Baile Uí Laí (Tom Pháidín Tom)

Play recording: Baile Uí Laí (Tom Pháidín Tom)

view / hide recording details [+/-]

  • Teideal (Title): Baile Uí Laí (Tom Pháidín Tom).
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): none.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): none.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): none.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): Irish.
  • Catagóir (Category): song.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Tom Pháidín Tom Ó Coistealbha.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): Séamus Mac Mathúna.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): March 1973 to January 1976.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): Multiple venues in Conamara and Dublin.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): Various sessions.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): unknown.
  • Athchóiriú digiteach (Digital restoration): Fionn Ó Sealbhaigh.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): © Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. All rights reserved.
  • Stádas chóipcheart ábhair bhreise (Additional material copyright status): Album artwork and original text © Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. All rights reserved.

NB: This entry was taken from Tom Pháidín Tom, a vinyl album recorded, edited and produced by Séamus Mac Mathúna and released by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.

Agus ag dul ag an Aifreann dom le toil na nGrásta
Do bhí an lá ’ báisteach agud d’árduigh an ghaoth
Casadh an ainnir liom le taoibh Chilltártain
Agus thuit mé láithreach i ngrá le mnaoí
Labhair mé léi go múinte mánla
’S de réir a cáileacht sea d’fhreagair sí
Sé dúirt sí, Raiftearai, tá m’intinn sásta
Agus gluais go lá linn go Bail’ Uí Laí

Ó fuair mé an tairiscint níor leig mé ar cáirde é
Rinne mé gáire agus gheit mo chroí
Ní raibh le dhul againn ach treasna na páirce
’S nior thug muid an lá linn ach go tóin a’ tí
Leagadh againn bórd a raibh gloine a’s cárta air
Agus cúilfhionn fáinneach le m’ais na suí
’Sé dúirt si Raiftearaí bí ag ól ’s céad fáilte
Tá ’n soiléar láidir i mBail’ Uí Laí
.

Ós nach aoibhinn aerach ar thaobh an tsléibhe
Ag breathnú síos ar Bhail’ Uí Laí.
Ag siubhal sna gleanntaibh ’ baint cnó agus sméara
Agus ceiliúir éan ann mar ceolta sidhe
Cé’n bhri san méid úd go bhfaighmuid léargus
Ar bhláth na gcraobh atá le do thaoibh
Níl maith dhá shéanadh ná dhá ceilt ar éinne
Ach sí spéir na gréine úd a bhréagh mo chroi.

Shiubhal mé Sasana, an Fhrainc frí chéile
An Spáin, ’san Ghréig agus ar m’ais aris
Ó bhruach Loch Gréine go dtí Béal na Céibhe
’S ní fhaca mé féirin a ba dheise ná í
Dá mbeinn‑se pósta le bláth na h‑óige
Tré Loch a’ Tóraic a leanfhainn í
Cuanta a’s cóstaí, shiubhalfhainn bóithre
I ndiaidh an tseóidhbhean ’tá i mBail’ Uí Laí.

Sí Máire Ní Eidhin an stáid-bhean bhéasach
Ba dheise méin agus b’áille gnaoi
Dhá chéad cléireach ’s a gcur le chéile
Trian a threithre ní fhéadfhadh scriobh
Bhuail si Déirdre le breaghthacht agus Venus
’S dá n‑abrainn Helen le’r scroiseadh na Traoi
Ach is scoth ban Éireann as ucht an mhéid sin
Sí an posae gléigeal bhí i mBail’ Uí Laí.

A réaltain an tsolais agus a ghriain an Fhomhair
A chúilfhionn ómra agus a chuid de’n tsaoil
An ngluaisfeá liom‑sa faoi chomhair an Domhnaigh
Go ndéanfaimid comhairle cá mbeidh ár suí.
Nior mhór dhúinn ceol duit gach aon oíche Dhomhnaigh
Puinnse ar bórd agus dá n‑ólfa, fíon
Ach a Rí na Glóire go dtrimigh an bóthar
Go bhfághmuid an t‑eolas go Bail’ Uí Laí.

