“Bonnie Lass Among the Heather”


Singer meets a shepherdess and offers to buy her sheep if she would live with him: he has cattle and lives on "level ground," not in the cramped highlands among the heather. She tells him to keep his land and money; she is happy at home with her parents.


Although Tunney's title "Bonnie Lass Among the Heather" suggests "Queen Among the Heather," the two share only a few lines and the story outcome is different. In answer to a query, John Moulden clarified the relationship between McWilliams's "The Lass Among the Heather" [see John Moulden's book _Songs of Hugh McWilliams : schoolmaster, 1831_]/"The Fair O' Balnaminna"/"The Blooming Heather" versions and Tunney's song. In a note posted to IRTRAD-L on September 21, 1996 he wrote "almost certainly, all this except [four lines] have been written by Paddy Tunney." John Moulden is researcher at the "Centre for the Study of Human Settlement and Historical Change" at National University of Ireland, Galway whose subject is "the printed ballad in Ireland."

To compare Tunney-SongsThunder with the "original" see

John Moulden, Songs of Hugh McWilliams, Schoolmaster, 1831 (Portrush,1993), p. 15, "The Lass among the Heather"

Gavin Greig, Folk-Song in Buchan and Folk-Song of the North-East (Hatboro,1963), XLIV, p.1, "The Fair o' Balnaminna" - BS

Cross references


  1. Tunney-SongsThunder, pp. 30-31, "Bonnie Lass Among the Heather" (1 text)
  2. Roud #2894
  3. BI, TST030


Author: Paddy Tunney
Earliest date: 1991 (Tunney-SongsThunder)
Found in: Ireland