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Matt Hyland
(Roud 2880)
Peggy McMahon
Cloonlaheen, Miltown Malbay

Recorded in singer’s home, October 2002
Carroll Mackenzie Collection


Once a lord lived in this town, he had a lovely handsome daughter.
And she was courted by a fair young man, who was a servant to her father.
And when her parents came to know, they swore they'd ban him from the island.
The maid she knew that her heart would break, had she to part with young Matt Hyland.

So straight away, to his room she goes, and ordered him for to awaken.
‘Arise my love and go away this very night you will be taken.
I overheard my parents say, in spite of me they would transport you.
So arise my love and go away, I wish to God I'd gone before you.’

They both sat down upon the bed, just for the sake of one half hour.
And not a word did either speak, as down their cheeks the tears did shower.
She laid her head upon his breast and round his neck her arms entwined them.
‘No lord nor duke, or earl I'll wed, I'll wait for you my own Matt Hyland.’

The lord discoursed his daughter dear, one night alone in her bed chamber.
‘I will give you leave to bring him back, since no-one else can win your favour.’
She wrote a letter in great haste, for him her heart was truly pining,
He soon came back, in the church they wed, and they made a lord of young Matt Hyland.


“A song which originated on the broadside presses; this was included in John Hume’s MS songbook (c.1845), now housed in the National Library of Ireland. The only other printed Irish version was in Robin Morton’s collection ‘Folk Songs Sung in Ulster’. It was traditionally sung in Northern Ireland in South West Ulster and became popular in Ireland in the late 1960s when Tommy McDermott from County Fermanagh sang it in a ballad competition in the year he won the All-Ireland championship. It was published in the United States in Horace Beck’s ‘Folklore of Maine’ (1957) and Newfoundland singer Carrie Grover’s (1878-1959) privately published collection of family songs ‘Heritage of Song’ (as ‘Matt Ilan’)."

Folk Songs Sung in Ulster, Robin Morton, Mercier Press, 1970.
Jim Carroll

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