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Star of the county Down lyric and video

Star of the County Down

The famous song about County Down was written by Cathal McGarvey.

Cathal was part of Dublin’s literary circle and Gaelic league revival in the early 1900’s forming around An Stad – the Irish translation for ‘The Stop’.

Cathal operated An Stad as a guesthouse and meeting rooms

An Stad was a meeting place for enthusiasts of the Irish language, Gaelic games and and key players in Irish Nationalist movement.

Michael Cusack, one of the founders of the GAA, James Joyce and Michael Collins frequented McGarvey’s establishment.

Cathal was originally a Donegal man.

He was born in Rathmullen, County Donegal in 1866.

It seems Cathal was often a one man show – writer, producer and performer.

He was prolific in his artistic creations from film to song, including the Star of The County Down.

He played a role in the first movie produced in the newly formed Irish Free State.

The picture below is from the 1926 film Irish Destiny (check out the movie below).

Cathal McGarvey The Star of The County Down Irish Destiny

Cathal plays the role of Shanahan.

Shanahan, Cathal McGarvey’s character, was the local jarvey – Ireland’s original taxi driver – who owned the jaunting car.

Cathal McGarvey The Star of The County Down Irish Destiny

Cathal McGarvey died a year after the release of this film in 1927.

Cathal McGarvey Star of The County Down

Star of the County Down: The Song

The song tells the story of a young man who spots a beautiful young lady in Banbridge, County Down while walking down the street and falls in love at first sight.

Cathal McGarvey Star of The County Down Original Lyrics

It is the musical emblem of people from County Down throughout all corners of the world.

The melody (tune) of the song originates from a old English ballad called Dives and Lazarus and the hymn Kingsfold.

This song was documented in a collection called The English and Scottish Popular Ballads by Francis James Child in the 1880’s.

You will most definitely hear the similarity in the melody of Dives and Lazarus and The Star of The County Down in the video below.

 

The same melody was used in the Irish Song My Love Nell

Check out some great versions of The Star of The County Down below.

Star of the County Down as featured in the hit video game Assassin’s Creed.

 

Van Morrison and The Chieftains perform the Star of the County Down

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Star of The County Down Lyrics

Near Banbridge town, in the County Down
One evening last July
Down a bóithrín green came a sweet cailín
And she smiled as she passed me by.
She looked so neat in her two bare feet
To the sheen of her nut-brown hair
Such a coaxing elf, I’d to shake myself
To make sure I was standing there.

 

From Bantry Bay down to Derry Quay
From Galway to Dublin town
No maid I’ve seen like the fair cailín
That I met in the County Down.

 

As she onward sped I shook my head
And I gazed with a feeling queer
And I said, says I, to a passerby
“Who’s your one with the nut-brown hair?”
He smiled at me, and with pride says he,
“She’s the gem of old Ireland’s crown.
Young Rosie McCann from the banks of the Bann
And the star of the County Down.”

 

From Bantry Bay down to Derry Quay
From Galway to Dublin town
No maid I’ve seen like the fair cailín
That I met in the County Down.

 

She’d a soft brown eye and
a look so sly and a smile like the rose in June
And you held each note from her auburn throat,
as she lilted lamenting tunes
At the pattern dance you’d be in trance
as she skipped through a jig or reel
When her eyes she’d roll, as she’d lift soul
And your heart she would likely steal

 

From Bantry Bay down to Derry Quay
From Galway to Dublin town
No maid I’ve seen like the fair cailín
That I met in the County Down.

 

At the harvest fair she’ll be surely there
and I’ll dress my Sunday clothes
With my hat cocked right and my shoes shon bright
for a smile from the nut-brown Rose
No horse I’ll yoke, or pipe I smoke,
’til the rust in my plough turn brown
And a smiling bride by my own fireside
sits the star of the County Down

 

From Bantry Bay down to Derry Quay
From Galway to Dublin town
No maid I’ve seen like the fair cailín
That I met in the County Down.

 

She’d a soft brown eye and
a look so sly and a smile like the rose in June
And you held each note from her auburn throat,
as she lilted lamenting tunes
At the pattern dance you’d be in trance
as she skipped through a jig or reel
When her eyes she’d roll, as she’d lift soul
And your heart she would likely steal

 

From Bantry Bay down to Derry Quay
From Galway to Dublin town
No maid I’ve seen like the fair cailín
That I met in the County Down.

 

Near Banbridge town, in the County Down
One evening last July
Down a bóithrín green came a sweet cailín
And she smiled as she passed me by.
She looked so neat in her two bare feet
To the sheen of her nut-brown hair
Such a coaxing elf, I’d to shake myself
To make sure I was standing there.

From Bantry Bay down to Derry Quay
From Galway to Dublin town
No maid I’ve seen like the fair cailín
That I met in the County Down.

 

From Bantry Bay down to Derry Quay
From Galway to Dublin town
No maid I’ve seen like the fair cailín
That I met in the County Down.

 

From Bantry Bay down to Derry Quay
From Galway to Dublin town
No maid I’ve seen like the fair cailín
That I met in the County Down.

My Love Nell

Oh! come all ye boys, from far and near,
And listen awhile to me:
And a dismal story you will hear
About my love and me.
I courted long-my love was sthrong
As the heart of a big oak tree.
But sorry I’m to say my love is gone away
To the shores av Amerikay.

Chorus.
For, my love Nell,
Was a charm in’ girl:
From the Cove av Cork kem she-
But I weeped and I wailed
Whin the hig ship sailed
For the shores av Amerikay.

Whin I got to the church I was left in the lurch-
But let that day go hy-
Whin I got to the door, Nelly sez: “I’m poor!”
“Then, my love, sez I, good-bye!
For, I know right well you’re an Irish girl:
So you don’t come over me.”
“Oh! sez Nelly, d’ye mind, I’ll lave you far behind,
And I’ll sail for Amerikay.”-Chorus.

Now, come all ye boys, both far and near,
And a warniu’ take hy me:
A bird in the hand, as you may undherstand,
Is worth twinty thousand million on a three.
Though persuade you they may for to name the day,
Then say: ” Wait till the time suit* me.”
Then as slippy as au eel, they’ll turn on their heel,
And sail for Amerikay.-Chorus.

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Irish Destiny (1926)

Irish Destiny was a work of fiction to mark the 10th anniversary of the Easter Rising in 1926.

The movie was written and produced by Isaac Eppel who was a Jewish doctor based in Dublin.

It was the first movie produced in the Irish Free State.

Mountains of Mourne

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