“The Banks of the Bann (I)”


Delany recalls how, when he first came to (Ireland), he fell in love with a girl (on the banks of the Bann). Her parents disapproved of his poverty and sent him away, but she promised to prove true. (Now he is returned and promises to do well by her)


In some versions of this song, the girl is compared to "Juno, the fair Grecian queen." Leaving apart the fact that Venus/Aphrodite, not Juno, was the goddess of beauty, it should be noted that Juno was a Roman goddess; the correct Greek name is Hera.

Paul Stamler notes that "[this] tune is also used for a classic Anglican hymn," which Paul Tracy reports to be "Lord of all hopefulness, lord of all joy."

Laws apparently decided to name this "The Brown Girl" on the basis of Creighton and some broadsides. I decided to use "The Banks of the Bann" instead; both titles refer to several songs, but the versions of this song I know don't call her a "Brown Girl," and the references to the Bann are certainly more prominent. And it seems to be the standard Folk Revival name. - RBW

The date and master id (GB-3357-1) for Hayward's record is provided by Bill Dean-Myatt, MPhil. compiler of the Scottish National Discography. - BS

Cross references


  • Bodleian, Harding B 11(2400), "Brown Girl" ("When first to this country I came as a stranger"), E.M.A. Hodges (London) , 1855-1861; also 2806 b.11(255), 2806 c.8(168), "Brown Girl"


  • A. L. Lloyd, "Banks of the Bann" (on Lloyd1)


  1. Laws O2, "The Brown Girl"
  2. SHenry H86, p. 443, "The Banks of the Bann" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Creighton/Senior, pp. 139-140, "The Brown Girl" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  4. Creighton-Maritime, p. 37, "The Brown Girl" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Creighton-SNewBrunswick 9, "The Brown Girl" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. Peacock, pp. 355-356, "The Brown Girl" (1 text, 1 tune)
  7. Dean, pp. 75-76, "Brown Girl" (1 text)
  9. ADDITIONAL: Richard Hayward, Ireland Calling (Glasgow,n.d.), p. 11, "The Banks of the Bann" (text, music and reference to Decca F-2603 recorded Oct 4, 1931)
  10. Roud #889
  11. BI, LO02


Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1862 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(2400))
Found in: US(MW) Canada(Mar,Newf) Ireland