An Bád Sí - The Faerie Boat

faerie boat

Amhrán nua é seo as dán le Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill go bhfuiltear le fáil ina bailiúchán cuireadh The Astrakhan Cloak.

This is a poem by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill from her collection entitled The Astrakhan Cloak. Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin set it to music in 1992 and recorded it on her album An Dara Craiceann. The English translation is by Paul Muldoon. It is the story of a phantom boat with men at the oars rowing for dear life. This is in the tradition of north-western Ireland particularly around Tory Island. The Irish call it a faerie boat. We would call it a haunted ship.

le Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill
1. Triúr a chonaic is triúr nach bhfaca.
Na fearaibh ar na maidí rámha
Seacaidí gorma is caipíní dearga
A' dhul isteach go Faill na Mná.

by Paul Muldoon.
Three who saw and three who didn’t.
The men rowing for dear life
With their blue jerkins and red bonnets
Putting in at the Women’s Cliff.

2. Sinne a bhí ag piocadh duilisc
Ar chlocha ins an Chuaisín.
Mise is Neill is Nóra a chonaic iad
'S triúr eile ní fhaca rian.

Three of us who were picking dulse (red seaweed)
On the rocks at Coosheen.
Nell and Nora and myself
Saw them, the other three saw no sign.

3. Bhí ár gceannaibh síos go talamh
a' piocadh linn 's ár naprúin lán.
Mise is túisce a d'ardaigh m'amharc
Nuair a chualamar fuaim na maidí rámha.

Our heads were intent upon the earth
As we picked away our aprons full.
I was the first to look up when we heard
The creak of the oars as they pulled.

4. Ní fhéadfainn a rá an cúigear nó seisear
De fhearabih a bhí istigh sa mbád.
Bhí duine acu thiar ina deireadh á stiúradh
Is gan aon chor as ach oiread leis an mbás.

I couldn’t tell if there were five fellows
Or six in the skiff.
There was one at the tiller
Who looked like death himself.

5. Do liús is do bhéiceas féachaint
Isteach faoin bhfaill cár ghabh an bád
Chonaic an triúr iad 's ní fhaca an triúr eile
In áit chomh cúng nach rachadh ach rón

I shouted out to look below
Under the cliff where by my soul
At least three of us have seen them go
Through a place so narrow only a seal might pass

6. Is dá mbeidís ag straenáil ann go maidin
Go bráth na breithe ní fheicfeadh rian
Den mbád úd nárbh aon bhád saolta é
A chonaic le mo dhá shúil cinn

And not before the crack of doom
Would we have found a trace
Of our unearthly, our phantom boat
That we saw with our own eyes

7. Ó dúirt na seandaoine linn nár mhithid
Theacht 'na bhaile 's an choróin a rá
Mar gur minic a bhí a leithéid ann cheana
Á thaibhsiú do dhaoine ar an mbá

The elders advised us to head home
And say the rosary
For this same vision had often come
To people out on the sea

8. Triúr a chonaic is triúr nach bhfaca
Na fearaibh ar na maidí rámha
Seacaidí gorma is caipíní dearga
A' dhul isteach go Faill na Mná

Three who saw and three who didn’t
The men rowing for dear life
With their blue jackets and red bonnets
Putting in at the Women’s Cliff

Courtesy of Vivian & Jack. IrishPage.com (10.04) November, 28, 2011.
In the absence of the original music by Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin, we have
Replay midi background music: Rivers run free


Back to Poems List
Don liosta dánta