> Danny Spooner > Songs > Seán Ó Duíbhír an Ghleanna (Sean O'Dwyer of the Glen)

Sean O'Dwyer of the Glen

[ Roud V7466 ; Ballad Index OLoc081 ; trad.]

Danny Spooner, accompanied by Mick Farrell, sang and played the air and song Seán Ó Duíbhír an Ghleanna (Sean O'Dwyer of the Glen) in 1978 on their album Limbo. He noted:

These two marvellous pieces of Irish musical and lyric brilliance were inspired by a guerrilla leader in Ireland at the time of Oliver Cromwell's attempted conquest. Seán Ó Duinhr carried on a fierce resistance against the “New Model Army” and its protestant allies, until his beloved forest was put to the torch by the invaders. No-one listening can help being moved by such wanton destruction and blood-letting in the name of God, that is symbolised by that invasion.

Dave Swarbrick played the tune of Sean O'Dwyer of the Glen on his 1981 album Smiddyburn.

Malinky sang Seán ó Duíbhír a' Ghleanna (John O'Dwyer of the Glen) in 2005 on their Greentrax album The Unseen Hours. They noted:

Mark [Dunlop] first heard this sung by Len Graham. This English translation by George Sigerson concerns the story of a member of the Ó Duíbhír clan in Co Tipperary who held the commission of Colonel from the Irish Confederacy for Counties Tipperary and Waterford. Although the war by the Confederacy against Cromwell's Parliamentary forces continued until their final defeat in summer 1652, it was in 1651 that Eamann Ó Duíbhír (Sean's uncle) surrendered under the terms of the Treaty of Cahir and went to Spain along with 500 followers, including Seán, who was eventually killed fighting for the King of Spain against the French in 1654. The “geese that are all gone” are Seán and the other Gaels who fled to Europe. With grateful thanks to Len Graham for his support and helpful background information on this song.

Duck Baker, Maggie Boyle and Ben Paley played the tune of Sean O'Dwyer of the Glen in 2005 on their album The Expatriate Game.

Elle Osbourne borrowed one verse and the melody of Seán Ó Duibhir an Ghleanna for her song The Time of the Small Sun on her 2011 album Good Grief.

The Wilderness Yet sang Seán Ó Duíbhír A' Ghleanna in 2020 on their eponymous CD The Wilderness Yet.

Lyrics

Danny Spooner sings Sean O'Dwyer of the Glen

How oft at sunny morning sunlight all adorning
I hear the horn give warning 'mid the birds mellow call.
Badgers flee before us, woodcocks startle o'er us
And guns give ringing chorus 'mid the echoes all.

The fox runs higher and higher, huntsmen shouting nigh her
A maiden lying by her fowl left wounded in his gore.
Now they fell the wildwood, farewell home of childhood
Seán Ó Duibhir an Gleanna your day it is o'er.

'Tis my sorrow sorest, sad the falling forest
The north wind brings me no rest and death is in the sky.
My noble hounds tied tightly never sporting brightly
Would make a child laugh lightly with a tear in its eye.

The antlered noble-hearted, stags are never started
Never chased nor parted from the furzy field.
If peace comes but a small way I'll journey down to Galway
I'll leave, but not for always, my Erin of ills.

Land of streams and valleys has no head nor rallies
In city, camp or palace they never toast her name.
Where the warrior column from Clyne to peaks of Collum
All wasted hills and solemn the wild hare grows tame.

When will come the routing shocks of churls and flouting?
I hear no joyful shouting from the blackbird brave.
Ne'er warlike is the yeoman, justice comes to no man
And priests must flee the foeman to the mountain cave.

'Tis my woe and ruin, sinless death's undoing
Came not to the strewing of all my bright hopes.
How oft of sunny morning I watched the sun returning
The autumn maples burning and dew on the woodland slopes.

But now my lands are plundered far my friends are sundered
And I must hide me under the branch and bramble screen.
If soon I cannot save me from flights of foes who crave me
Oh death at last I'll brave thee my bitter foes between.

For now they fell the wildwood, farewell home of childhood
Seán Ó Duibhir an Ghleanna your day it is o'er.

Malinky sing Seán ó Duíbhír a' Ghleanna

Oft on a pleasant morning, sunshine all adorning
I heard a horn give warning with the birds' meadow call
Badgers flee before us, woodcocks startle o'er us
Guns in a ringin chorus amid the echoes all
The fux runs high and higher, horsemen shouting nigher
The maid in mourning by her geese that are all gone
Now they fell the wild woods, farewell home of childhood,
O Seán ó Duíbhír a' ghleanna your day is o’er

For it is my sorrow sorest, woe the falling forest
The north wind brings me no rest and death is in the sky
My faithful hound tied tightly, never sporting brightly
Who would make a child laugh lightly with the tears in his eye
The antlered noble hearted stags are never parted
Never chased nor started from the whinny hills
Oh if peace came but the small way I would journey down on Galway.
And leave, though not for always, my Erin of the ills

My woe and ruin through sinless death undoing
Came not o'er the strewing of all my bright hopes
How oft on sunny morning I would watch the spring returning
The autumn leaves are falling and the dew on woodland slopes
Now my land is a plunder, far my friends asunder
I must hide me under branch or bramble screen
And if soon I cannot save me by flight from foes who crave me
O Seán ó Duíbhír a' ghleanna death will come between

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Lyr Add: Sean O Duibhir an Gleanna / Sean O'Dwyer.