Cáislean Droma Mhor - The Castle of Dromore

Guardian Angel
An Irish Lullaby

This lullaby is one of the oldest extant Irish songs, lulling a child to sleep with a prayer for safety against the wild weather and "Clan Eoin's wild Banshee." The song, Castle Of Dromore is sometimes called October Winds. There are at least four castles named Castle of Dromore or Dromore Castle in the counties Down, Kerry, Limerick and Tyrone. Several discussions on the Internet are dedicated to pinpoint the geographical location of the lullaby Castle of Dromore without decisive outcome. Without solid proof Dromore Castle, in County Tyrone is taking the lead. Clan Owen in the second verse refers to the descendants of Eoghan, anglicised in Owen. This clan once possessed the counties Tyrone, or Tir Eoghan, and Derry and parts of County Donegal. The presence of a black water in County Tyrone is circumstantial evidence as there are dozens of black waters on Ireland. The banshee point towards a fairy-like vicious woman originating from or serving Clan Owen (perhaps some sort of clan ghost).

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le Dúbhghlas de hÍde

1. Tá gaotha an gheimhridh sgallta fuar,
Thart thimchioll an Drom'-mhóir,
Ach ann sna halla tá siothchán,
A pháiste gheal a stóir.
Ta gach sean-duilleog dul air crith,
ach is og an beannglan thú,


Seinimis lothin lú ló lan
Seinim loithin lú ló

2. Nár thig aon droch-rud idir mé's
mo naoidheanán gan bhrón,
Nar thig aon tais ó'n Abhainn Mhóir
na Bean-sidhe Chloinne Eoghain,
á Muire Máthair ós ár g-cionn
ag iarradh grása duinn;


3. A Róis mo chroídhe, a Slaithín ur
a's gharrha an Drom'-mhóir,
Bí ag fás go mbeídh gach cleite beag,
mar sgiathán iolair mhóir,
Agus léim ann sin air fad an t-saoghail,
oibrigh a's saothraigh clú;


by Sir Harold Boulton

1. The October winds lament
Around the castle of Dromore
Yet peace is in her lofty halls
A pháiste gheal a stóir. *
Though autumn vines may droop and die
A bud of spring are you.


Sing hushabye low, lah, loo, lo lan
Sing hushabye low, lah loo

2. Bring no ill wind to hinder us
My helpless babe and me
Dread spirit of the Blackwater
Clan Eoan's wild banshee
And holy Mary pitying us in heaven
For grace doth sue


3. Take time to thrive my ray of hope
In the garden of Dromore
Take heed young eaglet till your wings
Are feathered fit to soar
A little rest and then our land
Is full of things to do


The words of the song were written by Sir Harold Boulton to a traditional tune, My Wife is Sick. The Irish Gaelic words are a translation into Irish of Boulton's lyric, made by Douglas Hyde. Subsequently a good few people have assumed (having not read the book in which the song was published in 1892) that the Irish words must be older, and a rumour has long circulated that they are 18th century, which would have surprised Hyde! The Irish lyrics are from Songs of the Four Nations, 2nd ed., edited by Harold Boulton (J.B. Cramer, 1892, 215-220; with music.)

The Castle of Dromore - chords
(Lullaby 6/8-time) 
         D                (D6)      A7        D      Bm       A
1.  Oc - tober winds la - ments a - round the Castle of Dro - more.
        Bm       G       A     D       Em      A7    D  
    Yet peace is in it´s lofty halls a pháiste bán a stór.
           Bm     A          G         D      F#m    Em         D
    Though autumn leaves may droop and die, a bud of spring are you.
         G          A     D     Bm        G          A     D   
    Sing hush-a-bye lú-ló-lú-ló-lán, sing hush-a-bye lú-ló-lú.

Courtesy of Jack & Vivian, IrishPage.com October 2022
According to a newsgroup post Castle Dromore
is the castle in the movie, High Spirits
* The Irish words A pháiste gheal a stór mean My loving treasure store
The Castle of Dromore is sung by Matt Connolly
Replay background music: Dromore.mid

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