NB: Other than the correction of one or two obvious typos, this is a faithful transcription of the words as given in the sleeve notes.


The lyrics to Baile Uí Laí, on page 7 the insert booklet.
Baile Uí Laí lyrics. (Insert booklet, page 7.)

Translation

On the Mass-path by the Lord of Graces,
The skies were rainy, the wind was high,
Beside Kiltartan I met a maiden
Whose eyes waylaid me with sudden wile.
I gave her greeting polite and stately,
She answered gracious as any Queen:
O Raftery, said she, could fate be kinder?
Now step beside me to Ballylee
.

I stood bewitched by that voice of sweetness,
My heart was leaping, my pulses raced;
I walked beside her across the meadows,
And evening fell as we reached the gate.
Glass shone on tables, the ale was winking,
Head of the ringlets, I felt you near!
Raftery, said she, now drink, you’re welcome,
There’s strength in cellars of Ballylee
.

Tis airy walking beside the mountain
—and looking down upon Ballylee,
Through glens of blackthorn bush and hazel,
And birds like fairies in choir you hear.
What use is all unless fate allots you
The Branches’ Blossom to crown delight?
I can’t deny or conceal it ever
That she’s my treasure, my sunlit sky.

I walked through England and France for years once,
Through Spain and Greece and the long way home,
And from Loch Gréine to Galway’s quay-side,
But her beauty’s equal I’ve never known.
Were my bride this Flower of Tír‑na‑n‑Óg now,
Through Loch a’ Toraic I’d ride my steed,
By coasts and harbours and trackless oceans
If I lost the Rosebud of Ballylee.

Oh, Mary Hynes is my choice of ladies
For matchless face and bewitching eyes;
The host of learned scholars of Erin
One-half her fairness could hardly write.
Don’t talk of Venus or Deirdre’s true love,
Or Helen whose beauty filled Troy with spears,
The Blossom of Erin outshines their glory,
The bright-hued Posy of Ballylee.

O Sun of Harvest, O Starlight glancing,
O locks of amber, my share of joy,
Will you fly with me now, before next Sunday,
Through all the world we can dwell at choice.
On Sunday evenings I’d play you music
When wicks illumine the wine and mead;
O King of Glory, make dry the roadway
That leads me over to Ballylee.

NB: Other than some minor reformatting, this is a faithful transcription of the words as given in the sleeve notes.

Tom Pháidín Tom Ó Coistealbha (cuid 1)

By Máire Ní Neachtain

Máire, a native of Baile ’n tSagairt, knew Tom Pháidín Tom when she was growing up and in this short article she shares some insights and remniscences with us. The piece has been left untranslated but most of the interesting points are echoed in English in the notes below, and in the notes for Tom’s renditions of An Bonnán Buí and Brídín Bhéasaigh.

Baile ’n tSagairt


Radharc de bhóithrín Bhaile ’n tSagairt, mar a mbuaileann sé le Bóthar an Chósta. Leac, leabaithe i gclaí, agus na focail Baile ’n tSagairt greannta inti sa gcló Ghaelach.
Ceann a’ bhóthair, Baile ’n tSagairt; Earrach 2020.

Is maith is cuimhneach liom Tom Pháidín Tom agus mé ag éirí aníos i mBaile ’n tSagairt. B’shin é an seanfhear a shiúladh go sciobtha síos aníos an baile, cuma air go mbíodh deifir mhór air!

Is baile fearainn é Baile ’n tSagairt atá suite timpeall míle taobh thoir de shráidbhaile an Spidéil agus is ann a rugadh, a tógadh agus a mhair Tom; duine de dháréag clainne de chlann Uí Choistealbha. Roimh dheireadh na naoú aoise déag a rugadh é, ar an 25 Márta 1894 agus chaith sé an saol a chaith na glúnta dá mhuintir roimhe ag saothrú a mbeatha ar an ngabhaltas a bhí acu ó thuaidh den chlochán inar chónaigh muintir Uí Chonghaile, Uí Neachtain agus Bhaireád freisin.

