Tune of the Day: Carrickfergus
The origins of this Irish folk song are unclear, but it has been traced to an Irish language song, “Do Bhí Bean Uasal” (“There Was a Noblewoman”), which is attested to the poet Cathal Buí Mac Giolla Gonna, who died in 1745. The original Irish lyrics were about an unfaithful wife, a bawdy and humorous ditty. By contrast, the English lyrics are sentimental and nostalgic.
I wish I was in Carrickfergus,
only for nights in Ballygran
I would swim over the deepest ocean,
the deepest ocean for my love to find
But the sea is wide and I cannot swim over
and neither have I wings to fly
If I could find me a handsome boatman
to ferry me over to my love and die
The song has been recorded by many well-known performers including Joan Baez, Dominic Behan, Charlotte Church, The Dubliners, Van Morrison, Bryan Ferry, Loreena McKennitt and Órla Fallon of Celtic Woman.