Melody - Translations: English - German - Credits - The story
1. A Úna bhán, is gránna an luighe sin ort|
Ar leabaidh caol árd ameasc na mílte corp;
Muna dtagaidh d' fháidh orm, a stáid-bhean bhí riamh gan locht,
Ní thiocfaidh mé chum na h-áite seo go bráth acht aréir 's anocht.
2. A Úna bhán, a bhláth na ndlaoith ómra,
3. A Úna bhán, d'fhágbhuidh tú mé i mbrón casta,
4. A Úna bhán, ar seisean, na gcurachán cam,
5. A Úna bhán, mar rós i ngáirdín thú,
6. A Úna bhán, is tú do mhearuigh mo chiall;
7. Is fliuch agus fuar mo chuairt-se chum an bhaile aréir,
8. Tá daoine annsan tsaoghal so chaitheas di-mheas ar dhúithche folamh
9. Seasaidh agus dearcaidh, bhfuil mo ró-ghrádh ag tigheacht?
10. A Úna, a ainnir, a charaid, 's a dhéid órdha,
11. Ghluais mé tríd baile mo charad aréir,
1. O fair Una, 'tis ugly, this lying upon you
On a high, narrow bed among a thousand corpses;
If your answering shout does not come to me,
- - - o stately woman who was always without fault - - -
I will not come to this town ever again, but for last night and tonight.
2. O fair Una, o blossom of the amber locks,
3. O fair Una, you left me twisted up in grief,
4. O fair Una, said he of the crooked skiffs,
5. O fair Una, you were like a rose in a garden,
6. O fair Una, it is you who deranged my senses;
7. My visit to the town last night was wet and cold,
8. There are people in this world who hurl contempt on an empty estate,
9. Stand and look, is my great love coming?
10. O Una, maiden, darling, and golden teeth,
11. I passed through my friends' town last night,
Heinrich Möller, Keltische Volkslieder (1925)
2. O Úna Bhán, mit Lokken wie Bernstein!
5. O Úna Bhán, du Röselein, des Gartens Zier!
6. O Úna Bhán, du hast den Sinn mir entzückt.
|The text of Úna Bhán, taken from Douglas Hyde's "Love Songs of Connacht", 1895. The spelling of a few words is adjusted so as to conform with the spelling in Dinneen's Irish dictionary. One verse, which is a variation of the first, is omitted.||Text, literal English translation (which is very close to that of Hyde, but a little smoother) and summation of story supplied by J. Mark Sugars||
Heinrich Möller, Keltische Volkslieder
(1925) has an arrangement of Úna bhán done by Carl
G. Hardebeck from "Gems of Melody" vol. 2. Möller provides
metrical translations of the folksongs in his collection:
John McCormack, Frank Patterson, and Mary O'Hara have all recorded versions of this song.
The following is a summary of the story of Úna
nic Dhiarmada and Tomás Mac Coisteala as given by Douglas
Hyde in "Abhráin Grádh Chúige Connacht or
Love Songs of Connacht" (2nd ed., 1895), pp. 51-60:
The story begins with Tomás Láidir ("the Strong") Mac Coisteala who lived during the reign of Charles II of England. His family had once owned much land, but lost it after Cromwell came to Ireland.
|Úna was the daughter of one Mac Diarmada (or MacDermott), the owner of Castle Carrick, which is located on an island in Lough Cé (Lough Key) in County Roscommon. Úna is the Irish version of the name "Agnes," which is derived from the Latin word for "lamb " (Agnus m. / Agna f.). She and Mac Coisteala fell in love with each other, but her father had already selected a much wealthier man for her to marry, and forbade her even to speak with Mac Coisteala. She grew so sick with grief that she became bedridden, at which point her father relented and allowed Mac Coisteala to visit her in her bedroom.||Úna's joy and relief were so great that she fell asleep during Tomás' visit. The castle seemed deserted at the time, so, mindful of Úna's reputation, Tomás left the premises. As he rode slowly away, he kept expecting that someone from the MacDermott household would show up to invite him back, but no one did. Mac Coisteala's servant repeatedly suggested that MacDermott had been deceiving him about his apparent change of heart. This at last seemed plausible enough that Mac Coisteala vowed that he would never turn back or speak to Úna or any of MacDermott's people unless he were called back before he had crossed the Átha na Donóige ("the Ford of the river Donogue").|
|Mac Coisteala waited for more than half an hour in the middle of the ford. Finally, his servant said, "I think it is a great wonder for a gentleman like you to be cooling in this water for any woman at all in the great world; is your pride not small, to endure a disgrace like that?" "This is true," replied Mac Coisteala, and crossed the ford. Just then a messenger from Úna came running up to invite him back to the castle, but Mac Coisteala would not break his vow. He did, however, kill his servant, with a single blow of his fist.||Úna fell into deep despair when Tomás did not return, and eventually her sadness grew so profound that she died. The night after she was buried on an island in Lough Key, Tomás swam across the lough and spent the night lying on her grave, weeping. He did the same thing the next night. On the night after that, he came to her grave and spoke the first verse of the song, the one that begins "A Úna bhán, is gránna an luighe sin ort..."; at once he felt something like Úna's hand lightly strike his cheek, and heard a voice like Úna's say, "na tarraigh!" ("do not come!"). He departed satisfied, and never went back after that while he was alive. When he died, he was buried in the same graveyard as Úna.|