Fear a’ Bhàta (The Boatman)

I don’t quite understand how I went the past two years without posting this wonderful, pining song which finds itself in both the Scottish and Irish traditions, with plenty of English language versions as well. It was one of the first songs in Gaeilge/Gàidhlig that I ever heard, and I’ve loved it since.  The video features Karen Matheson with Capercaille.

Sìne NicFhionnlaigh from Tong wrote the song in the late 19th century during her courtship with a young fisherman from Uig, Dòmhnall MacRath. The happy news, according to various sources, is that the two were married not long after she wrote the song

Fear a’ Bhàta

Fhir a’ bhàta, na hóro eile
Fhir a’ bhàta, na hóro eile
Fhir a’ bhàta, na hóro eile
Mo shoraidh slàn leat ‘s gach àit’ an téid thu

‘S tric mi sealltainn on chnoc as àirde
Dh’fheuch am faic mi fear a’ bhàta
An tig thu ‘n-diugh na ‘n tig thu màireach
‘S mar tig thu idir gur truagh a ta mi

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Loch Tay Boat Song

Here is a song about unrequited love on Loch Tay in Perthshire. The Paul McKenna Band is relatively new to me. I love their arrangements.

Loch Tay Boat Song

When I’ve done my work of day,
And I row my boat away,
Doon the waters of Loch Tay,
As the evening light is fading
And I look upon Ben Lawers
Where the after glory glows;
And I think on two bright eyes
And the melting mouth below.


She’s my beauteous nighean ruadh,
She’s my joy and sorrow too;
And although she is untrue,
Well I cannot live without her,
For my heart’s a boat in tow,
And I’d give the world to know
Why she means to let me go,
As I sing horee horo.

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