Clár 3 in the new series, Sunday September 18th 2016 at 10pm on TG4 . 

#TG4 #SúilEile #damiendempseyofficial


The Rocks of Bawn - Niamh Parsons with Graham Dunne on guitar.

The West's Awake - Damien Dempsey.

Dónal Óg - Elaine Cormican with Nigel Grufferty on fiddle.


Here we go again lads, walkabout into the Irish dreamtime to follow the songlines, the trail of these ancient Irish ballads which are the pride of our nation. But how ancient are they? Who wrote these great classic songs? In programme three I set out in search of the Rocks of Bawn, and end up in a field in County Cavan, in the parish of Mullahoran, in the townland of Bawn, on the Longford border, accompanied by fiddler Antóin MacGabhann, who swears to me that these are the real, actual rocks of Bawn. And I believe him that they are, and even though I have now stood among these legendary rocks, I still understand that the Rocks of Bawn have a mythological significance in the Irish psyche that cannot be pinned down to any one place. We visit three very big songs this week. Consider the epic, cult-like status of Donal Óg. What a huge song! Jesus lads the life is frightened out of the people by that verse that is translated to English, roughly, as; "You took my East from me, You took my West from me, You took what was before me, You took what was behind me, You took the moon, You took the sun from me, and massive is my fear, that you've taken God from me." (my own translation). The fear of losing your religion is a terrible fear, because without your religion "You are nothing". Witness the terrible power and fear that surrounds your religion in this incredibly powerful ballad we call Dónal Óg - Young Donal. Ní fios cé chum, but we do know who composed our third song this week 'The West's Awake'. Originally titled 'The West's Asleep' it was written by Thomas Davis from Mallow, who also penned 'A Nation Once Again' and 'Clare's Dragoons'. What an honour to visit with the great Damien Dempsey and hear his stirring heart-felt version of this big song. I have been a huge admirer of Damo since his first record 'Rolling Down to Dublin Town', and he shows great understanding and respect for the Irish ballad tradition, of which he has now become a part.


Chun an seanchas agus na scéalta taobh thiar des na h-amhráin seo a fheiscint, bígí linn ar TG4 Dé Domhnaigh ar a 10pm.


To hear the stories and histories of these three big Irish ballads tune into TG4 at 10pm this Sunday night 18th September 2016!


Song Detective Spillane, over and out! Amach is amach!


Published on 15th September 2016


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