Siúil A Rún

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"Siúil a Rún" is a traditional Irish song, sung from the point of view of a woman lamenting a lover who has embarked on a military career, and indicating her willingness to support him. The song has English language verses and an Irish language chorus, a style known as macaronic.

The title (pronounced [ʃuːlʲ ə ɾˠuːnˠ]) translates to "go, my love" (or variants): siúil is an imperative, literally translating to "walk!", a rún is a term of endearment.


The history of the song is unclear. It has been suggested that the song refers to the "Wild Geese" of the Glorious Revolution. If it does, however, the original version has probably been lost. It is not uncommon that Irish songs were translated into English, with their chorus surviving in Irish, or being transformed into nonsense words (see Caleno custure me), but in most of these cases, some of the Irish version still survives. It is possible that the song was composed in the 1800s with the conscious intention of styling it after older songs.

As is common in folk music, many lyrical variants of the song exist.

Robert Louis Stevenson refers to the song twice in his novel The Master of Ballantrae (1889). Referred to as "the pathetic air of 'Shule Aroon'", it is whistled by the Irish Jacobite exile Francis Burke and later sung by the Master of Ballantrae himself to impress his younger brother's wife. The Master describes it as "very moving" and describes it being sung by Jacobite exiles in France: "it is a pathetic sight when a score of rough Irish ... get to this song; and you may see, by their falling tears, how it strikes home to them". [1]

In Ulysses, James Joyce had Stephen Dedalus sing the song to Leopold Bloom in Bloom's kitchen (as part of the Ithaca episode). The song can be seen to signal or echo many of the grand themes of the book, referencing loss of language, usurpation, betrayal, loss of leadership and women selling themselves. Bloom responds by singing a song in Hebrew.[2]

"Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier"/"Buttermilk Hill" is a well-known American variant dating to the Revolutionary War, sharing a common melody and similar lyrics.

Modern performance[edit]

"Siúil a Rún" is one of the most widely sung songs in the Irish repertoire. Well-known performances are by Clannad from their album Dúlamán and Mary Black on different occasions, e.g. on the BBC's "The Highland Sessions" or with Altan on "Altan Beo – 21 Bliain ag Ceol".

Recordings include Nita Conley Korn and Eileen Estes on their album "The Apple Tree Project," Scantily Plaid on their album, "Just Checking In", Édain on "JOYceFUL", Éilís Kennedy on "One Sweet Kiss", Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill on Donal Lunny's Coolfin, Allison Barber on "Traveling Home", Órla Fallon from Celtic Woman on the album of the same name, Lisa Kelly (who was also with Celtic Woman) on "Lisa", Ciúnas on "Celtic Tiger", Aoife Ní Fhearraigh on "If I Told You", Maighréad Ní Dhomhnaill & Iarla Ó Lionáird on "Sult", Anúna on "Invocation" with Lucy Champion, Connie Dover on "The Wishing Well", Akelarre Agrocelta on "La Amenaza Celta", Nora Butler on Geantraí and Siobhan Owen on "Purely Celtic".

The song has also been recorded by Kate Price, Lintie, Acabella, Anam, The Irish Group, Caoilte Ó Súilleabháin, Nollaig Casey, Kate Crossan, Carmel Gunning, Rosheen, Sissel Kyrkjebo with the Chieftains, Sarah English, Janette Geri[3], and Bruadar. "Siúil a Rúin" is one of the songs in Flatley's Lord of the Dance. Versions of "Buttermilk Hill" have been performed by The Black Country Three, Dan Gibson, Alisa Jones, Julie Felix, Judy Collins, Noah Saterstrom and The Weavers.

A recognisable version of this song was recorded by Peter, Paul, and Mary entitled Gone The Rainbow. It was on the B-side of The Hammer Song (If I had a hammer).

The song is sung by Aisling Franciosi's character Clare, in the movie "The Nightingale" by Jennifer Kent. Reference :

Recordings and performances[edit]

