“Gougane Barra”


There is a green island in lone Gougane Barra." What better place for a bard? The singer thinks about past bards there, "far from the Saxon's dark bondage and slaughter." When Ireland is free some minstrel will come here a lay a wreath on his grave


Croker-PopularSongs: The origin of the river Lee is the lake of Gougane Barra, "about two miles in circumference," with one small island which, "in times of trouble, [was] sought as an asylum." The lake is formed "by numerous streams descending from the mountains that divide the counties of Cork and Kerry." Croker points out that Callanan is not buried at Gougane Barra, but in Portugal. - BS

There is a certain amount of confusion about this author. Most sources list his name as James Joseph Callanan, but he is also sometimes listed under the name "Jeremiah" (and, yes, it is known that it is the same guy). Most sources agree that he was born in 1795, but his death date seemingly varies; Hoagland and MacDonagh/Robinson give 1829. He wrote some poetry of his own, but is probably best known for his translations from Gaelic. Works of his found in this index include "The Convict of Clonmel," "The Outlaw of Loch Lene," "Sweet Avondu," "The Virgin Mary's Bank," "Gougane Barra," and a translation of "Drimindown." - RBW


  1. Croker-PopularSongs, pp. 191-195, "Gougane Barra" (1 text)
  2. O'Conor, p. 107, "Gougaune Barra" (1 text)
  3. ADDITIONAL: Charles Gavan Duffy, editor, The Ballad Poetry of Ireland (1845), pp. 192-194, "Gougaune Barra"
  4. Edward Hayes, The Ballads of Ireland (Boston, 1859 (reprint of 1855 London edition)), Vol I, pp. 47-49,"Gougaune Barra"
  5. H. Halliday Sparling, Irish Minstrelsy (London, 1888), pp. 398-399, 496-497, "Gougaune Barra"
  6. BI, CrPS191


Author: James Joseph Callanan (1795-1829) (source: Croker-PopularSongs)
Earliest date: 830 (_The Recluse of Inchidony_, written 1826, according to Croker-PopularSongs)