I came across Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh during a trip to Ireland in 2006. We were visiting a music shop in Dingle, Co. Kerry, and the shop owner told us of a concert that would be taking place later that day in a small church. I had always been a fan of Danú, but I had fallen behind in their latest recordings. I hadn’t heard that singer Ciarán Ó Gealbháin had been replaced by a young woman from . The shop owner played a bit of her music, and of course he doted on her as a residence of the Dingle Penninsula. It was enough to convince us to go, and we weren’t disappointed in the least.

Here’s a favorite in a clip from the BBC’s Highland Sessions.

Slán le Máigh

Ó slán is céad on taobh so uaim
(A hundred farewells from this place I’m in )
Cois Maighe na gcaor na gcraobh na gcruach
(Beside Maigue of the berries, the branches, the stacks)
Na stát, na séad, na soar, na slua
(The estates, the jewels, the craftsmen, the crowds)
Na ndán, na ndréacht, na dtréan gan ghruaim
(The arts, the stories, the good-humored warriors )

Curfá: Chorus (after each verse):
Och, ochón is breoite mise
(Oh it is broken hearted I am)
Gan chuid, gan chóir, gan chóip, gan chiste
(Without a share, or right, or company, or money)
Gan sult, gan seoid, gan spórt, gan spionnadh
(Without happiness, or jewels, or sport, or vitality )
Ó seoladh mé chun uaignis
(Since I was sent into loneliness )

Slán go héag dá, soar-fhir suairc
(Farewell forever to her happy freeman )
Dá daimh, dá heigs’, dá chléir, dá suag
(To her love of kin, her gatherings, her clergy, her scholars (
Dom chaired cléibh, gan chlaon, gan chluain
(To the friends of my heart, not perverse or deceitful )
Gan cháim, gan chaon, gan chraos, gan chruas
(Without flaw, without concealment, without gluttony, without stinginess )

Slán dá n-éis, dá beithibh uaim
(Good-bye, one by one, to its beautiful women )
Da gcail, dá gceill, dá scéimh, dá snua
(To their fame, their sense, their loveliness, their complexions )
Dá mná go léir, dá gcéim, dá gcuaird
(To all its women, to their rank, their visitations )
Da bpráisc, dá bplé, dá méin, dá mbua
(Their messing, their discussions, their minds and their talents)

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Slán le Máigh

3 thoughts on “Slán le Máigh

  1. Muireann is great. I had her for a workshop, but for flute. Also sat in on a wee lecture where she talked more about singing too. I like Mary Ann Kennedy too … and James Graham!

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