Nora Daly (1)

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NORA DALY. AKA - "Muirsheen Durkin," "Nora Daley." Irish, Air or Jig (6/8 time). A Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. A popular traditional song in County Clare written by the poet, schoolteacher, and Gaelic scholar, Tomás Ó hAodha (1866-1935) of Miltown Malbay, County Clare), who published it in his c. 1922 collection of poems The Hills of Clare. It was later recorded by Connie Foley (c. 1950) as "Nora Daley" and by the Clancy Brothers under the title "Muirsheen Durkin" (not to be confused with the 4/4 song "Molly Durkin" by Murty Rabbet, recorded in 1929). Words to the song, from the singing of Micho Russell (Doolin, County Clare, who learned it from his father, Austin) go:

It was down near Miltown Malbay, not a thousand miles from Galway
When I was young and merry in the breezy hills of Clare,
That I spied a colleen comely with winsome ways and homely
And she driving in a donkey cart and she going to the fair.

It was mild and pleasant weather with the bloom of furze and heather
Filled my soul with gladness in the wild and balmy (?) air
And my spirits felt fair lighter, and my life seems ten times brighter
Since I met that little colleen and she going to the fair.

Says she, "I'm Nora Daly, from the parish of Kilmeally,
My father, he's a farmer and the crossest man in Clare,
If he saw you here beside me, I'm afraid that he would chide me,
So, if you please, get down and walk a bit before we reach the fair."

I reluctantly obeyed her, for I could not have gainsaid her
Her visions of her father bright with the fierce and angry glare.
So before I'd quickly started, from her I gladly parted,
But I treasured her sweet memories till we reached Miltown Malbay.

At the Four-Mile Stone I met her, and within my heart I set her,
I searched for tales or tidings of my wanderer everywhere,
Her heart was in a flutter, as she feared her eggs and butter
They'd be scattered in the roadside and she going to the fair.

After years abroad sojourning and my love still brightly burning,
I sought for her and married her and settled down in Clare.
And I ofttimes yet remind her of that day long left behind her
Since I met her in the donkey cart and she going to the fair.

I have told my little story; though aged now and hoary,
It makes me feel quite young again and puts to flight dull care.
And along with what I've told you, one more secret I'll unfold you:
That you never met more loving hearts than those in County Clare!

Russell's tune for the song is "Stack of Barley (The) (see "Nora Daly (3)").

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Roche (Collection of Traditional Irish Music, vol. 1), 1912; No. 41, pp. 20-21.

Recorded sources: Green Linnet GLCD 3079, "The Russell Family of Doolin, County Clare." (originally releasted on Topic Records, 1975).

See also listing at:
Hear the song on [1]

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