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Lyr Req: The Barge of Gorry Crovan / Gorrie Crovan

11 Mar 01 - 05:12 AM (#415070)
Subject: The barge of Gorry Crovan
From: TamthebamfraeScotland

I'm looking for the words to a song called The barge of Gorry Crovan, if there's anyone out there who can help me I would be really grateful.


11 Mar 01 - 06:16 AM (#415078)
Subject: Birlinn Ghoraidh Chrobhain/Barge of Gorrie Crovan
From: Malcolm Douglas

Text in Duncan Johnston's original Gaelic (Birlinn Ghoraidh Chrobhain) together with an English translation, may be seen in an archived discussion at  The Corries Discussion Forum


11 Mar 01 - 06:28 AM (#415084)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The barge of Gorry Crovan
From: TamthebamfraeScotland

Thank you Malcolm for that,

I did find the words there so Thanks again

11 Mar 01 - 10:25 AM (#415162)
From: Malcolm Douglas

(Donnachadh Mac Iain) (Duncan Johnston)

Hbhan na hbhan h,
Hi hor na hubhan,
Hbhan na hbhan h,
Air Brlinn Ghoraidh Chrobhain

Hbhan na hbhan h,
Hi hor na hubhan,
Hbhan na hbhan h,
The barge of Gorrie Crovan
Fichead sonn air cl nan rmh,
Fichead buille lghmhor,
Sibhlaidh i mar eun a' snmh,
Is sioban thonn 'ga sgirsadh.
Behind the oars, a score so brave,
A lusty score to row her,
She sails away like bird on wave,
While foaming seas lash o'er her.
Suas i sheid air barr nan tonn!
Sos gu iochdar sigh i!
Suas an cel is togaibh fonn,
Tha Mac an Rgh 'ga stiireadh!
Up she goes on ocean wave!
Down the surge she wails O,
Sing away; the chorus raise,
A royal prince; he sails her!
A' Bhrlinn Roghail, 's i a th' ann,
Siubhal-sith 'na gluasad,
Srl is soda rd ri crann,
'Si Bratach Olaibh Ruaidhe (2)
The royal galley onward skims,
With magic speed, she sails O,
Aloft her silken bunting swims,
Red Olav's Banner waving.
Dh' fhg sinn Manainn (3) mr nan trr,
Eirinn a' tighinn dlth dhuinn,
Air le-an-Fheir tha sinn an tir
Ged dh' ireas tonnan dubh-gorm.
The towers of Man we leave away,
Old Erin's hills we hail O,
On Islay's shore her course we lay
Though billows roar and rave O.
Siod e 'nis-an t-eilean crom! (4)
Tr nan sonn nach diltadh,
Stp na dbhe 'thoirt air lom
'S bdh fleadh air bonn 'san Dn (5) duinn!
See the island bent like bow,
Where kindly souls await us;
The Castle hall, I see it now,
The feast's for us prepared O.

Gaelic and English texts by Duncan Johnston (Donnachadh Mac Iain), published in his book Cronan nan Tonn (The Croon of the Sea) 1938/9 and reprinted in 1997 by Dun Eisden of Inverness (ISBN: 1 872047 04 1). These are his comments on the song:

"Theme - The passage of the royal galley from the Isle of Man to the Isle of Isla, 1095.

(1) Godred, or Gorry Crovan was, according to the ancient sagas, the son of Harald the Black of Isla. Tradition has it that his mother was a lady of the subdued House of Angus Beag, son of Erc, who occupied Isla in 498. This explains his remarkable popularity with both the Norse and Celtic elements in the west. His grand-daughter, Regnaldis (Raonaild), daughter of Olave the Red, afterwards married Somerled, who displaced Red Olave as King of the Isles. Somerled founded the Dynasty of the Lords of the Isles, with its headquarters on an island on Loch Finlagan in Isla. Godred was a celebrated warrior of the eleventh century. He acted as Adjutant to the King of Norway at the battle of Stamford Bridge, 1066. Escaping from that stricken field, he made his way to the Isle of Man, and thence to Isla, where he raised his standard. The Norsemen and the Gaels alike flocked to his standard. With a large force, he crossed over into the North of Ireland (Ulster), and carried everything before him up to the gates of Dublin, which City surrendered to him. For a time, he waged a successful war against the King of Scotland. In Isla he was spoken of with saintly reverence because of his prowess and dauntless gallantry in ridding the island of a huge saurian that had his lair near the present village of Bridgend. Many of our Clans and their Septs of the west can claim descent from Godred. The MacDougalls, MacDonalds, MacAllisters, MacRuaries, MacRanalds, MacIains, etc. He died in Isla in 1095, and his grave is marked with a huge white boulder, known locally as "An Carragh Ban." He founded the Dynasty of the Kingdom of the Isles, of Dublin and of Man. He was succeded by his son King Lagman, who reigned at the time of the "Sack of Isla" by Magnus Barefoot . Lagman was taken prisoner. He latterly, after a short reign of seven years, embraced Christianity, abdicated in favour of his brother, Olave the Red, and went to Palestine to fight for the Holy Sepulchre. He is buried at Jerusalem.

