Anach Cuan - Annaghdown

This song was composed by Raftery the poet to commemorate the disaster which befell the people of `Annaghdown' (Anach Cuan) while on their way to a fair in Galway.

"About thirty villagers with ten sheep and other goods set off in an old boat from the shores of Lough Corrib to go the eight miles into Galway. In those days there was no direct road, and the lake was the nearest way. The boat was rotten, and within two miles of Galway it sprung a leak. One of the men tried to plug it with his coat, and pressing with his heel to drive it more firmly in, drove the whole plank out of the boat. In a few seconds all of these poor people were struggling in the water, and although they were close to land, nineteen of them drowned, eleven men and eight women." *

le Raifterí, an file
1. Má fhaighimse sláinte is fada a bheas trácht ar
an mhéid a báthadh as Anach Cuan.
Mo thrua amárach gach athair is máthair
bean is páiste atá ag sileadh súl.

A Rí na ngrásta, a cheap neamh is Párthas,
nár bheag an tábhacht dúinn beirt ná triúr?
Ach lá chomh breá leis gan gaoth gan báisteach
is lán an bháid acu a scuabadh ar hiúil.

2. Nár mhór an t-ionadh os comhair na ndaoine
a bhfeiscint sínte ar chúl a gcinn?
Screadach is caoineadh a scanródh daoine,
gruaig á cíoradh is an chreach á roinn.

Bhí buachaillí óga ann, tíocht an fhómhair,
á síneadh ar chróchar is á dtabhairt go cill.
Is gurbh é gléas a bpósta a bhí á dtórramh
is, a Dhia na glóire, nár mhór an feall?

3. Loscadh sléibhe agus scalladh cléibhe
ar an áit ar éagadar is milleán crua,
mar is iomaí créatúr a d'fhág sé ag géarghol,
ag sileadh is ag éagaoin gach maidin Luain.

Ní díobháil eolais a chuir dá treoir iad
ach mí-adh mór a bhi sa gCaisleán Nua.
Is é críochnú an amhráin gur báthadh mórán
is d'fhág ábhar dóláis ag Anach Cuan.

Anonymous
If my health is spared I'll be long relating,
Of the boat that sailed out from Anach Cuan,
And the keening after of mother and father,
As the laying out of each corpse was done.

Oh King of Graces, who died to save us,
It was a small affair but for one or two,
But a boat-load bravely on a calm sailing,
Without storm or rain to be swept to doom.

The boat sprang a leak and left all those people,
And frightened sheep out adrift on the tide,
It beats all telling what fate befell them,
Eleven strong men and eight women died.

Young boys they were lying where crops were ripening,
From the strength of youth they were borne away,
In their wedding clothes for their wake they robed them,
Oh King of Glory man's hope is vain.

May burning mountains come tumbling downward,
On that place of drowning may curses fall,
Full many the soul it has left in mourning,
And left without hope of a bright day's dawn.

The cause of their fate was no fault of sailing,
It was the boat that failed them the 'Caisleán Nua,'
And left me to make with a heart that's breaking,
This sad lamentation for Anach Cuan.

Courtesy of Jack & Vivian Hennessey, IrishPage.com
One of Raftery's poems was on the back of the five pound note.
For phonetics consult the pocket dictionary Fóclóir Póca.
* Prologue from "Anach Cuan" by Áine Cooke
Replay background :Anach Cuan
The full text of this song both in the Irish and in English translation can be found in 'Amhráin Mhuighe Seóla',
Traditional Folksongs from Galway and Mayo by Eibhlín Bean Mhic Choisdealbha.


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