Ar Éirinn ní nEosfainn cé hÍ


(FOR IRELAND I’D NOT TELL HER NAME)


Aréir is mé téarnamh um’ neoin

Ar an dtaobh thall den teora ‘na mbím,

Do théarnaig an spéir‑bhean im’ chomhair

D’fhág taomanach breoite lag sinn.

Do ghéilleas dá méin is dá cló,

Dá béal tanaí beo milis binn,

Do léimeas fé dhéin dul ‘na comhair,

Is ar Éirinn ní n‑eosfainn cé hí.


Last night as I strolled abroad

On the far side of my farm

I was approached by a comely maiden

Who left me distraught and weak.

I was captivated by her demeanour and shapeliness

By her sensitive and delicate mouth,

I hastened to approach her

But for Ireland I’d not tell her name.


Dá ngéilleadh an spéir‑bhean dom’ ghlór,

Siad ráite mo bheol a bheadh fíor;

Go deimhin duit go ndéanfainn a gnó

Do léirchur i gcóir is i gcrích.

Do léighfinn go léir stair dom' stór,

‘S ba mhéin liom í thógaint dom chroí,

‘S do bhéarfainn an chraobh di ina dóid,

Is ar Éirinn ní n‑eosfainn cé hí.


If only this maiden heeded my words,

What I’d tell her would be true.

Indeed I’d devote myself to her

And see to her welfare.

I would regale her with my story

And I longed to take her to my heart

Where I’d grant her pride of place

But for Ireland I’d not tell her name.


Tá spéir‑bhruinneal mhaordha dheas óg

Ar an taobh thall de’n teora ‘na mbím.

Tá féile ‘gus daonnacht is meoin

Is deise ró mhór ins an mhnaoi,

Tá folt léi a’ tuitim go feoir,

Go cocánach ómarach buí.

Tá lasadh ‘na leacain mar rós,

Is ar Éirinn ní n‑eosfainn cé hí.



There is a beautiful young maiden

On the far side of my farm

Generosity and kindness shine in her face

With the exceeding beauty of her countenance.

Her hair reaches to the ground

Sparkling like yellow gold;

Her cheeks blush like the rose

But for Ireland I’d not tell her name.






Listen to a wonderful recording by Liam Clancy from the CD: Cois Mara Thoir sa Rinn



Verses and translation as given in Mary O’Hara, ‘A Song for Ireland’.


She notes:


“The melody of this song has travelled far. Clondillon relates hearing a

Romanian folk singer sing the tune believing it to be a Romanian

folksong. Perhaps some soldier of fortune belonging to the Wild Geese had the gift of song...”


I assume O’Hara means that the Irish soldier took the tune to Romania with him. However, she may have meant the improbable but intriguing opposite: he may have brought it back to Ireland from Romania...



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