  • Na Casaidigh – Siúil, a Ghrá (Farewell My Love) (13) (1961) (The Cassidys)
  • Judy Collins - Shule aroon (Golden Apples of the Sun) (1962)
  • Clannad – Siúil a Rún (Dulaman – 07) (1976)
  • Mary O'Dowd - Siúil a Rúin (Portrait of Mary O'Dowd) Rego Irish Records re-released 1991
  • Anúna – Siúil a Rúin (Invocation – 11) (1994)
  • Connie Dover – Siúil a Rúin (The Wishing Well – 04) (1994)
  • Connie Dover – Siúil a Rúin – Celtic Voices – Women of Song (1995)
  • Lord of the Dance (musical) – Siúil a Rúin (Lord of the Dance – 02) (1996)
  • Maighréad Ní Dhomhnaill & Iarla Ó Lionáird, – Siúil a Rúin (Sult – 09) (1997)
  • Kate Price – Siúil a Rún (Deep Heart's Core – 08) (1997)
  • Ann'Sannat album "Welcome into the Morning" (1998)
  • Patrick Burrowes (Boys Air Choir) – Shool Aroon (Air – 04) (1999)
  • Sissel Kyrkjebo & the Chieftains – Siúil a Rúin (Tears of Stone −12) (1999)
  • Anam – Siúil a Rúin (First Footing – 03) (2000)
  • Natural Gas – Siúil a Rúin (Live in Belgium – 13) (2000)
  • Ciúnas – Siúil a Rúin (Celtic Tiger – 08) (2001)
  • Kate Crossan – Siúil a Rúin (Voice of the Celtic Heart – 09) (2001)
  • Acabella – Siúil a Rúin (After Albany – 02) (2002)
  • Caoilte Ó Súilleabháin – Siúil a Rúin (Before Leaving – 03) (2002)
  • Celtic Woman (Órla Fallon) – Siúil a Rún (walk my love) (Celtic Woman – 08) (2004)
  • Elane – Shule Aroon (The Fire of Glenvore) (2004)
  • Akelarre Agrocelta – Siúil a Rúin (La Amenaza Celta – 04) (2005)
  • Mary Black – Siúil a Rúin (Full Tide – 09) (2005)
  • Mary Black – Siúil a Rúin (The Highland Sessions – BBC4 2005 – Killiecrankie, Perthshire)
  • Lisa Kelly – Siúil a Rúin (Lisa – 01) (2005)
  • Rosheen – Siul Aruin (Musique Celtique – 03) (2005)
  • Altan – Siúil a Rúin with Mary Black, Altan Beo – 21 Bliain ag Ceol, Celtic Connections, Glasgow, 2006
  • Cécile Corbel – Suil a Ruin (Songbook 1 – 01) (2006)
  • Aoife Ní Fhearraigh – Siúil a Rúin (If I Told You – 09) (2006)
  • Éilís Kennedy – Siúil a Rúin (One Sweet Kiss – 08) (2006)
  • Masaki Toriyama – Siúil *JAPANESE: 鳳山雅姫 – シュラル* (あなたとみた夜 – 01) (2006)
  • Anúna – Siúil a Rúin (Celtic Origins DVD, Trinity Cathedral Ohio 2007)
  • Nora Butler – Siúil a Rúin – Geantraí ( 2007-06-21
  • Jim Causley – Shulé Rune (Lost Love Found – 05) (2007)
  • Chitose Hajime – Siuil a Run (Hotaru Boshi – 03) (2008)
  • Kokia – Siúil A Rúin (Fairy Dance: Kokia Meets Ireland – 06) (2008)
  • Siobhan Owen – Siúil a Rún (Purely Celtic – 08) (2008)
  • Barbara Karlik – Siúil a Rúin (Karczma Niedokończonych Opowieści/Inn of Unfinished Tales – 02) (2010)
  • Nolwenn Leroy - Siúil a Rúin (Bretonne - 19) (2010)
  • Kinbria – Siúil a Rúin (Poet in the Ice) 2011
  • Runa – Siúil a Rúin (Stretched On Your Grave) (2011)
  • Iarla Ó Lionáird & Steve Cooney – Féile An Droichead/The An Droichead Festival, Belfast. 24 August 2012
  • Siobhan Owen – Siúil a Rún (Storybook Journey 08) (2012)
  • Faun – Wilde Rose (Von den Elben – 06) (2013)
  • Líosa Murphy - Siúil a Rún (Skylark 01) (2013)
  • Owen & Moley O'Súilleabháin - Siúil a Rúin (Filleadh: Sacred Songs - 05) (2013)
  • Celtic Woman (Mairead Carlin, Eabha McMahon, Susan McFadden, with fiddler Mairead Nesbitt) – Siúil a Rún (Destiny) (2015). McMahon provides vocals and tin whistle with Tara McNeill on the harp in a newer version - Siúil a Rún (Ancient Land) (2018)
  • Jenne Lennon – Siúil a Rúin (Songs and Stillness) (2015)
  • LEAH - Siúil a Rún (Kings & Queens) (2015)
  • Allison Barber – Siúil a Rúin (Traveling Home – 03)
  • Bruadar – Siúil a Rúin (Bruadar – 07)
  • Elizabeth Cronin – Siúil a Rúin (Folksongs of Britain, Vol 1, Songs of Courtship – 10)
  • The Songs of Elisabeth Cronin
  • Maighréad Ní Dhomhnaill & Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill – Siúil a Rúin (Donal Lunny's Coolfin – 11)
  • Cécile Girard – Siul a run (Sur un fil doré – 09)
  • Len Graham & Skylark – Siúil a Rúin (The Celts Rise Again – 11)
  • Carmel Gunning – Siúil a Rúin (The Lakes of Sligo – 04)
  • The Irish Group – Siúil a Rúin (Going Home – 05)
  • Lintie – Siúil a Rún
  • Sarah McCaldwin and The Corrs on her album: Destiny and on their album: Forgiven Not Forgotten.
  • Morning Star – Siúil a Ghrá (Away Ye Go Now! – 14)
  • Reeltime – Siúil a Rúin (The Celtic Spirit of Ireland CD 2 – 03)
  • Scantily Plaid – Siúil a Rúin (Just Checking In – 01)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stevenson, Robert Louis, The Master of Ballantrae (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983), pp. 73, 95.
  2. ^ Joyce, James, Ulysses (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1968), p. 608
  3. ^ [1]Janette Geri, Among the Flowers, retrieved 26 January 2018

External links[edit]