An Chúilfhionn - The Coolin'
The Fair Haired One

The Coolin' is one of the most popular airs in Irish, Within this popularity scale, it is also popular with many for their wedding music... It is placed here in the waltz category by nature of the basic time signature ~ 3/4. Historically, this is in the Bunting collection (1773 - 1843) where he describes it as a 'harp air'.

<bgsound src="../midi/coolin.mid" loop="1">

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An bhfaca tú an chúilfhionn 's í ag siúl ar na bóithre
Maidin gheal drúchta 's gan smúit ar a bróga?
Is iomaí ógánach súilghlass ag tnúth lena pósadh
Ach ní bhfaigheann siad mo rúnsa an gcuntas is dóigh leo.

Have you seen my fair-haired girl walking the roads?
A bright dewy morning without a smudge on her shoes?
Many a young man is envious and longing to marry her
But they won't get my treasure matter what they think.

An bhfaca tú mo spéirbhean lá breá is í ina haonar
A cúl dualach drisleanach go slinneán síos léi?
Mil ar an ógbhean is rós breá ina héadan
'S is dóigh le gach spreasán gur leannán leis féin í.

Have you seen my beautiful woman, a fine day and she is alone?
Her hair curling and twining, hanging down about her shoulders
Sweet young woman with the rosy blush on her brow
And every worthless man hopes she will be his lover.

An bhfaca tú mo bhábán 's í taobh leis an toinn
Fáinní óir ar a méara sí ag réiteach a cinn?
'Sé dúirt an Paorach a bhí ina mhaor ar an loing
Go mb'fhearr leis aige féin í ná Éire gan roinn.

Have you seen my maid beside the sea
Gold rings on her fingers she is making up her mind?
Mr. Power, who is the master of a ship, said
He would prefer to have her than the whole of Ireland.

coolin notes

Harp tune by Thomas Moore

Evidently the lyrics above are not the original as they speak of a maiden whereas the other text, her lover.
In the twenty-eighth year of the reign of Henry VIII [i.e., 1536-7], an Act was made respecting the habits, and dress in general, of the Irish, whereby all persons were restrained from being shorn or shaven above the ears, or from wearing Glibbes or Coulins (long locks), on their heads, or hair on their upper lip, called Crommeal. On this occasion a song was written by one of our Bards, in which an Irish maiden is made to give the preference to her dear Coulin (or the youth with the flowing locks), to all strangers (by which the English were meant), or those who wore their habits. Of this song the air alone has reached us, and is universally admired.

Courtesy of Vivian & Jack. March 2024.
Foghraiocht ó Gearóid Ó hAnnaidh as Lucsamburg
Replay background music: The Coolin

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