (2004) Musical Traditions Records MTCD331-2/Góilín Records 005-6.

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