Annotation:Brink of the White Rocks (3) (The)

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BRINK OF THE WHITE ROCKS [3], THE (Bruac na Cairraige Báine). AKA and see "Bruach na Cairraige Báine." Irish, Air (6/8 time, "gaily"). Ireland, Munster. E Minor (Haverty, O'Neill): D Minor (O'Sullivan/Bunting). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. O'Sullivan (1983) remarks there are a number of versions of this tune, including five printed in George Petrie's 1855 volume, pp. 137-143 (one appears under the title "Ar Thaoibh na Carraige Baine"), while Ó Canainn (1978) reports the music can be found in John O'Daly's Poets and Poetry of Munster (1849). O'Daly has a story that the song was written for a wedding gift for the Blacker family about the year 1666. Carrick in this version is identified with the townland of Carrick Blacker, near Portadown, and O'Daly records that the song was composed as a welcome home to Elizabeth, daughter of Colonel Robert Stuart, of the Irry, Co. Tyrone, grand-daughter of the first Lord Castlewart. Others have suggested that Carrick/Cairraige refers to Carrick-on-Suir on the Tipperary/Waterford border. The air retains some currency among traditional musicians today. This, the Munster version, is quite different from northern versions. Lyrics begin:

Is thiar cois abhann gan bhréag gan dabht,
Ta an ainnir chiúin tais mhánla
Is gur ghile a cam ná an eala ar an dtonn
Ó bhaitheas go bonn a gróige.
'Si an stáidbhean í a chráigh ma chroí
Is d'fhág sí I m'intinn brónach
Is leigheas le fáil nil agam go brách
Ó dhiúltaighmoghrá gheal domsa.

And west by the river, without a doubt or lie
There is a quiet gentle beauty,
And her waist is as bright as any swan on the wave
From the crown of her head to the soles of her feet.
She is the woman that tormented my heart And left me heartbroken.
There is nothing that will cure me
Since my true love rejected me.

See also P.W. Joyce's "On the Brink of the White Rock."

Source for notated version: The Irish collector Edward Bunting noted the melody for his 1840 collection from a blind man at Westport in 1802.

Printed sources: P.M. Haverty (One Hundred Irish Airs vol. 1), 1858; No. 48, p. 20. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 84, p. 15. O'Sullivan/Bunting, 1983; No. 26, pp. 42-43.

Recorded sources: Shanachie SH78041, Solas - "The Hour Before Dawn" (2000. Learned from the singing of James Begley).

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