An Draighneán Donn (The Brownthorn Bush)

Brownthorn or Sloe-Tree

A wonderful old recording from 1965 of singer Dolly McMahon – one of the few left to us. Below is a version of the song’s English text, not the exact version Dolly sings, but good enough to get you going if you want to learn your own version. And at the bottom of the page is the version as Gaeilge performed by Seoirse O Dochartaigh.

An Droighneán Donn

Of late I’ve been captivated by a handsome young man
I am daily complaining for my own darling John
Confuse them consume them who will say I’m not true
Through green groves and lofty mountains I will roam love with you

O down by the river the wild birds sing
O’er mountains and valleys the dewy leaves spring
The wild flowers are shining gazed on by the sun
And fairest of all shines the droighneán donn

If I had a small boat on the ocean to float
I would follow my darling wherever he would go
I would rather my darling to roll, sport and play
Than all the golden treasures by land or by sea

I am constantly waiting for my true love’s return
And for his long absence I will never cease to mourn
I will join with the sweet birds till the summer comes on
And I’ll be shaded by the green leaves of the droighneán donn

Irish version

Fuair mé féirín ó lá aonaigh ó bhuachaill deas
Fuair me céad póg ina dhiaidh sin ó phlúr na bhfear
Lá an Léan ar an té a déarfadh nach thú mo ghean
‘S an lá ina dhiaidh sin nach deas a d’éalóinn faoi na coillte leat.

I got a keepsake on a fair-day from a handsome young man
And a hundred sweet kisses from my own darling John
Consume them, confuse them who says you’re not true
And through lonesome glens and valleys I’ll wander with you.

Is síleann céad bean gur leo féin mé nuair a ólaim leann
Téann dhá dtrian síos díom nuair a smaoiním ar a gcomhrá liom
[Sneachta séite a bheith dhá shíor-chur ar Shliabh Uí Fhloinn]1
‘S go bhfuil mo ghrá-sa mar bhláth na n-áirní ‘gabháil an droighneán donn.

I wish I had a small boat on the ocean I’d roam
I would follow my darling where e’er he would go
I would sooner have my true love to sit, sport and play 2

Than all the gold and silver by land or by sea.


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