The Dawning of the Day

The Dawning of the Day

The Dawning of the Day ( _ga. Fáinne Gael an Lae) is an old Irish air composed by the blind harpist Thomas Connellan in the 17th Century.cite book|last= O'Neill|first= Francis|year= 1922|title= Waifs and Strays of Irish Melody|location=Chicago|authorlink= Francis O'Neill] cite book|last= Bunting|first= Edward|year= 1840|title= Ancient Irish Music|authorlink= Edward Bunting]

An Irish-language song with this name ("Fáinne Gael an Lae") was published by Edward Walsh (1805-1850) in 1847 in "Irish Popular Songs" and later translated into English as "The Dawning of the Day". The melody of this song was used by Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh to his poem, "Raglan Road".cite book|last= Kavanagh|first= Peter |year= 1980|title= Sacred Keeper|location= Kildare|pages= p. 126|publisher= Goldsmith Press]

Raglan Road has been was performed by a number of notable artists including: The Dubliners, Sinéad O'Connor, Luke Kelly and Dire Straits.This song also goes by the Gaelic name "Fáinne Geal an Lae" literally "The bright ring of the day" often played as a march and one of the first tunes that a student of Irish music will learn.

This is an Aisling where the poet encounters a mysterious beautiful woman who symbolises Ireland - Cait Ní Duibhir, Caitlín Ní Uallacháin, Róisín Dubh etc. In this case, she upbraids him as a frivolous rake and points to the approaching dawn (of freedom from English rule). At the end of the Desmond Rebellions and Nine Years' War, Irish poets were facing their own elimination as a matter of deliberate English policy.


Helen of Troy is used in the translation rather than the literal Venus simply for its rhythm

The final verse is a poetical rather than literal translation, which would be:

:She said to me "go away:and let me go - you rake!:there from the south the light is coming:with the dawning of the day"


:Maidin moch do ghabhas amach,:Ar bruach Locha Léin;:An Samhradh teacht's an chraobh len'ais,:Is ionrach te ón ngréin,:Ar thaisteal dom trí bhailte:poirt is bánta mine réidhe,:Cé a gheobhainn le máis ach an chúileann deas,:Le fáinne geal an lae.

:Ní raibh bróg ná stoca, caidhp ná clóc;:Ar mo stóirin óg ón spier,:Ach folt fionn órga sios go troigh,:Ag fás go barr an théir.:Bhí calán crúite aici ina glaic,:'S ar dhrúcht ba dheas a scéimh,:Do rug barr gean ar Bhéineas deas,:Le fáinne geal an lae.

:Do shuigh an bhrideog sios le m'ais,:Ar bhrinse glas den fhéar,:Ag magadh léi bhios dá maiomh go pras,:Mar mhnaoi nach scarfainn léi.:'S é dúirt í liomsa, "imigh uaim,:Is scaoil ar siúl mé a réic",:Sin iad aneas na soilse ag teacht,:Le fáinne geal an lae.


:One morning early I went out:On the shore of Lough Leinn:The leafy trees of summertime,:And the warm rays of the sun,:As I wandered through the townlands,:And the luscious grassy plains,:Who should I meet but a beautiful maid,:At the dawning of the day.

:No cap or cloak this maiden wore:Her neck and feet were bare:Down to the grass in ringlets fell:Her glossy golden hair:A milking pail was in her hand:She was lovely, young and gay:Her beauty excelled even Helen of Troy:At the dawning of the day.

:On a mossy bank I sat me down:With the maiden by my side:With gentle words I courted her:And asked her to be my bride:She turned and said, "Please go away,":Then went on down the way:And the morning light was shining bright:At the dawning of the day.

translation by Na Casaidigh


External links

*cite web |title= Dawning of the Day |url= |work= The Fiddler's Companion |year= 2008 |accessdate=2007-08-20

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