Cailín Deas Crúidte na mBó
X:1 T:Cailin beog crute na mbo T:Pretty girl milking the cow , The M:9/8 L:1/8 R:Air Q:"Slow" S:Mulholland - Ancient Irish Airs (1810) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Ador A/B/|cec BdB AGA/B/|cec BdB A2 A/B/| cec BdB AGg|e/d/ c/B/ A/G/ EA A/B/ A2 A/B/| c>d e/f/ gaf gBA/B/|c>d e/f/ g>a b/^g/ a2a| gee dBB AGA/B/|c>AB EAA/B/ A2||
CAILÍN DEAS CRÚIDTE NA mBÓ. AKA and see "Pretty Maid Milking the Cow (2)." Irish, Air (9/8). E Minor (Roche, Scanlon): A Dorian (Mulholland). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. There are several different airs that act as vehicles for this favorite song. An early printing is in John Mulholland's Ancient Irish Airs  (Belfast, 1810). The title appears in a list of tunes in his repertoire brought by Philip Goodman, the last professional and traditional piper in Farney, Louth, to the Feis Ceoil in Belfast in 1898 (Breathnach, 1997). "Cailín Deas Crúidte na mBó" is the burden, in Irish, of a wooing song that is primarily in English. It begins:
It was on a fine summer's morning,
When the birds sweetly tuned on each bough;
I heard a fair maid sing most charming
As she sat a-milking her cow;
Her voice, it was chanting melodious,
She left me scarce able to go;
My heart it is soothed in solace,
My Cailín deas crúite na mbó.
It has, in some areas and times in Ireland, been considered a fell song, with the tale being told of a priest who was summoned to perform the last rites to a dying man. On foot, he hurried on his mission but halted when he heard a young woman singing "Cailín deas crúidte na mbó." So beautiful was her singing that he was captivated, and spellbound, waited until she had finished, and by the time he arrived at his destination, the man had expired. It is said that the devil was responsible, acting mischief to prevent a last confession for a soul.
"Cailín Deas Crúidte na mBó" is contained in the music manuscript collection of curate and fiddler Rev. Luke Donnellan (1878-1952), Oriel region, south Ulster. The title also appears in a list of tunes in his repertoire brought by Philip Goodman, the last professional and traditional piper in Farney, Louth, to the Feis Ceoil in Belfast in 1898 (Breathnach, 1997).
- Donnellan researcher Gerry O'Connor came to believe the ms. is not the work of the curate but rather was originally compiled by an unknown but able fiddler over the course of a playing lifetime, probably in the late 19th century. The ms. later came into the possession of Donnellan, who was also a fiddler.