Mná na hÉireann

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srampino
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Tell us something.: Playing flute since October 2019. Flutes: practice flute by Hammy Hamilton, R&R-based Delrin keyless by Vincenzo di Mauro, Pratten-based Delrin keyless by Rob Forbes, R&R 6-key polymer M&E, R&R-based 8-key Delrin by Vincenzo di Mauro, R&R 6-key African blackwood by Steffen Gabriel. Based in Pisa, Italy.

Mná na hÉireann

Post by srampino »

(also posted on https://thesession.org/discussions/46045)

Hi all,

for a number of reasons I got interested in the poem Mná na hÉireann attributed to Ulster poet Peadar Ó Doirnín (1704-1796) and set to an air by Seán Ó Riada that I love playing on my flute in the key of D dorian/C major.

The verses are available here and there on the internet (e.g, https://thesession.org/tunes/3890, https://tunearch.org/wiki/Annotation:Mn ... 3%89ireann, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mn%C3%A1_na_h%C3%89ireann) together with a few translations in English, but I must confess that I struggle to figure out what the poem actually is about and if the overall feeling of the text is serious or tragicomic.

Wikipedia hints at a political meaning and places this song into a genre of songs where Ireland is represented by a woman demanding Irishmen to defend her, or pondering why they fail to.

Seosaimhín Ní Bheaglaoich, accompanied by Steve Cooney, sings a lovely version here https://www.rte.ie/archives/2020/1208/1 ... -heireann/ and then adds: "In it is expressed the total confusion of a young man who has the admiration of all the women of Ireland and he can’t cope - an fear bocht!".

Below is the full poem from Wikipedia - though only the first, second and last verses are usually sang.

Tá bean in Éirinn a phronnfadh séad domh is mo sháith le n-ól
Is tá bean in Éirinn is ba bhinne léithe mo ráfla ceoil
Ná seinm théad; atá bean in éirinn is níorbh fhearr léi beo
Mise ag léimnigh nó leagtha i gcré is mo thárr faoi fhód

Tá bean in Éirinn a bheadh ag éad liom mur’ bhfaighfinn ach póg
Ó bhean ar aonach, nach ait an scéala, is mo dháimh féin leo;
Tá bean ab fhearr liom nó cath is céad dhíobh nach bhfagham go deo
Is tá cailín spéiriúil ag fear gan Bhéarla, dubhghránna cróin.

Tá bean i Laighnibh is nios mhiste léithe bheith límh liom ar bord,
Is tá bean i bhFearnmhaigh a ghéabhadh bhéarsai is is sárbhinne glór,
Bhí bean ar thaobh cnoic i gCarraig Éamoinn a níodh gáire ag ól
Is tráth bhí ina maighdin ní mise d’éignigh dá chois ó chomhar.

Tá bean a leafgfadh, nífead is d’fhuaifeadh cáimric is sról,
Is tá bean a dhéanfadh de dh’olainn gréas is thairnfeadh an bhró
Tá bean is b’fhearr leí ag cruinniú déirce nó cráite re cró
Is tá bean ‘na ndéidh uile a luífeadh lé fear is a máthair faoi fhód

Tá bean a déarnadh an iomad tréanais is grá Dia mór,
Is tá bean nach mbéarfadh a mionna ar aon mhodh is nach n-ardódh glór;
Ach thaisbeáuin saorbhean a ghlacfadh lé fear go cráifeach cóir
Nach mairfeadh a ghléas is nach mbainfeadh léithe i gcás ar domhan.

Tá bean a déarfadh dá siulfainn léi go bhfaighinn an t-ór,
Is tá bean ‘na léine is fearr a méin ná táinte bó
Le bean a bhuairfeadh Baile an Mhaoir is clár Thír Eoghain,
Is ní fheicim leigheas ar mo ghalar féin ach scaird a dh’ól

Any comment, especially from Irish-speaking people, would be much appreciated.

Thanks a lot
Sergio
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