Sunday, 27 April 2014

Clannad: Siúil A Rún (1976)

From the album Dúlamán. The history of this traditional song is unclear. It has been suggested that the song might refer to the "Wild Geese" of the Glorious Revolution. Robert Louis Stevenson refers to the song twice in his novel The Master of Ballantrae (1889). Referred to as "the pathetic air of 'Shule Aroon'", it is whistled by the Irish Jacobite exile Francis Burke and later sung by the Master of Ballantrae himself to impress his younger brother's wife. The Master describes it as "very moving" and describes it being sung by Jacobite exiles in France: "it is a pathetic sight when a score of rough Irish ... get to this song; and you may see, by their falling tears, how it strikes home to them". In Ulysses, James Joyce had Stephen Dedalus sing the song to Leopold Bloom in Bloom's kitchen. The song can be seen to signal or echo many of the grand themes of the book, referencing loss of language, usurpation, betrayal, loss of leadership and women selling themselves.

I wish I was on yonder hill'
Tis there I'd sit and cry my fill
And every tear would turn a mill
Is go dté tú mo mhuirnín slán

By North Utsire

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