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Bridget O’Malley

[ Roud - ; Ballad Index K027 ; DT BRIDGIT ; Mudcat 33723 ; trad.]

Brid Óg Ní Mháille is an Irish Gaelic song lamenting a lost love. Hudie Devaney of Ranafast, Co Donegal, sang it to Peter Kennedy and Sean O’Boyle in 1953 (BBC 19970), which was included in 1995 on the Saydisc anthology of Kennedy recordings, Traditional Songs of Ireland. Kennedy also printed the song in his 1975 book Folksongs of Britain and Ireland.

Mick Hanly and Mícheál Ó Domhnaill sang Bríd Óg Ní Mháille in 1974 on their Polydor album Celtic Folkweave.

Silly Wizard sang an English translation of Bridget O’Malley (Brid Óg Ní Mháille) on their 1979 album So Many Partings, and Andy M. Stewart sang it again in 1990 on his and Manus Lunny’s CD At It Again. They noted:

This beautiful Irish song was given to us by Ruth Morgan of Essex. It is basically her collation of several versions, translated from the Irish Gaelic, which we have slightly adapted.

June Tabor sang Bridget O’Malley, While Gamekeepers Lie Sleeping, Blind Step Away, and Love Henry live at the WDR Folkfestival in Köln in 1990. She was accompanied by Mark Emerson and Giles Levin on fiddle. I don’t know of any recording of Bridget O’Malley by June.

Cotwolds folk trio, Mischief Afoot sang Bridget O’Malley in 2018 on their eponymous WildGoose CD Mischief Afoot. Jeff Gillett noted:

I first learned this Irish song of unrequited love from Laine Davies over thirty years ago. I used to perform it with the late Paul Stanbrook in our duo, the Penultimate Straw. Becky [Dellow] and I worked out the basis of the current arrangement when she was still in the sixth-form (and I was quite a young teacher).


June Tabor sings Bridget O’Malley

Oh Bridget O’Malley, you have left my heart shaken,
With a hopeless desolation I’d have you to know.
It’s the wonders of admiration your quiet face has taken
And your beauty will haunt me wherever I go.

The white moon above the pale sands, the pale stars above the thorn tree
Are cold beside my darling, but no purer than she.
I gaze upon the cold moon till the stars drown in the warm seas
But the bright eyes of my darling are never on me.

My Sunday is weary, my Sunday it is grey now,
My heart is a cold thing, my heart is a stone.
All joy is dead in me, my life has gone away now
For some other has taken my love for his own.

The day it is approaching when we were to be married
But it’s rather I would die than live only to grieve.
Oh, meet me, my darling, e’er the sun sets o’er the barley,
I’ll wait for you there on the road to Drumslieve.

(repeat first verse)