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Nora Daly
(Roud 8002)
Tom Lenihan
Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay
Recorded 1976

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Tom Lenihan

It was just near Miltown Malbay, not a thousand miles from Galway,
When I was young and merry, on the breezy hills of Clare.
That I met a cailín comely, who had winsome ways and homely,
And she driving in her donkey-cart, a-going to the fair.
It was bright and pleasant weather, and the blooming furze and heather,
Filled my soul with gladness in the mild and balmy air.
And my spirits felt far lighter, and my life seemed ten times brighter
After meeting that sweet cailín going to Miltown Malbay fair.

Now to tell the story truly, little Neddy grew unruly,
And gave the pretty mountain maid a very dreadful scare.
And her heart was in a flutter, as she feared her eggs and butter
On the roadway would be scattered e’er she ever reached the fair.
For the donkey young and airy, took some sudden wild figarie,
And steep and crooked was the road, of all protection bare.
As the cart was toppling over, her plight I did discover
And I saved that little cailín, going to Miltown Malbay fair.

Oh, her cheek was rosy blushes, and her voice was like the thrushes,
And rippling o’er her shoulder, was a mass of nut brown hair.
And her voice so sweet and tender, made me vow that I’d defend her
Against that rascal of a donkey, till she safely reached the fair.
Though to her I was a stranger, now that she was out of danger,
She gratefully invited me, the pleasure both to share.
And with cupid far outriding up, I gladly sat beside her
And we drove along right merrily, to Miltown Malbay Fair.

Well, I really felt enchanted, as along the road we jaunted,
And smitten with her beauty bright, my love I did declare.
But she archly said: “You’re joking, and your talk is most provoking,
But I haven’t time to listen, I must hurry to the fair.”
Said she: “I’m Nora Daly, from the parish of Kilmaley,
My father he’s a farmer, and the finest man in Clare.
If he saw you here beside me, I know that he would chide me.
So you’d better get down and walk a bit, before we’ll reach the fair.”

I reluctantly obeyed her, for I could not have gainsaid her,
As visions of her father with a fierce and angry glare.
Up before me quickly started, and from her I sadly parted,
But she took my heart along with her a-going to the fair.
At the Four Mile Stone I met her, and within my heart I set her,
And treasured her sweet memories in my wanderings everywhere.
And oft times in my 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.
And oft times in my dreaming, I could see her blue eyes beaming,
As they beamed upon me long ago a-going to the fair.


“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 Peggy McMahon
Nora Daly sung by Micho Russell

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