Gabhaim molta Bríde

Today we honor one of the three patron saints of Ireland, St. Brigid of Kildaire. Her feast day is held on the ancient Gaelic day of Imbolc – February 1st.  Among other things, she is the patron saint of scholars, poets, printing presses, midwives, and sailors. Here Claire Roche performs a haunting version of Praise to Brigid reminiscent of the days when Gaelic nobility held the harpers in the highest esteem.

Gabhaim molta Bríde

Gabhaim molta Bríghde, iníon í le hÉireann
Iníon le gach tír í, molaimís go léir í.
Lóchrann geal na Laighneach, soils’ ar feadh na tíre
Ceann ar óigheacht Éireann, ceann na mban ar míne.

Tig an Geimhreadh dian dubh, gearra lena géire
Ach ar lá le Bríghde, gar dúinn Earrach Éireann.
Iníon le gach tír í, molaimís go léir í.
Gabhaim molta Bríghde, iníon í le hÉireann

Praise to Brigid

I give praise to Brigid, daughter of Ireland
Daughter of all lands, let us praise her.
The bright torch of Leinster, shining across the country
The leader of Ireland’s youth, leader of gentle women.

The house of Winter is dark, cutting with its sharpness
But on Brigid’s Day, Spring in Ireland draws near to us.
I give praise to Brigid, daughter of Ireland
Daughter of all lands, let us praise her.

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The Harp That Once Through Tara’s Halls

I had the pleasure of hearing Cormac De Barra sing and play at the 2013 St. Louis Tionól. He’s a wonderful resource for the songs and a link to the great harping tradition in Ireland.

According to the Franks.org:

From In the poem, written while Ireland was still under an unwelcome British rule, Thomas Moore lets Tara symbolize the seat of Irish government and the rule of Ireland. The harp, the traditional musical instrument of Ireland, symbolizes the Irish people, culture and spirit.

Glynis Casson and harper Cormac De Barra perform the song in Woodford House, Dublin.

The Harp That Once Through Tara’s Halls

The harp that once through Tara’s halls
The soul of music shed,
Now hangs as mute on Tara’s walls
As if that soul were fled.
So sleeps the pride of former days,
So glory’s thrill is o’er,
And hearts that once beat high for praise,
Now feel that pulse no more!

No more to chiefs and ladies bright
The harp of Tara swells;
The chord alone that breaks at night,
Its tale of ruin tells.
Thus Freedom now so seldom wakes,
The only throb she gives
Is when some heart indignant breaks,
To show that still she lives.

An Cailín Deas Cruite na mBó

This song has been recorded many, many times. I particularly love this arrangement with harp from Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh and Michael Rooney. Good stuff.

An Cailín Deas Cruite na mBó

Tá blian nó níos mó ‘gam ag éisteacht
Le cogar doilíosach mo mheoin,
Ó casadh liom grá geal mo chléibhe
Tráthnóna brea gréine san fhómhar.
Bhí an bhó bhainne chumhra ag géimneach
Is na h-éanlaith go meidhreach ag ceol,
Is ar bhruach an tsruthán ar leathaobh dhom
Bhí cailín deas crúite na mbó.

Tá a súile mar lonradh na gréine,
Ag scaipeadh trí spéartha gan cheo,
‘s is deirge a grua ná na caora
Ar lasadh measc craobha na gcnó,
Tá a béilin níos dílse na sméara,
‘s is gile ná leamhnacht a snó,
Níl ógbhean níos deise san saol seo
Ná cailín deas crúite na mbó.

Dá bhfaighinnse árd Tiarnas na hÉireann
Éadacha, síoda is sróil
Dá bhfaighinnse an bhanríon is airde
Dá bhfuil ar an dtalamh so beo
Dá bhfaighinnse céad loingis mar spré dhom
Píoláidi, caisleáin is ór
Bfhearr liom bheith fán ar na sléibhte
Lem chailín deas crúite na mbó

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