Beginigh Island






Between the Mountain and the Sea

I wrote this song in 1985 as I was returning to Clare from Sigerson's funeral. The late John B Keane had just given the graveside oration and the place-names kept echoing in my head until they finally had formulated into some rough structure. There is a hint of sadness, naturally, but the song is mostly a celebration of man and place.

The bones are now released from the cold office stool
The soul is now unchained from the cold hands of the clock
And you wander once again on the pallid road to Kells
While the waves wash loud and lonely on the face of Lascar Rock.

To let familiar names ring out your praise forever:
Binn A' Tí and Barr na Sráide, Carhan river.
And let the little wren sing his thimbleful of glee
And may your rest be peaceful 'tween the mountain and the sea.
It was here you loved to stroll all along the Fertha River
To see the silver salmon enmeshed in the seine
And to hear the huntsman's call or the cry, "Come on The Marys",
To feel the horses' hooves on the sod of Reenrusheen

Now the old school that you spoke of has bowed its head to progress
There's abodes in Barr na Sráide boast a padlock on their doors
And your leaving as a New Year dawned did tinge my heart with sadness
Yet the places that you mentioned I will cherish evermore.

For at each September races when you'll mingle with the people
In each trainload to Croke Park when you'll be there in The Van
But most of all on Dreoilín Day when young and old go travelling
You'll be there with your comrades; you'll be hunting for The Wran.