“Old Arboe (Ardboe)”


The singer asks the powers to help him praise Ar(d)boe. He praises the land, the waters, the wildlife, the winds. He talks of the holy days they celebrate. The singer has traveled the world, but has seen no better place


Sam Henry has notes on the various feast days mentioned in the song. These seem more accurate than the geography of the Biblical references to "the shores of Cana and Galilee"; neither name was proper in the author's time, and Galilee had no true seacoast (the "sea of Galilee" is a lake). Cana is not on any shore at all; it was half way between the Mediterranean and the Sea of Galilee. - RBW

For the cross reference [to The Old Cross of Ardboe"] see Bell/O Conchubhair, _Traditional Songs of the North of Ireland_, pp. 38-39, "The Old Cross of Ardboe" attributed to "the 'Poet' Canavan." The songs are close in theme and approach, but share no lines. Here is a description of "The Old Cross of Ardboe": The singer bids farewell to the places in Tyrone "where I spent my childhood days" He wonders if he will ever return. "May the star of Freedom smile ... And the shamrocks verdant grow Green around those graves near Lough Neagh's waves, And the Old Cross Ardboe." - BS

Cross references

  • cf. "The Old Cross of Ardboe" (subject)


  1. SHenry H505, p. 157, "Old Ardboe" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Tunney-SongsThunder, pp. 82-84, "Ol' Arboe" (1 text)
  3. OBoyle 20, "Old Arboe" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Roud #2984
  5. BI, HHH505


Author: James Cairnes ?
Earliest date: 1933 (Sam Henry collection)
Keywords: home
Found in: Ireland