Teaghlach ceolmhar ab ea muintir Choistealbha. Chas Páidín, athair Tom, an fheadóg mhór agus bhí an-cháil ar bheirt de chol ceathracha Tom: Peait Sheáin Tom, an píobaire, agus Kate Sheáin Tom, an t‑amhránaí breá. Thug Kate riar amhrán do Mháire Ní Scolaí, agus dar ndóigh, b’í máthair Fheistí Uí Chonláin í, duine de na ceoltóirí ba mhó aithne as ceantar Chois Fharraige ariamh.

Thug Tom stór breá amhrán leis, i nGaeilge agus i mBéarla. Is cosúil gur ó leathanaigh an Ireland’s Own a fuair sé go leor den ábhar Béarla. De bhreis ar an amhránaíocht bhí sé thar barr ag portaireacht bhéil; foinn a thug sé leis ó cheol feadóige a athar is dóigh. Bhí stíl dá chuid féin ag Tom; í éadrom agus bríomhar agus é i mbun sean-ríleanna agus port; leithéidí Miss Monaghan’s agus The Collier’s, foinn damhsa a mbíodh an-tóir orthu. Bhí an-mheas go deo ag an amhránaí clúiteach as an Aird Thoir, Dara Bán Mac Donnacha, ar Tom, is ar a leagan den Bhonnán Buí go háirid.

Siamsaíocht sna tithe ba mhó i gceist i dtús shaoil Tom agus bhíodh daoine ag casadh go ciúin, socair dóibh féin agus iad i mbun a gcuid cúraimí ar an bportach nó sa ngarraí. Ach d’athraigh an saol agus d’athraigh láthair agus ócáidí na n-amhrán agus an cheoil freisin.

(ar leanúint san iontráil An Bonnán Buí)

Notes

By Míċeál Ó Loċlainn

Compare and contrast


The front cover artwork for the Tom Pháidín Tom album. A large sepia image of Tom himself, vignetted by scattered pages of sheetmusic.
The Tom Pháidín Tom front cover.

This is one of the series of entries in the Cartlanna which highlight Joe Éinniú’s singing in local, national and international contexts.

The Cartlanna include a rendition by Joe of Baile Uí Laí which originally appeared as the first track on the B-side of his 1976 album, Ó Mo Dhúchas (Gael-Linn CEF 051; released in 1976). The album was later re-released in 2007 as part of Seosamh Ó hÉanaí: Ó Mo Dhúchas (Gael Linn CEFCD 191–2), a double CD which combines the original vinyl releases of Ó Mo Dhúchas and Seosamh Ó hÉanaí (Gael Linn CÉF 028; released in 1971). The CD was itself re-released in 2018.

In this entry, we hear Baile Uí Laí sung by Tom Pháidín Tom Ó Coistealbha (1894–1979*) from Baile ’n tSagairt near An Spidéal, some 40 miles east of Joe’s native district and about 15 miles west of Galway City. It was taken from the 1977 album, Tom Pháidín Tom, recorded, edited and produced by Séamus Mac Mathúna and released by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.

Tom Pháidín Tom was released on 33⅓ RPM vinyl and has had, to date, no re-release on CD or on any other format. However, the interested reader may be able to find a secondhand copy of the thirty-three.

For readers unfamiliar with Irish, ‘Pháidín’ is pronounced, roughly, ‘faa-deen’; to rhyme with the ‘southern-centric’ Received Pronunciation of ‘far dean’. ‘Baile ’n tSagairt’ is pronounced similar to ‘bile-n-toggirt’. For those familiar with linguistic transcription: /fɑː d′iːn′/ and /bail′ ən tɑgɪrt′/.

*The parish records at Cill Éinde give his precise date of birth as 25th March 1894 and his date of death as 29th November 1979. Glacann muid buíochas leis an Athair Séan Mac Aoidh as ucht an eolas seo a dheimhniú dhúinn.

Sleeve notes

The album’s copious sleeve notes were written by Mac Mathúna, John Lewis and Máire Áine (Ní Dhonnchadha, of Deora Aille fame), and are found on both the outer cover and an accompanying eight-page European Fanfold (8½″ × 12″) booklet.

