Aird Uí Chuain

This song was one of my first introductions to the sean-nós tradition. It was from the singing of the fabulous Lillis Ó Laoire on the amazing album Celtic Tales and Tongues. If you don’t own the recording, do yourself a favor and pick it up – tradition songs in Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and Breton. I’d also recommend the version by Mary Dillon on her 2013 release North.  The song is another of the thousands of sorrowful emigrant songs. Here’s a new take on it from Ciara McCrickard of At First Light.

*Aird Uí Chuain/Ardicoan is County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Aird Uí Chuain

Dá mbeinn féin in Aird Uí Chuain
In aice an tsléibhe atá i bhfad uaim
B’annamh liom gan dul ar cuairt
Go gleann na gcuach Dé Domhnaigh

Is iomaí Nollaig a bhí mé féin
I mBun Abhann Doinne is mé gan chéill
Ag iomáin ar an trá bháin
‘Is mo chamán bán ins mo dhorn liom

Agus och och Éire ‘lig is ó,
Éire lionn dubh (melancholy) agus ó,
‘Sé mo chroí ‘tá trom ‘s bronach.

Nach tuirseach mise anseo liom féin
Nach n-áirim guth coiligh lonndubh nó traon
gealbhán, smaolach, naoscach féin
Is chan aithním féin an Domhnach

‘Sé seo an choraíocht atá buan
Ar a’ tsaol go gcuirfeadh sé cluain
Mheallfadh sé an chaora ón uan –
Agus mheall sé uaimse an óige

Dá mbeadh agam coite is rámh
D’iomairfinn liom ar dhroim a’tsnáimh
‘S mé ag duil le Dia go sroichfinn slán
Is chan aithním féin an Domhnach

English Translation

I wish I were in Ardicoan
Near yon mountain far away.
I would seldom let the Sunday go
From the Cuckoo’s glen across the bay.

It is many a Christmas Day I had
In Cushendun while still a lad;
Hurling on the White Shore Strand
With my good ash hurley in my hand.

And it’s oh dear Ireland, you’re my home!
Far from you I had to roam
And my heart is heavy and alone.

But my heart is weary all alone
And it sends a lonely cry
To the land that sings beyond my dreams
And the lonely Sundays pass me by.

But the grave is waiting for us all
The whole wide world must heed its call
It steals the mother from her brood
As it stole away my boyhood.

If I only had a boat and oar
I would row to Erin’s shore
Trusting God to see me o’er
In time to die in Ireland.

And here’s a bit more of a traditional version from Lorcán Mac Mathuna.


One thought on “Aird Uí Chuain

  1. Thanks David for this classic song posting. Ciara is a gorgeous singer and her rendition is fascinating (I still prefer the more common version). I also did not know that she was a new member of At First Light. By the way, Happy belated.

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