Amárach Lá ‘le Pádraic

On March 18th, 1835, a James Murphy was hanged for murder in Rosbercon, Co. Wexford (not too far from Clonmel). Whether this is the James Murphy who narrates this song, I am unsure, but it seems to fit the bill. Here’s a sean-nós song about this sad man’s last day on earth, sung by Eilís Ní Chonghaile.

Amárach Lá ‘le Pádraic

Amárach Lá ‘le Pádraic, an chéad lá den tseisiún
Is crua fuar an lá é – ní cruaichte é ná an chinniúint.
Tá na mionnaí ag tíocht anuas orm ‘s tá go leor leor dá gcruthú
Séard dúirt ceannfort na ndaoine uaisle gurb é an róipín mo chruthú.

‘S a dhriotháirín dhílis tabhair abhaile mo hata,
Mo stocaí ‘s mo bhróga ‘s mo chóitín donn daite.
Aithris do mo mháithrín atá le ráithe ar a leaba
Gurb é an róipín caol cnáibe atá in áit mo charabhata.

Tá mo chamán is mo liathróid ar cholbha mo leapa
‘S go mbuailfinn boc báire chomh hard leis an ngealach.
Tá mo stailín dheas lúfar ar sliabh a’m sa mbaile
Ach beidh m’ainm féin amáireach ar na páipéir i gCluain Meala.

Nach trua gan mé i m’iascaire ar thaobh Bhaile an tSléibhe
Nó i m’eala dheas chlúfar ar bhántaí Loch Éirne
Is mise Séamas Ó Murchadha, a fear a b’fhearr a bhí in Éirinn,
An fear nach bhfeicfear ins an gcruinniú seo nó go dtaga Lá an tSléibhe.

English Translation

Tomorrow is St Patrick’s Day, the first day of the session.
It’s a hard, cold day – colder than fate.
The testimonies are against me, and a lot of them proven;
and the commander of the authorities has said that I am to hang.

Dear brother, take home my hat, my stockings,
my shoes, and my brown coloured coat.
Tell my mother, who’s been in bed for a season,
that I shall wear the narrow hempen rope in place of a necktie.

My hurley and ball are next to my bed;
and I would hit a stroke as high as the moon.
My swift little stallion is on the hill at home;
but my name will be in the papers in Clonmel tomorrow.

Isn’t it a pity that I’m not a fisherman on the banks(?) of Baile an tSléibhe,
or in a lovely, feathery swan on Lough Erne.
My name is James Murphy, the best man in Ireland
– the man who won’t be seen in this gathering until Judgement Day.

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