Amhrán na Leabhar
X: 1 T:Amhr\'an na Leabhar (The Song of the Books) M:4/4 L:1/8 Z:transcribed by Paul de Grae K:Edor B2|E2 EF G2 A2|Be e4 zf|e3 d B3 A|Bc d4 e2| E3 F G3 F|GA B3 B2 A|G2 E4 zD|E4 z2 B2| E3 F G2 A2|Be e4 zf|e3 d B3 A|Bc d4 z2 | E2 EF G3 F|GA B3 B2 A|G2 F E4 D|E4 z2 e2| e2 ed e3 d|ef g4 f2|e3 d B3 A|B4 z2 Bc| d2 dc d3 c|dd e4 ed|B3 A G3 A|B4 z2 B2| E2 EF G2 A2|Be e4 ef|e3 d B3 A|Bc d4 ze| E2 EF G3 F|GA B4 BA|G2 F E4 D|E6 ||
AMHRÁN NA LEABHAR (Song of the Books). The song to this air was written by Tomás Rua Ó Súilleabháin (1785–1848), a poet and musician from Iveragh (Uibh Ráitheach) or Derrynane, County Kerry. Ó Suilleabhain had been acting schoolmaster at Caherdaniel and was forced to transfer to Portmagee when another schoolmaster was appointed to the permanent position. As he was leaving he placed his treasured and huge (for the times!) library of leather-bound books for transport on a boat going from Derrynane to Goleen (Goilin, Valentia Harbor), while he himself travelled by road. The boat struck a rock and was lost, tragically along with the priceless collection of books, prompting Ó Súlleabháin to seek solace in song. The air is known in modern times as a slow tempo piper's tune. Tomas Ó Canainn's translation begins:
By Valentia harbour I happened once
Near sweet Goleen Dairbhre
To be the master in Portmagee
Where ships set sail for the ocean deep.
Soon all had the sorrowful story then
Of the sturdy craft, lost at Owen Finn,
Sad was my heart for the ship that failed;
Better this land had it survived the gale.