Mudcat Café message #3289770 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #38530   Message #3289770
Posted By: Jim Carroll
13-Jan-12 - 03:52 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: For Ireland I'd Not Tell Her Name
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: For Ireland I'd Not Tell Her Name
This is Tom Lenihan's version from 'Mount Callan Garland' - songs from the repertoire of Tom Lenihan, of Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay, Co Clare, collected and edited by Tom Munnelly (Comhairle Bhealoideas Eireann 1994 - book and 2 cassettes)
Tom Lenihan was born in 1905 and spent his life as a farmer on the slopes of Mount Callan, Co. Clare.
He had a large repertoire of songs, in English and was reknowned locally as a singer.
He once told us "I tried to play the flute, but I didn't make much of a fist of it, so I decided to sing".
He was a good friend and a great singer; he died in 1990.
The note to the song is by the late Tom Munnelly
Jim Carroll

'S AR EIRINN NI NEOSFAINN CE HI.

1 There's a home by the great Avonmore,
That flows into the broad open sea,
Whilst the rivers that dash through the foam
And the bullrushes wave in the breeze.
The green ivy clings around the door,
And the birds sweetly sing on each tree.
To my darling sweet notes they do pour,
'S arEirinn ni neosfainn ce hi.

2 Her father has riches in store,
Both cattle, corn and wealth
And fine land by lovely Glandore,
While I have my youth and good health.
For she's the fond maid I adore
And her life she has pledged unto me
Without riches or no earthly store,
'S arEirinn ni neosfainn ce hi.

3 I have toiled through those years of my life,
Through sunshine, through storm and rain,
And surely I'd venture my life
To ease her one moment from pain.
I would climb the highest hills of the land
And I'd swim to the depth of the sea
To get a touch from her lily-white hand,
'S arEirinn ni neosfainn ce hi.

4 Last night as the sun was aglow
And sank right into its rest
And the clouds like mountains of snow
As they declined to the west—
To be out for to meet my own star,
And kindly she waited for me
By the old stile by lovely Glandore,
'S arEirinn ni neosfainn ce hi.

5 Like a sick man that longs for the dawn
I would long for one sight of her eye
And I'd pray for my own cailin ban
As she's waiting for me by the stile.
For she is my pride and my joy,
My comfort in life then is she.
For she is my own promised wife,
'S arEirinn ni neosfainn ce hi.

6 And when I will call her my own,
It is married we both then will be.
Like a king and a queen in their throne
We'll be living in sweet unity.
I'll do all I can for my star
And I'll rise up a nice family
On the lovely green hills of Glandore,
'S arEirinn ni neosfainn ce hi.

7 If there be any dispute by us both,
Between her loving parents and mine
On some steamer that will be afloat
We'll set off to some strange counterie,
Where we'll have a home of our own
And be at our own liberty.
And 'tis then sure her name will be known—
Yet for Ireland I'll not tell who she is!

Cassette 1, Side B, Track 3. IFC TM 81/B/2. August 19th 1972.
Tom did not recollect a specific source, although he recalled that it had been in the family a long time.

Known in Scotland as 'Tweedside', this beautiful air is said to have been written by David Rizzio (or Riccio), musician and secretary to Mary Queen of Scots. His affection for the Queen was manifest and the amount of time he spent in her private chamber the source of much speculation. On March 9th 1566 the unfortunate Italian was dragged from the pregnant Queen's side and butchered before her eyes by a number of armed lords who delivered him no less than fifty dagger-strokes.(Ref.61)
In its Irish form this song, (trans.'For Ireland I will not tell whom she is'), is classified as a reverdie by O Tuama.(Ref. 62) The classification refers to the greenwood setting in which the poet encounters the beautiful maiden much as in an aisling. However, if they are vision-poems, O Tuama reminds us that they are 'aisling na súl n-oscailte go minic'.(Ref.63) And indeed some versions of the song carried intimations of carnality which at least implied that the interpretations of the singers at any rate were down-to-earth, no matter how high-flown the poetry. When Conny Cochlan of Derrynasaggart, Baile Bhuirne, sang his version for A.M. Freeman in 1914 he told the collector that it was a dialogue between a married man and his brother, a priest, in which the former lets the priest know that he is aware of his passion for his wife!(Ref. 64) The Clare Gaelic scholar Eugene O' Curry stated that this song was written originally about 1810 by a Finneen, or Florence, Scannell, a Kerry schoolmaster (Ref.65).
The song in English which Tom sings has been about for a good many years likewise, as is witnessed by the similar version which Freeman noted down in London in 1915. Interestingly enough in our context, his informant was a Frank Brewe from Ruan in West Clare.(Ref.66)

Refs.
61 Breandan Breathnach, Folkmusic and Dances of Ireland (Educational Co. of Ireland, Dublin, 1971), 33; Francis Collinson, The Traditional and National Music of Scotland (Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1966) 128; John Prebble, The Lion in the North, One Thousand Years of Scotland's History (Penguin Books, London, 1973) 196-7.
62 Sean O Tuama, op. cit. 176.
63 'Visions often beheld with open eyes,' ibid, 174
64 A. Martin Freeman, 'Irish Folk Songs [from Baile Mhuirne] in JFSS (London, 1921), No. 25, Part 5, vol. VI, 136.
65 Tomas O Concheanainn, Nua-Dhuanaire III (Institiuid Ardleinn Bhaile Atha Cliath, 1978), 91.
66 Freeman, op. cit. 133-4.

---------- Minor editing for clarity. JoeClone------------