Tune of the Day: Star of the County Down
This old Irish ballad is set near Banbridge in County Down, in Northern Ireland. The tune of the song, a pentatonic melody, is similar to that of several other works, including the almost identical English tune “Kingsfold”, well known from several popular hymns, such as “Led by the Spirit”. The folk tune was the basis for Ralph Vaughan Williams' Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus.
The song is sung from the point of view of a young man who chances to meet a charming lady by the name of Rose (or Rosie) McCann, referred to as the “star of the County Down”. From a brief encounter the writer's infatuation grows until, by the end of the ballad, he imagines wedding the girl.