Star of the County Down

from by Colin Clark

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about

This old Irish ballad tells of Rose McCann of Banbridge of County Down in Northern Ireland. The tune gained more recognition when it appeared on The Pogues 1989 album Peace and Love.

lyrics

Near Banbridge town, in the County Down
One morning in July
Down a bóithrín green came a sweet cailín
And she smiled as she passed me by.
Oh she looked so sweet from her two bare feet
To the sheen of her nut brown hair
Such a coaxing elf, sure I shook myself
To be sure I was really there.

Chorus:
And from Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay
And from Galway to Dublin town
No maid I've seen like the brown cailín
That I met in the County Down.

As she onward sped I shook my head
And I gazed with a feeling rare
And I said, says I, to a passerby
"Who's the maid with the nut-brown hair?"
He smiled at me, and with pride says he,
"That's the gem of Ireland's crown.
She's young Rosie McCann from the banks of the Bann
She's the star of the County Down."

Chorus

I've travelled a bit, but never was hit
Since my roving career began
But fair and square I surrendered there
To the charms of young Rose McCann.
I'd a heart to let and no tenant yet
Did I meet with in shawl or gown
But in she went and I asked no rent
From the star of the County Down.

Chorus

At the crossroads fair I'll be surely there
And I'll dress in my Sunday clothes
And I'll try sheep's eyes, and deludhering lies
On the heart of the nut-brown rose.
No pipe I'll smoke, no horse I'll yoke
Though with rust my plow turns brown
Till a smiling bride by my own fireside
Sits the star of the County Down.

credits

from Smithsonian, released May 9, 2012
Engineer: Zack Dare
Banjo: Colin Clark

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