Craiganee, song

Bill Quigley, singing in English
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Come all you sacred Muses that frequents our native isle,
I hope you’ll pay attention till I drop my slender quill,
Saying, I will go and seek a home all in some land that’s free
And I’ll bid adieu to sweet Lough Foyle, likewise to Craiganee.

When he rises in the morning he oils and he combs his hair,
He dresses up in superfine, goes out to meet his fair;
Her name I will not mention for offended she might be,
For she’s one of the fairest flowers ever bloomed in Craiganee.

When she rises in the morning she walks down by the shore
To watch the foaming billows as they roll o’er and o’er;
She’s watching for the small boat that bore her love to sea
And she says, – Young Johnny Harkin, you’re far from Craiganee.

Then I own I loved old Erin’s isle, I never could love more,
Above all other nations that I ever saw before;
When I am on the ocean deep, neither friend nor foe being near,
I’ll be thinking on my old sweetheart I left in Craiganee.

Adieu unto you, Athleen’s rocks, that guard our native shore,
Likewise unto my old sweetheart, will I never see you more?
But if we meet each other all in some land that’s free
We will live and love each others as we did in Craiga (spoken) nee.


The Craiganee in question is evidently the one between Balllintoy and Ballycastle in N. Ant., a district to which other names occurring in other versions also attach the song: see Notes. Version E is alleged to derive from Kerry, but this is probably an error for other versions are confined to N. Ulster. There is, however, no Craiganee near Lough Foyle. in v. 2 courtship motifs are rather unexpectedly prefixed to an emigrant’s farewell, less incongruously perhaps in C where the male toilette of 2.1–2 is replaced by a female toilette. We must take ‘he’ and ‘I’ in Bill’s text of this verse to represent the same person. The motif of concealment of the girl’s identity in 2.3–4, of early courtly origin, recurs in Eddie Butcher’s ‘The flower of Corby mill’:

Now her real name I won’t mention, no, I dare nae name her name,
Her parents would be angry and I would be much to blame;
She’s a mill girl to her trade and she has the best of skill
For she’s the booming star of Antrim and the flower of Corby mill.