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Nora Daly

[ Roud 8002 ; Ballad Index RcNoraDa ; trad.]

Micho Russell (1915-1994) sang Nora Daly to John Tams and Neil Wayne in O’Connor’s bar, Doolin, Co. Claire, in January 1974. This recording was included in 1975 on the Topic / Free Reed album The Russell Family of Doolin, County Clare and in 1998 on the Topic anthology Come Let Us Buy the Licence (The Voice of the People Volume 1). Muiris O Rócháin commented in the original album’s liner notes:

Miko learned this from his father Austin, over forty years ago. It was first published by Tomas O hAodha, an Irish scholar from Miltown Malbay, around the beginning of this century.

Andy Turner sang Nora Daly as the 18 July 2014 entry of his project A Folk Song a Week.

Corinne Male sang Salisbury Plain on her 2015 CD To Tell the Story Truly. She noted:

Micho Russell of Doolin sang an incomplete version of this West Clare favourite; Peggy McMahon, who lived above Doo Lough, south of Milltown Malbay, had the full version. I met Peggy the first time I went to Tom Munnelly’s West Clare Festival in Ennistymon in the early 1990s, and recorded this song from her one quiet Sunday afternoon in Marrinan’s, in Milltown Malbay.


Micho Russell sings Nora Daly

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 far 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 Kilmaley,
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 reached the fair.”

I reluctantly obeyed her, for I could not have gainsaid her,
For visions of her father bright with a fierce and angry glare.
So before I 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!