(2) Olave the Red, third son of Godred Crovan, and father of the princess Regnaldis.

(3) The Isle of Man.

(4) Isla, so called in Fingalian Poetry. Approaching the island at dusk from the south, the skyline presents the appearance of a bent bow - "Tha e crom mar bhogha air ghleus."

(5) Dunyveg or Dn Naomhaig Castle, more properly, Dn Aonghais Bhig, abbreviated "aobhaig." This was the House of Aengus, or Aonghas Beag, son of Erc, 498."

The above was transcribed from Johnston's book by somebody called Denis for the Corries Discussion Forum; he did not have accents available at the time, so I have restored these so far as my limited knowledge of Gaelic permits: any mistakes are mine.


20 Nov 08 - 09:43 PM (#2499006)
Subject: Lyr Add: Birlinn Ghoraidh Chrobhain
From: Genie

Glad to find this thread with the lyrics to Birlinn Ghoraidh Chrobhain.

I just found a recording of it on YouTube, performed by the wonderful - Robin Hall & Jimmy Macgregor

Birlinn Ghoraidh Chrobhain / Hall and MacGregor

19 Nov 11 - 10:01 PM (#3260254)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Barge of Gorry Crovan / Gorrie Crovan
From: Jim Dixon

YouTube has the Corries' recording of THE BARGE O' GORRIE CROVAN.

It also has BIRLINN CHORAIDH CHROBHAIN, sung by The Sound of Mull, a trio from Tobermory.

22 Jun 16 - 08:02 AM (#3796961)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Barge of Gorry Crovan / Gorrie Crovan
From: Dave Rado

I've just been listening to the recordings linked to from this thread, and with the exception of The Corries, all of them pronounce "hubhan," phonetically speaking, as if it were spelt "huvan" - but The Corries pronounce it, phonetically speaking, as if it were spelt "hovan." (So The Corries pronounce "hbhan" and "hubhan" identically to each other, whereas none of the other singers do).

Are both pronunciations correct (e.g. due to different regional dialects of Gaelic) - or have the Corries mispronounced it?


22 Jun 16 - 10:31 AM (#3796990)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Barge of Gorry Crovan / Gorrie Crovan
From: Dave Rado

Also, do the first three lines of the chorus have any meaning? If so, does anyone know why the English version of the song has those three lines in the original Gaelic?

12 Mar 19 - 04:24 AM (#3981593)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Barge of Gorry Crovan / Gorrie Crovan
From: GUEST,ActiusAquila

Maybe the opening three lines are just nonsense Gaelic words? I don't speak Gaelic but there are waulking songs with similar sounding words that don't actually mean anything- the way songs have "Ring-ding-diddle" or "whack-follol-de-rah"- they don't mean anything, they're just there to fit a rhythm. I don't think the Corries knew how to speak Gaelic, though. I've never seen either of them mention it.

Can someone who does speak Gaelic identify the correct pronounciation of "hbhan"?

25 Oct 19 - 08:24 AM (#4015307)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Barge of Gorry Crovan / Gorrie Crovan
From: beachcomber

Came upon this thread when searching for the song Birlinn Ghoraidh Chrobhain and as I did not see any really confident translation for the name "Chrobhain" I thought that it might be one of those Gaelic names that described some pecularity of the person.
We have had "of the Long Hand" , Of the Red Arm" , "Of the Hundred Battles" etc., so I wondered if some Scottish Gaelic scholar can tell if this name could be "Of the White Arm" ?
The song is beautiful, especially when sung in harmony as Hall & McGregor do it on their LP "THE NEXT TONIGHT WILL BE..." a CLP 1715 from EMI 1963.