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Padraic Colum (1881–1972).  Anthology of Irish Verse.  1922.
 
91. The Fair Hills of Ireland
 
By Samuel Ferguson (Translated)
 
 
A PLENTEOUS place is Ireland for hospitable cheer,
  Uileacán dubh O!
Where the wholesome fruit is bursting from the yellow barley ear;
  Uileacán dubh O!
There is honey in the trees where her misty vales expand,        5
And her forest paths in summer are by falling waters fanned;
There is dew at high noontide there, and springs i’ the yellow sand,
On the fair hills of holy Ireland.
 
Curled he is and ringleted, and plaited to the knee,
  Uileacán dubh O!        10
Each captain who comes sailing across the Irish sea;
  Uileacán dubh O!
And I will make my journey, if life and health but stand
Unto that pleasant country, that fresh and fragrant strand,
And leave your boasted braveries, your wealth and high command,        15
For the fair hills of holy Ireland.
 
Large and profitable are the stacks upon the ground,
  Uileacán dubh O!
The butter and the cream do wonderously abound,
  Uileacán dubh O!        20
The cresses on the water and the sorrels are at hand,
And the cuckoo’s calling daily his note of music bland
And the bold thrush sings so bravely his song i’ the forests grand,
On the fair hills of holy Ireland.
 
Donnchad Ruadh MacNamara, a Munster poet, made this poem about 1730. The refrain in this particular version has nothing to do with hills. The original is sung to the noblest of Irish traditional airs.
 

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