Amhrán Mhuínse (English translation)

Proofreading requested
Gaelic (Irish Gaelic)

Amhrán Mhuínse

Dhá mbeinn trí léig i bhfarraige nó ar sléibhte i bhfad ó thír
Gan aoinneach beo i mo ghaobhar ann ach raithneach ghlas is fraoch,
An sneachta á shéideadh anuas orm, is an ghaoith dhá fhuadach díom,
'S mé a bheith ag comhrá le mo Taimín Bán, níorbh fhada liom an oíche.
A Mhuire dhílis, céard a dhéanfas mé, tá an geimhreadh seo 'tíocht fuar,
A Mhuire dhílis, céard a dhéanfas an teach seo is a bhfuil ann?
Nach óg, a stór, a d'imigh tú, le linn na huaire breá,
Le linn don chuach bheith ag seinm ceoil, gach duilliúr glas ag fás.
Má bhíonn mo chlann sa mbaile a'am an oíche a bhfaighidh mé bás,
Ó tórróidh siad go groíúil mé trí oíche is trí lá;
Beidh píopaí deasa cailce a'am agus ceaigeannaí is iad lán,
Beidh triúr ban óg ó shléibhte ann le mé a chaoineadh os cionn cláir.
Is gearraí amach mo chónra dhom as fíorscoth geal na gclár,
Má tá Seán Ó hEidhin i Muínis bíodh sé déanta ón a láimh;
Bíodh mo chaipín is mo ribín inti istigh, iad go ridheas ar mo cheann,
Tabharfadh Paidín Mór go Muínis mé nó is garbh a bhéas an lá.
Gabháil siar thar Inse Gaine dhom bíodh an bhratach insa gcrann,
Ná cuir' i Leitir Caladh mé mar ní ann atá mo dhream;
Ach tugaí siar go Muínis mé, 'n áit a gcaoinfear mé go hard,
Beidh soilse ar na dúmhchannaí - ní bheidh uaigneas orm ann.
Submitted by CalusarulCalusarul on Fri, 10/03/2017 - 08:37
Last edited by CalusarulCalusarul on Fri, 07/04/2017 - 17:06
Align paragraphs
English translation

The Song of Muighinis

Were I three leagues out to see or on a mountain-side far from home
with no living being near me but green bracken and heather,
the snow driving down on me, and the wind carrying it away,
while I was talking to my fair Taimín, I would not think the night long.
Dear 1Mary, what shall I do, this winter is getting cold,
Dear Mary, what will this house do and those who are in it?
Were you not young, my dear, when you went away during the good times,
in the times when the cuckoo sang its song and all the green foliage was growing.
If my children are in my home the night when I die
they will hold my wake cheerfully for three nights and three days;
there'll be lovely clay pipes for me, and well-filled kegs,
there'll be three young women from the mountains to keen for me on the boards.
And cut my coffin out for me from top-notch bright boards,
if Seán Ó hEidhin is in Muighinis have it made by his hand;
let my cap with my ribbon in it be in there placed prettily on my head,
Paidín Mór will bring me to Muighinis or rough is what the day will be.
As I'm going west past Sandy Isle let the flag be on the mast,
don't put me in Letir Caladh as my people are not there
but carry me west to Muighinis where they'll mourn me loudly,
there'll be light on the sandhills - I'll not suffer lonliness there.
  • 1. The Virgin
Translations in this website are protected by copyright law. Don't claim any of my translations as your own, and please if you publish them anywhere attribute them to me.
Some translations I post will have been provided by someone other than me, and when that is the case it will be made clear on the pages containing those translations; if you want to copy those translations you must first obtain permission from the people who provided them, as I don't have the right to give you such permissions, and please carefully observe the rights of the authors of the original material that has been translated.
Submitted by michealtmichealt on Tue, 04/04/2017 - 18:58
Added in reply to request by CalusarulCalusarul
Last edited by michealtmichealt on Mon, 11/02/2019 - 17:38
Author's comments:

At places I'm guessing because my Irish is quite week - for example I never seen or heard "groíúil" but I guess it's a western Irish spelling for what I spell (in Scottish) "cridheil" because oí = idh is a good bet, and ùil/úil was a adjective-forming suffix common to both languages. I'm pretty confident my guesses will be right, but would be glad to see corrections from anyone who is competent in Irish.

