> Folk Music > Songs > Newry Mountain / Grá geal mo Chroí

Newry Mountain / Grá geal mo Chroí

[ Roud 2329 ; Henry H582 ; Ballad Index CrMa069 ; trad.]

Mikeen McCarthy of Cahersiveen, Co Kerry sang One Fine Summer’s Morning to Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie in 1975/6. This recording was included in 2003 on the Musical Tradition anthology of songs of Irish travellers in England, From Puck to Appleby. Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie noted:

There is a version of this in the Sam Henry collection entitled Gragalmachree, which was obtained from James Kealey, a fiddler from Ballymoney, Co Antrim. In the editor’s notes, it is linked to Laws M23 although, apart from the titles of the songs Laws quotes, Gay Girl Marie (Ozark Folksongs [Vol. I, no. 124; Roud 1020]), and Sweet Gramachree (New Green Mountain Songster), there appears to be no other connection between these and Mikeen’s song.

We recorded a similar version to Mikeen’s from Mikey Kelleher, originally from Quilty, Co Clare, in 1977 who had lived in England since 1949.

Joe Holmes sang Grá Mo Croí in 1978 on his and Len Graham's Topic album of traditional songs, ballads and lilts from the North of Ireland, After Dawning. Len Graham noted:

‘Grá mo croí’ is Irish for ‘love of my heart’ and indeed the lad in this song insists, if he should prove false to his wee lassie, he will endure all sorts of geological and botanical phenomena, namely “That the rocks may all melt and the mountains remove”, “In the middle of the ocean may there grow a large tree”, etc. The Slemish Mountain mentioned in the song is the hill in Co Antrim, where St Patrick as a youth tended sheep.

Joe learnt this song from his mother.

Brona McVittie sang Newry Mountain on her 2018 album We Are the Wildlife. She noted:

A lesser-heard folk song from County Antrim also known as Grá geal mo Chroí. Joe Holmes recorded a County Antrim version of the song on his album After Dawning (Topic 1978). Collected by Sam Henry in Songs of the People.

Lyrics

Mikeen McCarthy sings One Fine Summer’s Morning

Oh, one fine Summer's morning, I been walking along,
Down by a clear river I heard a fine song,
'Twas sung by a fair maid with her voice low and clear,
And how happy would I be if my true love was here.

Oh we both walked together 'til the sun it shines on,
We both walked together 'til the sun it shines on,
'Til the green leaves grew o'er me, nevermore for to close,
And 'tis then I'll prove false to my blooming red rose.

Oh, through mountains and valleys this fair maid did go,
Through mountains and valleys and those hills full of snow,
May the rocks will split open nevermore for to close,
And ‘tis then I’ll prove false to my blooming red rose.

Here's a health to all ye weavers that weaves in white thread,
Don't rise up in the morning, oh, don't stop too long in bed,
Do not earn white money, spend it foolish like me,
And 'tis then you'll prove false to my Grá geal mo Chroí.

May the bright stars of heaven may darken tonight,
May the bright stars of heaven, oh, may show me no light,
May the rocks will split open, nevermore for to close,
And 'tis then I'll prove false to my blooming red rose.

Brona McVittie sings Newry Mountain

At the foot of Newry Mountain clear water does flow
There lives a wee lassie far whiter than snow
She’s slender in the waist for all young men to see
And her name in plain Irish is Grá geal mo Chroí

'Twas on a summer’s morning as I walked along
Down by yon green valley I heard a fine song
It was a fair damsel and her voice rang so clear
Saying how blest would I be if my darlin was here

I then drew near to a shade that was green
Where the leaves grew about her she scarce could be seen
It was her whole cry, “Oh my darlin come away
For without your loving company I cannot stay”

The moon it may darken and show us no light
And the bright stars of heaven fall down from their height
The rocks may all melt and the mountains remove
The hour I prove false to the fair one I love

The ships on the ocean may go without sails
And the smallest of fishes turn into great whales
In the middle of the ocean there will grow an apple tree
If I ever prove false to my Grá geal mo Chroí