Tom Pháidín Tom: spanning generations


The first page of the booklet accompanying the Tom Pháidín Tom album. Plain, cream-coloured page with a large vignetted photo of Tom himself in the top left-hand corner. His name is in large Gaelic print in the bottom right hand corner.
Front cover of the booklet accompanying Tom Pháidín Tom.

As debut albums go — solo albums especially — Tom Pháidín Tom is remarkable in that it was recorded and released when Tom was in his eighties. One of a family of twelve, he’d been born toward the end of the Victorian Era — in the very same month that Coca Cola was first sold in bottles! — and yet the album came out in the same year that Apple released its first mainstream personal computer.

As is often the case in rural Ireland, if the family weren’t financially well-off they were very rich musically. Mac Mathúna discusses this in the sleeve notes:

Rugadh Tom Pháidín Tom (Tomás Ó Coistealbha) i mBaile ’n tSagairt i mí na Márta 1894. Bhí dáréag sa chlann, agus muna raibh mórán de shaibhreas an tsaoil aca is cinnte go raibh saibhreas ceoil sa tig. Do sheinneadh Páidín Tom [athair Tom] an fheadóg mhór, agus ’sé tuairim Thomáis nár chuala sé féin duine ar bith ní b’fhearr ná a athair i mbun feadóige.

The matter of Tom’s continued vitality at that age, not only in terms of singing, is remarked upon by Lewis in the accompanying booklet and he goes on to observe that Tom (just like Joe Éinniú himself of course, and many other torch-bearers) represented a social and cultural link that reached back as far as the first half of the ninteenth century:

Tom is now 83. He saves his own turf and cooks and bakes for himself in the thatched cottage in which his parents lived the same way of life, his grand-parents before that and his great-grand-parents before that…

…His memories form a mosaic that records every aspect of the native music of the Spiddal area over the past 70 years, and through his father his knowledge extends back into the last century. Tom’s father, Páraic Ó Coistealbha, was born in 1834…

Following this same thread of cultural continuity, Máire Áine, a native of An Cnoc, about four miles west of Baile ’n tSagairt, attests to the way Tom’s singing on this record propagates an ancient fireside musical heritage, keeping it alive in the present day:

Ar chéad chloisteáil téip Tom Pháidín Tom dom is siar ar bhóithrín na smaointe a thug sé mé — siar go dtí m’óige i gCois Fharraige, siar go dtí na timeannaí ’sna tithe… Tá sampla ceart san gceirnín seo don chaoi a raibh an ceol i gCois Fharraige an tráth úd.

Tom Pháidín Tom: recorded live

The tracks on this album aren’t studio recordings. The sleeve notes state that all recording was done at ordinary music sessions, in Conamara and Dublin, where Tom would be at his ease and where those present would be invested in and receptive to the material:

…ag seisiúin nuair a bheadh cóluadar feiliúnach againn agus Tom féin ar a sháimhín sógha. Na taifeadáin [seo], deineadh iad ag seisiúin éagsúla i gConamara agus i mBlá Cliath idir Márta 1973 agus Eanair 1976.

Interestingly, the songs were recorded over a period of very nearly three years — March 1973 to January 1976 — but unfortunately there’s no listing of when and where each recording took place.

Digital restoration

This song was digitised directly from a cleaned, good-condition copy of the vinyl album. It was then digitally restored by Fionn Ó Sealbhaigh at Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge to exise clicks, crackles and surface noise. The restoration process was in most respects the same as that carried out on a 1932 Linguaphone Conversational Irish box set of 78 RPM shellac records for the Coisín Shiúlach project, which celebrates the sean-nós singer Sorcha Ní Ghuairim; a contemporary of Joe Éinniú’s.

Thanks and credits

Glacann muid buíochas le Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, agus le Siobhán Ní Chonaráin go háirid, as cead an taifeadadh seo, clúdach an albaim ⁊ na nótaí clúdaigh a chur ar fáil sna Cartlanna.