White Hills of Dear Ireland (The)

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WHITE HILLS OF DEAR IRELAND, THE (Ban-chnoic Éireann Ogh). AKA and see "Uailleacan Dhuv Ó!" "Song of Sorrow." Irish, Air (4/4 time, "lively"). G Mixolydian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. The song (which also translates as "The Fair Hills of Ireland") is included in Joyce’s Irish Folk Music and Songs. It was written by Donncha Rua Mac Con Mara, born in Cratloe, County Clare, in 1715. Mac Con Mara was groomed for the priesthood in Rome until he was expelled for his "wildness." He returned to Ireland in 1740 to take a schoolmaster's position in Waterford, then journeyed to Newfoundland in 1745 where he stayed until 1756. It is likely he wrote the still popular "Ban Chnoic Éireann Ó" while in the new world.

Bíonn barr bog slím ar chaoin-chnuic Éireann
Bán-chnuic Éireann Ó!
'S is fearr ná'n tír seo díogha gach sléibh' ann,
Bán-chnuic Éireann Ó!
Tá grá im chroí im inntinn fein,
Bán-chnuic Éireann Ó!

The soil is rich and soft, the air is mild and bland
O the fair hills of Éire Ó!
Her barest rock is greener to me than this rude land
O the fair hills of Éire ÓO! in heart and soul, I shall ever love,
The fair hills of Éire Ó ... (translated by James Clarence Mangan)

See also the variants "Green Linnet (2) (The)" in Joyce's Old Irish Folk Music and Songs (1909, No. 372), and O'Neill's "Sleep On My Kathleen Dear" (1903, No. 97).

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 370, p. 64.

Recorded sources: GTD Heritage Trad. HCD 008, Tommy Peoples - "Traditional Irish Music Played on the Fiddle" (appears as "Ban Chnoic Éirinn Ó").




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