Except one guess which could be completely wrong: i'm guessing that the place name with genitive Muínse and nominative Muínis would have a pre-caighdean spelling Muighinis (nominative) and that if it's in an area that still uses Gaelic it will still use the older version of its name when writing English. That guess could be utterly wrong.

It's a lovely song, hadn't heard it before it was posted here. I can't place the singers accent: too much "wee" instead of "ay" to be decent Munster, but might be extreme Kerry, but somehow it sounds as if it's from further north (Connacht).

The author of translation requested proofreading.
It means that he/she will be happy to receive corrections, suggestions etc about the translation.
If you are proficient in both languages of the language pair, you are welcome to leave your comments.
Idioms from "Amhrán Mhuínse"
See also
Ontano MagicoOntano Magico    Sun, 08/04/2018 - 15:58

“Amhrán Mhuighinse” is an irish farewell from the death bed; it is a traditional Irish gaelic sean-nós lament in which the singer has become old and, waiting for the day of his death, asks to be buried next to his/her beloved ones.
Often the singer is an old woman, who has moved away from her family home to follow her husband, but who considers stronger the bond with her clan and wants to go home.
Usually for this type of song, the composer is known and “Amhrán Mhuighinse” was attributed to a woman who lived in the nineteenth century, Máire (Mairín) Ní Chlochartaigh. She was married to Taimín Bán Ó Conghaile of Leitir Calaidh but she asked to be buried in Mhuighinse where she was from

BrighidBrighid    Mon, 11/02/2019 - 05:30

Groíúil is the Conamara version of the standard croíúil -meaning: decent, welcoming, hearty, cordial.

Tabharfadh Paidín Mór go Muínis mé nó is garbh a bhéas an lá. - I think that's a reference to the sea. Páidín would bring me to Muínis if the weather isn't bad. Garbh = rough/windy. Which is what happened to her. They tried for three days but the weather wouldn't let up. So she got buried in Leitir Caladh.

michealtmichealt    Mon, 11/02/2019 - 18:01

Gon raibh math agat a Bhrighid. I think in context the best treatment for "go groiúil" is "cheerfully" - I should have been more careful when first translating it, "lovingly" really doesn't fit the context. So I've changed my trnslation accordingly.

The last line of the 4th stanza is a bit weird - sort of feels as if "là" is the wrong noun, should be "aimsir" or "gaoth" or "muir" or "farraige", but neither aimsir nor farraige would fit the meter and neither gaoth nor muir has the right vowel sound to match the first line of the stanza. I've changed my translation to be closer to what you suggest it means, but I can't actually see "nó" (English "or") as meaning "mura" (English "unless") - but then, my Irish is not much good so maybe it does mean that.

BrighidBrighid    Tue, 12/02/2019 - 02:58

You''re doing a great job with the Irish songs. Fair play to you.

Yes, Irish can be nuanced. There is also poetic licence with songs and poetry. Regrettably I can't sing myself, so I wouldn't really know about meter and such.

I'm not sure if I can put links here, but these are better versions, sung in the traditional style of no music compliment. And sung by native speakers from that area. As with most traditional songs some words will differ, and some complete verses can be added or left out in some cases.

michealtmichealt    Tue, 12/02/2019 - 15:02

Interesting variants, those 3. I like the middle one best, because that singer is clearer than the other two - it's a pity he sings less of the song than either of the others.
It would be interesting to hear someone like Iarla O Lionaird sing this song; or Mary Black; because the words would all be clear and the tune wouldn't be distorted by far too much ornamentation.

BrighidBrighid    Wed, 13/02/2019 - 18:31

Iarla Ó Lionáird - he's a brilliant singer. And a native Munster Irish speaker, so he knows how to do a sean-nós song properly. Mary Black's pronunciation in Irish isn't great really.