Wednesday, March 30, 2011

lovely little irish stories

this summer i am going to

the mystic land of leprechauns and luck, of singing songs across the glen, of names like limerick, killarney, and tipperary, and best of all, of heartbreaking ballads of love and the sea.

i am completely enchanted by any song that smacks of irish sentiments of home and hearth and return. i wonder if the reason i like josh ritter's "kathleen" is because it might have lineage through the irish "i'll take you home again kathleen", and if fisher's "i will love you" is so poignant because it draws on the ballad, "till the stars fall from the sky." for many of the same reasons, mumford&sons is my latest irish-esque fix. the preface to them being glen hansard's "falling slowly." before that it was coldplay's "swallowed in the sea," and before that it was billy joel's "and so it goes." all of these songs that sink deep, even from the first listen, ...they are irish in heart. and perhaps somewhere way way back, before i can remember "first listens", back before my brain told me there was a separation between the music i heard and the emotions i felt, there's danny boy (you will not be disappointed by clicking on this link). the last verse are some of the most homesick and lovely words e'er.

And if you come, when all the flowers are dying
And I am dead, as dead I well may be
You'll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an "Ave" there for me.

And I shall hear, tho' soft you tread above me
And all my dreams will warmer, sweeter be
For you will bend, and tell me that you love me
And I will sleep in peace until you come to me.

others i love are "the wild mountain thyme":

I will build my love a bower
By yon pure and crystal fountain
Yes and on it I will lay
All the flowers of the mountain
Will you go? Lassie, go?

And we'll go together
To pick wild mountain thyme
All among the bloomin' heather
Will you go? Lassie, go?

and the water is wide (aka: o waly waly).

The water is wide, I cannot get oer
Neither have I wings to fly
Give me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row, my love and I.

(i'll save "loch lomond" and "my bonny lies over the ocean" [which i think has been abused by most people's singing of it] for a post on scottish folk songs.)

and finally, perhaps the most moving of them all, marta keen's "homeward bound."

In the quiet misty morning, when the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing and the sky is clear and red,
When the summer's ceased its gleaming, when the corn is past its prime,
When adventure's lost its meaning, I'll be homeward bound in time.

Bind me not to the pasture. Chain me not to the plow.
Set me free to find my calling and I'll return to you somehow.

If you find it's me you're missing, if you're hoping I'll return,
To your thought I'll soon be list'ning; in the road I'll stop and turn.
Then the wind will set me racing as my journey nears its end,
And the path I'll be retracing when I'm homeward bound again.

Bind me not to the pasture. Chain me not to the plow.
Set me free to find my calling and I'll return to you somehow.

In the quiet misty morning when the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing, I'll be homeward bound again.

to add to these, tonight i found "lille." it's by lisa hannigan, born in kilcloon ireland, and i think it (her voice, the sentiments, the video, the words, the story) is magical.

...and you belong with me, not swallowed in the sea.


  1. OK dearie, I have a few more tunes with Irish flare for ya:

    Kate Rusby: Sleepless sailor
    (you will probably like "Falling", too, or anything by Kate for that matter)

    Nickel Creek: Sweet Afton

    And lastly: I have played Homeward Bound with the Choir, and it is my absolute favorite. I second you on that one.

  2. homeward bound is my favorite song. so inspiring. and ps i have wanted to go to ireland forevery. i'm jealous. and watch ps i love you before you go. the scenery is stunning.

  3. Did I ever tell you how much I want to go to Ireland and fall in love with an Irish man?! Ya, think i'm gonna be beyond jealous.

  4. I've listened to this song 1 million times.