The singer recalls the joys of living in (Balinderry) and spending time with "(Phelim), my (diamond/demon)." But now she is sad and lonely, as Phelim died (at sea)
Tunney-SongsThunder: "This form of song or lament is perhaps the best example of keening, or caoineadh, present in the English language. That it is derived from the Irish, there is not the slightest doubt. A most highly developed and sophisticated form of crying after the dead existed in Gaelic-speaking Ireland for centuries and had a degree of professionalism about it."
Also collected and sung by David Hammond, "'Tis Pretty To Be in Ballinderry" (on David Hammond, "I Am the Wee Falorie Man: Folk Songs of Ireland," Tradition TCD1052 CD (1997) reissue of Tradition LP TLP 1028 (1959)). According to Sean O Boyle's notes to that album, "Ballinderry is a beautiful district on the eastern shore of Lough Neagh, in which lies the lovely little Ram's Island." O Boyle quotes Bunting about the song: "it has been a favourite performance with the peasantry of the counties of Down Antrim, the words being sung by one person, while the rest of the party chant the CRONAN (ochone!) in consanance." - BS