> Danny Spooner > Songs > The Maid of Cúil Mór

The Maid of Culmore

[ Roud 2493 ; Henry H687 ; Ballad Index HHH687 ; trad.]

Sheila Stewart of Blairgowrie, Perthshire, learned The Maid of Culmore from her uncle, Donald MacGregor, and sang it in September 1954 to Maurice Fleming. This recording was included in 2011 on the Greentrax anthology Songs and Ballads from Perthshire Field Recordings of the 1950s (Scottish Tradition 24).

Danny Spooner, accompanied by Mick Farrell, sang The Maid of Cúil Mór in 1978 on their album Limbo. He noted:

This song was taught to me by Denny MacKay, a lovely little Melbourne singer, who heard it while she was in Ireland. It is one of the many and plaintive songs of Irish emigration.

Jolly Jack sang Maids of Culmore in 1983 on their Fellside album Rolling Down to Old Maui.

Rhiannon sang The Maid of Coolmore in 1985 on their Fellside album The Birds of Rhiannon.

Kevin Dempsey sang The Maid from Coolmore in 1989 on Whippersnapper's album Fortune.

Jo Freya sang Maids of Coolmore on her and Kathryn Locke's 1993 No Masters CD Lush.

Sheila MacGregor of Rattray, Perth, sang The Maid of Kilmore to Mike Yates in 2005. He included this in his 2006 EFDSS book and CD of songs of English and Scottish Travellers and Gypsies 1965-2005, Traveller's Joy.

The Willows sang Maid of Culmore, “[a] touching Irish ballad, thought to date from the late 1800s”, on their 2013 EP Bella and on their 2014 CD Amidst Fiery Skies. This video shows them at Cambridge Folk Festival 2015:

Lyrics

Sheila Stewart sings The Maid of Culmore Danny Spooner sings The Maid of Cúil Mór

From sweet Londonderry to fair London town
There's no better harbour on earth can be found,
Where the children each evening do play around the shore
And the joy bells were ringing for the maid of Culmore.

From sweet Londonderry to fair London town
There is no finer fairground on the earth to be found,
Where people each evening there's a playground and shore
To join in the dancing with the maids of Cúil Mór.

Noo the first time I met her, oh she passed me by,
And the next time I met her she bid me goodbye.
But the last time I met her she grieved my heart sore
Sayin, “Adieu Londonderry and away from Culmore.”

Oh, the first time I saw her she passed me by,
And the next time I met her she bade me goodbye.
And the last time I saw her it grieved my heart sore
For she sailed down Lough Foyle and away from Cúil Mór.

Noo if I had the power a storm I'd rise,
Fro the wind tae blow high and tae darken the skies.
Fro the wind tae blow high and the salt seas for tae roar
On the day that my love sailed away from Culmore.

Oh if I had the power the storms for to arise,
I would blow the wind high and darken the skies.
I would blow the wind higher, make the waves for to roar
For taking my darling away from Cúil Mór.

Tae the north of America my loveI'll go tae see,
'Tis there I know no-one and no-one knows me.
But if I do not find her I'll return home no more,
Like an eagle I'll wander for the maid of Culmore.

But now I'm bound to North Americay my love for to see,
And it's there I'll know no-one and no-one knows me.
But should I not find her I will return home no more,
But like an pigrim I'll wander for the maid of Cúil Mór.

Kevin Dempsey sings The Maid from Coolmore

From sweet Londonderry to fair London town
There's no nicer harbour anywhere to be found,
Where the children each evening disappear on the shore
And they join in the dancing the maid from Coolmore.

The first time I saw her she passed me by,
And the next time I saw her she bid me goodbye.
And the last time I saw her she grieved my heart sore
As she sailed down Lough Foyle away from Coolmore.

I'll follow my love to North America
For it's there I'll know no-one and no-one knows her.
Like a pigrim I'll follow the maid from Coolmore
And if I do not find her I'll go home no more.

If I had the power, storms I would rise,
I would blow the winds higher and darken the skies,
I would blow the winds stronger, cause the salt seas to roar,
On the day that my love sailed away from Coolmore.

(repeat first verse)

Acknowledgements and Links

Thanks to Garry Gillard for providing Kevin Dempsey's lyrics.

See also the Mudcat Café thread Lyr Req: The Maid of Coolmore.