The Rose of Tralee (song)

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"The Rose of Tralee" is a nineteenth-century Irish ballad about a woman called Mary, who because of her beauty was called The Rose of Tralee. The Rose of Tralee festival had been inspired by the ballad.

The words of the song are credited to Edward Mordaunt Spencer and the music to Charles William Glover, but a story circulated in connection with the festival claims that the song was written by William Pembroke Mulchinock, a wealthy Protestant, out of love for Mary O'Connor, a poor Catholic maid in service to his parents.[1]

Lyrics[edit]

The pale moon was rising above the green mountain,
The sun was declining beneath the blue sea;
When I strayed with my love to the pure crystal fountain,
That stands in the beautiful Vale of Tralee.
She was lovely and fair as the rose of the summer,
Yet 'twas not her beauty alone that won me;
Oh no, 'twas the truth in her eyes ever dawning,
That made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee.
The cool shades of evening their mantle were spreading,
And Mary all smiling was listening to me;
The moon through the valley her pale rays was shedding,
When I won the heart of the Rose of Tralee.
Though lovely and fair as the Rose of the summer,
Yet 'twas not her beauty alone that won me;
Oh no, 'twas the truth in her eyes ever dawning,
That made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee.
In the far fields of India, 'mid wars dreadful thunders,
Her voice was a solace and comfort to me,
But the chill hand of death has now rent us asunder,
I'm lonely tonight for the Rose of Tralee.
She was lovely and fair as the rose of the summer,
Yet 'twas not her beauty alone that won me;
Oh no, 'twas the truth in her eyes ever dawning,
That made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee.[2]

Popular culture[edit]

The song is sung by the cast at the end of the play "Thirst" (1942) by Flann O'Brien.

The song was used by the Ireland national rugby union team at the 1987 Rugby World Cup. It was a compromise choice instead of a national anthem, due to the political situation in Northern Ireland at the time.[3]

The Rose of Tralee is referenced in the title track of Tom Waits' 1985 album Rain Dogs.

"Oh, how we danced with the Rose of Tralee
Her long hair black as a raven" [4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Rose of Tralee Story". Rose of Tralee website. Retrieved 24 October 2008. 
  2. ^ "The Rose of Tralee lyrics". Rose of Tralee website. Retrieved 13 May 2010. 
  3. ^ "1987: Phil Orr and Donal Lenihan". RTÉ Sports. Retrieved 5 October 2010. 
  4. ^ "Rain Dogs - Lyrics". Retrieved 2 May 2013. 

External links[edit]