Mo bhrón ar an bhfarraige - My grief on the sea

Mo bhrón ar an bhfarraige
Is é tá mór,
Is é gabháil idir mé
'S mo mhíle stór.

Fagadh san mbaile mé
Déanamh bróin,
Gan aon tsúil tar sáile liom
Choíche ná go deo.

Mo léan nach bhfuil mise
'Gus mo mhúirnín bán
I gCúige Laighean
Ná i gContae an Chláir.

Mo bhrón nach bhfuil mise
'Gus mo mhíle grá
Ar bord loinge
Triall go Meiriceá.

Leaba luachra
Bhí fúm aréir,
Agus chaith mé amach é
Le teas an lae.

Tháinig mo ghrá-sa
Le mo thaobh
Gualainn ar ghualainn
Agus béal ar bhéal.

My grief is of the sea
What a gulf it is
which separates my love,
my world and his.

I was left at home
Where I sat grieving
Forever without
any hope of leaving

I sorely regret that
we're not there
in Leinster province
nor County Clare.

My sorrow is that
my love and I were
not on that ship
to America.

I slept in a bed
that was hard last night
and I threw it out
when it grew light.

My love came to me
and lay at my side
shoulder to shoulder
for awhile to abide.

This is a song from Douglas Hyde's book "Love-Songs of Connacht" published in 1893. Hyde, born in 1860 in Roscommon, was a Protestant who became the first president of Ireland. He died in 1949.

Hyde heard the song "My Grief on the Sea", from a woman named Brighid ni Chorsuaidh who was almost a hundred years old and living in a hut in the middle of a bog in Co. Roscommon. A footnote says: "Tá sí marbh anois agus a cuid amhrán léi" -- "she is dead now and her share of songs with her".

I am not a poet but I wrote what could be called a loose translation in rhyme into the English. I invite anyone who would like to improve on it to email me at: [email protected]

Courtesy of
Manahawkin, Ocean County, NJ USA
[ Background Music: Rose of Tralee ]