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I have a rather strange relationship with music. I don’t listen to it for leisure very often and tend to feel that, like tobacco, it is overused in our culture to a point where it’s significance is lost. In the not too distant past, music was not something you could acquire in abundance or carry in your pocket. It was something that required skill and learning and was always live. It drew communities together, preserved ancient lore and had a powerful emotional, physical and spiritual effect on people. I realise there were plenty of rowdy bar songs too! Yet still I feel that by overexposure to music we become insensitive to it these days, and that is a great loss. Of course I’m probably in the minority with this opinion.

This song is an adaptation of  Gabhain Molta Bhride, which I have posted previously, and includes lyrics sung in both Irish and English by the group Triniti. I think it is a beautiful and moving adaptation and I even appreciate the new English lyrics which complement the Gaelic ones.

While I don’t agree with a lot of this slideshow information (or the appropriation of other’s artwork without credit) I’m posting this particular version because of a quote by the poster of the video:

“On the 19th of May 2011 Queen Elizabeth II visited Kildare.
Locals were shocked when the Royal party stopped at the
Shrine to Saint Brighid (Brigid), and THE
QUEEN STOOD IN REVERENCE BEFORE BRIGHIDS
STATUE AND BOWED HER HEAD TO BRIGHID!
Big thank you to Breda Murphy (native of Kildare) for the information.”

I would dearly love to find more reports of the Queen’s visit to the Cathedral, but while I can confirm she was in Kildare at that time, I can’t find anything about her visiting the Cathedral or paying homage to Bride. Please share if you can confirm this information!

Interestingly, while trying to find out about the Queen’s visit, I discovered that the Dalai Lama visited Kildare this year as well. I wonder if he visited her Cathedral too?

In my previous post I mentioned Fiona Macleod’s assertion that another name for the Dandelion (Bride’s flower) was Dealan De. Well, I quite accidentally found a version of an Irish song, Deirín dé, which is about the very same thing.

From O’Sullivan, “Songs of the Irish”:

DEIRÍN DÉ

Deirín dé, deirín dé,
Tá’n gabhairín oíche amuigh san bhfraoch,
Deirín dé, deirín dé,
Tá’n bunán donn a’ labhairt san bhféith.

Deirín dé, deirín dé,
Geóidh ba siar le héirí an lae,
Deirín dé, deirín dé,
Is raghaidh mo leanbh ‘á bhfeighilt ar féar.

Deirín dé, deirín dé,
Eireóidh gealach is raghaidh grian fé,
Deirín dé, deirín dé,
Tiocfaidh ba aniar le deireadh an lae.

Deirín dé, deirín dé,
Leogfad mo leanbh a’ pioca sméar,
Deirín dé, deirín dé,
–Ach codail go sámh go fáinne an lae!

I. The nightjar [lit. little goat of the night!] is abroad in the heather, The brown bittern speaks in the reeds.
II. Cows will go west at dawn of day, And my child will go to mind them in the pasture.
III. The moon will rise and the sun will set, Cows will return at close of day.
IV. I shall let my child go picking blackberries – but sleep soundly till daybreak!

Singable translation by Donal O’Sullivan:

Derreen day, derreen day,
The nightjar calls upon the heath.
Derreen day, derreen day,
The bittern booms the reeds beneath.

…Cows will go west at dawn of day, …
My darling will watch them lest they stray.

…The new moon greets the setting sun’s ray, …
Homeward the cows will wend their way.

…I’ll let my darling go gathering may, …
If he sleeps soundly till dawn of day.

Link to further notes and translations

Inspired by this enchanting song, I went off to do a little more research and found the following passage in the Carmina Gadelica:

“Dealan-De, butterfly, golden butterfly; lit, fire of God–‘dealan,’ fire, flame, lightning; and ‘De,’ God.

The golden butterfly is held sacred. It is said to be the angel of God come to bear the souls of the dead to heaven. If it beseen in or near the house where a person is dead or dying, the omen is good, and the friends rejoice. If it be not seen, a substitute is made by rapidly twirling a fire-pointed stick, moving the while from the dead or dying person towards the door or window. This is called ‘dearban De,’ ‘dealan De.’

The ancient Egyptians represented the soul leaving the body as a butterfly emerging from the chrysalis, sometimes from the mouth of the dead.”

Whether there is any link to Dandelions and Bride or not, this is quite fascinating in itself.

I praise to Brigid
She is praised in Ireland
She is praised in all countries
Let us all praise her
The bright torch of Leinster
Shining throughout the country
Head of Irish youth
Head of our gentle women
The house of winter is very dark
Cutting with its sharpness
But on Saint Brigid’s Day
Spring is near to us in Ireland

This is the most exquisite performance by Claire Roche, I wasn’t able to find the Gaelic lyrics to the song sadly but they are lovely even in English. While trying to uncover the meaning of the song title I came across some fascinating connections in words with the root ‘gabh’ … now this is coming from someone who does not speak a word of Gaelic, but this Irish-English dictionary lists the following definitions:

gabha: a smith
gabhal: burning in to a flame
gabhar: light, illumination, comfort
gabhlaim: (to) spring, shoot out
gabhluigim: sprout, shoot forth
gabhuin: a calf

Now, I’m hardly qualified to conjecture, but it seems the root word ‘gabh’ (gav) has meanings involving smiths, fire, sprouting of plants and young animals (particularly hooved animals) as well as being the mundane verb for ‘receive, accept, take.’ Very exciting to a Brigidine for obvious reasons.

Edit:  I’ve found the Gaelic lyrics at this wonderful site.

Kilmeny

Bonnie Kilmeny gaed up the glen;
But it wasna to meet Duneira's men,
Nor the rosy monk of the isle to see,
For Kilmeny was pure as pure could be.
It was only to hear the yorlin sing,
And pu' the cress-flower round the spring;
The scarlet hypp and the hindberrye,
And the nut that hung frae the hazel tree;

Kilmeny, James Hogg