Dúchan na bPrátaí / The Blackened Potatoes

Dúchan na bPrátaí

Ar a dhul go Gaillimh dhúinn rinne muid a gcomhairle
Le bheith mb’ fhearr dhúinn dá dtéadh muid ann;
Cheannaigh muid beatha is níor fhéad muid a rá
Nárbh é lán a’ bháis a bhí linn sa ród.

Ar dhul amach as Gaillimh dhúinn as an bpoillín báite
Bhí eidir Árainn agus Áran Mór
Chaith muid an oíche sin marbh sáruigh’
Ag súil leis an Ard Rí go bhfuigheadh muid cóir.

Maidin dh’ár éirigh muid ní raibh sé a’ báisteach,
Bhí gaoth bhreá láidir ann agus chroch muid seol,
Chroch muid na bratachaí suas in airde
Nó gur ghlan muid árainn agus Cuan an Fhir Mhóir.

Mo mhíle beannacht leat, a oileáin Phádraig
ó is ann a d’fhás muid ’s ár sinsear romhainn,
Is gurb’ é dúchan na bprátaí chuir thar sáil muid
Ag saothrú páighe go Baltimór.

Tráthnóna Oích’ Nollag sea d’ardaigh gaoithe
Agus ghlac na daoine an cruinniú mór,
Mar bhí sin innti dhá chéad agus naonúr
An t‒óg ’s an críonna ’na suí ar bord.

Ní ar ór ná ar airgead ná’r shaibhreas saolta
Bhí na créatúir a’ smaoiniú ach a’ guidhe Dé;
Bhí neach eicínt beannuigh’ ann ar labhair Dia ’na chroí ’stigh
Go dtug sé saor muid go Baltimór.

Nuair a landáil muid ba mhór é a spleódar
Óir is amhlaidh ba chóir dúinn teacht i dtír;
An té raibh airgead fairsing aige bhí ithe is ól aige
’S a leabaidh cóirithe ag bean a’tí.

Ach an té nach raibh sin aige ní bhfuair sé an cbóir sin
’S bhí cead aige luigheamh faoi dhrúcht na h‒oidhch’;
Tá na státaí fairsing ann agus bogfaidh muid a’ bóthar
Go bhfuighfidh muid 1óistín amach fá’n tír.

The Blackened Potatoes

Now when we got to Galway we all made up our mind
’Twere better far to go away than if we stayed behind;
We bought our lives, we bought them all, but still we could not say
That death would not be there with us as we wandered far way.

As we went out of Galway we passed the drowning pool
Between the rocks of Aran and Connemara boulder strewn;
We spent that night exhausted and everyone did pray
To the High King to send fair winds to speed us on our way.

We rose up in the morning, there was no sign of rain,
A fine strong wind and some did grin as we hoisted every sail;
We then put up the flags of home, each face showed its dismay,
As we looked back to Aran and to Milltown Mal(a)bay.

My blessings all I give to you, St.Patrick’s isle and land,
For we were born and brought up there, I hope you’ll understand;
But now the praties are all black and every heart is sore,
So we’re away to look for pay in distant Baltimore.

The wind grew high, ’twas Christmas Eve, a blessèd time an’ all,
The people there did gather round, the old, the young, the small;
Ten score of us they counted, then count another nine,
Of Irish mothers, fathers, sons and girleens line by line.

It was not gold nor silver, no it was not wealth nor nought
But a prayer to the blessèd Saviour was all we did or thought;
We had one there among us, Christ was in his heart’s deep core,
Which brought us all in safety into fair Baltimore.

Now we were there at long long last with shouting and with spree,
And we did walk all hand in hand to a new land of the free;
Those who had means and money they were welcomed in great style:
A beer and a meal, a bed that’s clean, a lady’s fondest smile.

But we who had got nothing, we got no care at all,
They brought us all to lie there where the dewdrops drip and fall;
But the United States ’tis big and wide,, we’ll go west along the road,
Go west to where we’ll find our share of welcome, bed and board.

*****************

The original poem in Irish (probably meant to be sung) was collected in County Galway in 1935 and is included in the book An Drochshaol, a study, in the Irish language, of the Great Famine based on oral history, songs and poems. Written by Cormac ó Gráda, Professor of Economics, University College, Dublin, it was published by Coiscéim, also in Dublin, in 1994.

Translation ©: Wales Famine Forum, 2000 AD .

Published in The Green Dragon No 9, Winter, 1999.

Nascanna don Ghaeilge / Links to Irish / Gorgysylltiadau i’r Wyddeleg

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