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The Maid of Doneysheil

[ Roud 6894 ; Henry H530 ; Ballad Index HHH530 ; Paddy McGuckian]

Malinky sang The Maid of Doneysheil in 2019 on their 20th anniversary album Handsel. They noted:

This song, written by Paddy McGuckian, was collected in Ballymacaldrick, Antrim, and published as part of Sam Henry’s Songs of the People in January 1934. The hero of the song was Tom McLaughlin from Kilcreen; according to the source he did not win the heroine, and neither did he reach Nova Scotia. We have altered the published version of the song a little, with a verse from another song incorporated for narrative purposes. Doneysheil is on the east bank of the Bann, located between Rasharkin and Kilrea.

Lyrics

Paddy McGuckian's The Maid of Dunysheil

O, Dunyshiel, it is the place where my true love does dwell,
That known place of beauty which admirers all can tell;
In that fragrant hawthorn bower where lovers tell their tale.
The joyful mind breathes in the wind in you, sweet Dunysheil.

The first place that I saw my love was in Rasharkin Fair,
Little I thought that I would meet one so exceeding fair:
His sparkling eyes, like diamonds bright, were comely to behold,
And her hair in ringlets wavering like the bright links of gold.

O, I stepped up to this fair maid with sentiments confined
For to admend my sorrow with nature's works combined.
Said I, “Fair maid, your dwelling place from me do not conceal.”
She smiled and said, “Sir, I was bred nigh to sweet Dunyshiel.”

Sweet Dunysheil, it is the place where this fair maid does dwell,
That chosen spot of nature where all the songsters dwell.
No charming note of bird afloat all in the morning gale
Could charm the grove like my true love—dear maid of Dunysheil.

To sweet Kilcreen, where I have been, I must now bid adieu,
It grieves my heart all for to part with all my comrades too,
For Nova Scotia I am bound, tomorrow I'll set sail,
While o'er the sea, my heart shall be with the maid of Dunysheil.

Malinky sing The Maid of Doneysheil

The first place that I saw my love was at Rasharkin Fair,
Little I thought that I would meet one so exceeding rare.
Her sparkling eyes like diamonds bright were comely to behold,
Her hair in ringlets wavering like shining links of gold.

O I stepped up to this fair maid with sentiments confined
For to amend my sorrow with nature’s works combined.
Said I, “Fair maid, your dwelling place from me do not conceal.”
She smiled and said, “Sir, I was bred nigh to sweet Doneysheil.”

Sweet Doneysheil, it is the place where my true love does dwell,
That known place of beauty; admirers all can tell.
No charming note of bird afloat all in the morning pale
Could charm the grove like my true love, the maid of Doneysheil.

To sweet Kilcreen where I have been, I now must bid adieu,
It grieves my heart all for to part from my dear comrades too.
For Nova Scotia I am bound; tomorrow I’ll set sail
But o’er the sea my heart will be with the maid of Doneyshiel.

For when I reach that foreign shore and there fair maidens see
It’s then I’ll think far more of her, and the vow she made to me.
Hope may contain life’s ebbing vein, but the thought will oft prevail
To see once more whom I adore, the maid of Doneysheil,
To see once more whom I adore, the maid of Doneysheil.

Acknowledgements

Thank you very much to Steve Byrne for Malinky's verses.