Amhrán Mhuínse – Song of Mweenish

Taking a break from Behan for right now, because our good friend Brendon is boring me. I decided to turn to the translation of a sean-nós song that I really love. And bounty of bounties! I think I can post the original Irish lyrics! Note that there are many versions of this song, and while I translated the most complete version of the song I could find into English, I will only post the Irish lyrics that are contained in the song by Ragús which I link here. Here they are:

Dhá mbeinn trí léig i bhfarraige
nó ar sléibhte i bhfad ó thír
Gan aoinneach beo i mo ghaobhar ann
ach raithneach ghlas is fraoch,
An sneachta á shéideadh anuas ón thuaidh is ó dheas,
is an ghaoith dhá fhuadach díom,
‘S mé a bheith ag comhrá le mo Taimín Bán,
níorbh fhada liom an oíche.

A Mhuire dhílis, céard a dhéanfas mé,
tá an geimhreadh seo ag tíacht fuar,
A Mhuire dhílis, céard a dhéanfas mé
leis an teach seo ‘s a bhfuil ann?
Nach óg, a stór, a d’imeodh tú uaim,
le linn na huaire breá,
Le linn don chuach a bheith ag seinm ceoil,
‘S gach duilliúr glas ag fás.
Agus gearraí amach mo chónra dhom
Ó  na péine is fearr

Má tá Seán Ó hEidhin i Muínis
Bíodh sé déanta óna dhá láimh;
Bíodh mo chaipín ‘s mo ribín inti istigh,
S’ é go ródheas ar mo cheann,
Beidh triúr ban óg ó shléibhte ann
le mé a chaoineadh os cionn cláir.

Agus gabháil siar thar Inse Ghainimh dhom
beidh an farraigí ag éirí ard,
Ná cuirigí i Leitir Caladh mé
mar níl mo mhuintir ann;
Ach tugaí siar go Muínis mé,
Is é an áit a gcaoinfear mé go hard,
Beidh soilse ar na dúmhchannaí
S’ ní bheidh uaigneas orm ann.


Translation of Amhrán Mhuínse

And if I were three leagues out to sea
or in the mountains far from land
without any living thing near me there
except the green fern and heather
with the snow blowing down on me
and the wind blowing it off again
if only i could talk with my dear Tom,
the night would not feel so long to me

And oh, faithful Mary, what will I do?
This cold winter is coming
Faithful Mary, what will I do?
with this house and all who liver there?
It’s as if it was you who were to leave
and me the one staying behind
forever and ever I would never think that any
soul could take your place
were you not young, darling, when you went out from me
in the good times?

And if only I had my family in my house
the night that I would die
and they would mourn me beautifully
three nights and three days
they’d have long clay pipes
and the kegs, they’d be full
and I would have three . young women from the mountains
Who would lament me over the boards of my coffin

So cut out my coffin for me
from the best and brightest timbers
and if john O’Hayne is in Mweenish
have it be done by his hand
have my hat and my ribbon be inside
and placed nicely on my head
and have Patrick More bring me to Mweenish
or it will be a rough day

And taking me west by Sandyisle,
let there be a flag on the mast
and don’t take me to Lettercallow
because my people are not there
but take me west, to Mweenish
to the place where I’ll be mourned loudly
and there will be lights on the dunes
and I won’t be lonely anymore




I just love this song. There’s something profound and poignant about it.


  • April 24, 2019 - 8:19 pm | Permalink

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  • Bridget
    January 30, 2020 - 3:52 am | Permalink

    Nice job on the translation
    now my kids might understand my forever plot of land on other side of the Atlantic
    Thank you

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