Shiúil mé Iorras Bheag - Seán Mac Confhaola

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Shiúil mé Iorras Bheag agus Iorras Mhór,
Iorras (Fhlannáin) nach bhfuil cóir,
Shiúil mé Iorras Bheag is Iorras Mhór,
Iorras Chlann Dónaill ó thuaidh,
(Nó gur trua anseo) mé anocht.
Anocht agus arís go brách
(B'fhearr liom doilfe) na mailí gruaim,
(Babh) olc é a ngnúis agus níor mhaith é a ndreach,
An dreach ba duibhe ná an gual,
An dreach nach mbeidh ar aingeal ná ar naomh,
Ná ar (aon duine) a roinnfeadh go cóir an bia.
An bia féin agus gan a fháilt le fonn,
Imíonn dúil agus fuaraíonn a theas;
Blas féin (d'ifreann níor bhlaisfeas)
(Go n-osclóidh cré le linn na bhfeart).


I walked Errisbeg and Errismore,
Errislannan which is not generous,
I walked Errisbeg and Errismore,
Errisclandonnell(?) to the north,
Until, sadly, I came to be here tonight.
Tonight and for ever more
I would prefer the gloom of the sad brows,
Their look was bad and their expression not good,
An expression which was darker than the coal,
An expression which no angel or saint will have,
Or anybody who would share food fairly.
When food is grudgingly given,
Desire for it goes and it grows cold;
Not even a taste of (hell) (...) (?)
Until the soil opens up (...).


This is a shortened version of the satirical song 'Eascaine Mhic Shuibhne' composed by the poet Micheál Mac Suibhne (c.1760-c.1820) in order to curse the people of Errislannan, on the southern shore of Clifden Bay, county Galway. Mac Suibhne was born in Cong, county Mayo, but spent most of his life in Conamara. He experienced difficulties finding a welcoming host to provide him with a night's accommodation while in Errislannan. It was customary in the Irish tradition to accommodate travelling visitors and particular importance was given to wandering bards or poets as failure to do so could result in the reluctant host becoming the victim of a satirical poem. Tomás Ó Máille wrote that when Mac Suibhne eventually secured a bed for the night he was so aggrieved by the lack of hospitality shown towards him that he immediately began composing the song. Ó Máille provides two versions of the song along with biographical details in Micheál Mac Suibhne agus Filidh an tSléibhe (Dublin, 1934), 14-20. A version is also included in Mícheál and Tomás Ó Máille, Amhráin chlainne Gaedheal (Dublin, 1905). See new edition by William Mahon: Amhráin Chlainne Gael (Indreabhán, 1991), 59-60. Another version of the song appears in Ríonach Ní Fhlathartaigh, Clár amhrán Bhaile na hInse (Dublin, 1976), 206. The song is also known as 'Iorras Fhlonnáin' and 'Eascaine Mhic Shuibhne ar Iorras Fhlannáin'. For additional biographical information on Mac Suibhne, see Fraincín Strae, 'An file as an bhFuinseanaigh', The Irish Press, 19 June 1951, p. 2, and Máire Ní Mhurchú and Diarmuid Breathnach, Beathaithnéis 1782-1881 (Dublin, 1999), 75. Peadar Ó Máille (county Galway) recites a longer version of this song elsewhere in the Doegen collection.

Title in English: I walked to Errisbeg
Digital version published by: Doegen Records Web Project, Royal Irish Academy

Description of the Recording:

Speaker: Seán Mac Confhaola from Co. Galway
Person who made the recording: Karl Tempel
Organizer and administrator of the recording scheme: The Royal Irish Academy
In collaboration with: Lautabteilung, Preußische Staatsbibliothek (now Lautarchiv, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Recorded on 18-09-1930 in University College, Galway. Recorded on 18-09-1930 in University College, Galway.
Archive recording (ID LA_1159g4, from a shellac disk stored in Galway) is 00:37 minutes long. Archive recording (ID LA_1159g4, from a shellac disk stored in Galway) is 00:37 minutes long.
User recording (ID LA_1159g4, from a shellac disk stored in Galway) is 00:36 minutes long. User recording (ID LA_1159g4, from a shellac disk stored in Galway) is 00:36 minutes long.