We are happy to offer some special notes on all of the songs on the CD. Some of the text will be identical to that found on the CD, while there are special comments and further information added--some of which was not able to be printed due to size constraints. We hope you will enjoy this companion to your CD purchase. There are additional external links to other sites offering lyrics and guitar chords and tabulature for your convenience.
There are few love songs that can move with the pace and excitement of this very popular traditional Irish ballad. We perform the song in a fast-paced hornpipe style that lends itself to Bridget's step dancing which can be heard throughout the song.
As with any traditional folk song, there are many different versions of the lyrics to choose from, but the young suitor is as enthusiastic in each.
The County Down is in Northern Ireland. The song celebrates the love of a young man for a girl and the geographical corners of Ireland.
Tony McAleavey was humming the tune for me a few years ago and I went right to work on it. We play the song a bit slower on the CD, but sometimes get it going very fast in live concert. It's one of those tunes that are just a
lot of fun to sing and play.
Jere O'Neill joins in on this song, playing the accordion. He actually changes the sound of the accordion half way through the song. In the first half it is very close to the sound of the fiddle.
Star of the County Down
Near Banbridge Town in the County Down
One morning last July
Down a boreen green came a sweet colleen
And she smiled as she passed me by.
She looked so sweet from her two bare feet
To the sheen of her nut-brown hair
Sure the coaxing elf, I'd to shake myself
F or to see I was really there.
From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay
And from Galway to Dublin town
No maid I've seen like the brown colleen
That I met in the County Down
As she onward sped, sure I shook my head
And I gazed with a feeling quare
And I says, says I, to a passer-by
Who's the maid with the nut-brown hair
He smiled at me and he says, says he,
That's the gem of Ireland's crown,
Young Rosie McCann
From the banks of the Bann,
She's the Star of the County Down.
She'd a soft brown eye and a look so sly
And a smile like a rose in June
And you hung on each note
from her well-tanned throat
As she lilted an Irish tune
At the pattern dance you were held in a trance
As she tripped through a reel or a jig
And when her eyes she'd roll,
Sshe'd coax upon my soul
A spud from a hungry pig.
I've travelled a bit, but never was hit,
Since my roving career began
But fair and square I surrendered there
My heart to young Rosie McCann
With a heart to let and no tenant yet
Did a meet within shawl or gown
But in she went and I asked no rent
From the Star of the County Down
At the harvest fair she'll be surely there
And I'll dress in my Sunday clothes,
And I'll try sheep's eyes and delutherin' lies
On the heart of my nut-brown Rose
No pipe I'll smoke, no horse I'll yoke,
Though my plough with rust turns brown,
Till a smiling bride by my own fireside,
Sits the Star of the County Down.