I’ve always loved this Irish courting song. A user over at Mudcat café give a great description of the action.
The mother telling the daughter that the men are coming and the girl wanting to look like she’s good housewife material, i.e., showing them she can spin.In the second verse, the mother and daughter are talking about how unattractive the fellow is (the dulaman gaelach); however, in the third and fourth verse they’ve decided that he looks like he could afford to spend some money on them, as he can dress himself fairly well. In the fifth verse, the fellow promises the girl a present as an enticement to marriage. However, in the sixth verse the girl’s daddy (who is also a ‘dulaman gaelach’ – the names change in this verse) demands to know the fellow’s (the ‘dulaman maorach’ now) intentions; and, the daddy declares in the last verse that he’ll not let the fellow take his daughter away. However, the upstart says that he’ll just kidnap her!
Here’s a version from the group Altan.
A ‘níon mhín ó, sin anall na fir shúirí
A mháithair mhín ó, cuir na roithléan go dtí mé
Dúlamán na binne buí, dúlamán Gaelach
Dúlamán na farraige, ‘s é b’fhearr a bhí in Éirinn
Tá cosa dubha dubailte ar an dúlamán gaelach
Tá dhá chluais mhaol ar an dúlamán gaelach
Rachaimid go Doire leis an dúlamán gaelach
Is ceannóimid bróga daora ar an dúlamán gaelach
Bróga breaca dubha ar an dúlamán gaelach
Tá bearéad agus triús ar an dúlamán gaelach
Ó chuir mé scéala chuici, go gceannóinn cíor dí
‘S é’n scéal a chuir sí chugam, go raibh a ceann cíortha
Góide a thug na tíre thú? arsa an dúlamán gaelach
Ag súirí le do níon, arsa an dúlamán maorach
Ó cha bhfaigheann tú mo ‘níon, arsa an dúlamán gaelach
Bheul, fuadóidh mé liom í, arsa an dúlamán maorach
Dear daughter, here come the courtin’ men,
Dear mother, oh bring me my spinning wheel.
Seaweed from the yellow cliff, Irish seaweed,
Seaweed from the ocean, the best in all of Ireland.
Two black thick feet are on the Irish seaweed,
Two narrow ears on are the Irish seaweed.
We’ll go to Derry with the Irish seaweed,
And we’ll buy expensive shoes on the Irish seaweed.
Black spotted shoes on the Irish seaweed,
There’s a cap and trousers on the Irish seaweed.
O I told her the news, that a comb would be bought for her,
That’s the story she told me, that it was a fine one.
What did you bring from the land? said the Irish seaweed,
Courting with your daughter, said the upstart seaweed.
O you’re not taking my daughter, said the Irish seaweed,
Well, I’ll take her away with me, said the upstart seaweed.