Mná Na HÉireann barndance

Also known as Mná Na H’Eireann, Mna Na HEirann, Women Of Ireland.

There are 15 recordings of a tune by this name.

Mná Na HÉireann has been added to 10 tune sets.

Mná Na HÉireann has been added to 251 tunebooks.

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Four settings

X: 1
T: Mná Na HÉireann
R: barndance
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
"Em"EEF G d4|d"E"edc "A"E4|EF "Em"G2 FG E2|"A"E6 z2|
"Em"EEF G d4|d"E"edc "A"E4|EF "G"G2 FG "A"A2|A6 z2|
G"D"FA "Bm"D D4|z "Bm"DD d d4|e"G"fed BA B2|B6 AG|
F"Em"E d4 de|"A"dcA "G"B4 E|E2 DC "D"D4||
X: 2
T: Mná Na HÉireann
R: barndance
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
| G-ABc | g2 a~g | fdA2 | ABc2 | BcA2 | ~A4 | G-ABc | g2 b~a |
| gfdA- | AABc- | cBcd- | dcBd | G2 G g- | gaba- | ag2e | de2 d |
| cBAg- | ga2g | fd2 e | cA2G | FG3 |]
X: 3
T: Mná Na HÉireann
R: barndance
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
A2B | "am" cg2-g3- | g{g}a2~g | "D" fA2-A3- |
A3-AAB | "C" c3-c2B/c/ |[1 "D" A6- | ~A6- | A3 :|2 "D" d3-dcA | "G" B/d/G2-G3- ||
G3-G2 G| "em" g6- | g3- gab |"am" a2g-g ~ed |
"C" e6- | e3 "D" dcB | "em" Ag2-g3- | g3 "am" {g}a2~g|
"D" fd2-d3 | "am" eA2- "D" A3- | A3-A~GF | "G" G6- | G3 ||
X: 4
T: Mná Na HÉireann
R: barndance
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
A {B}AB ||"Am" cg3 {a}g a2{ga}g |"D" fA3-A2 AB |1 "C" c2-c/ {d}c/B/c/ "D" ~A2- |
A3 A AB:|2 "C" c2-c/ c/B/c/ "D" d3 c/A/ | "G" B/d/G2-G G2||
"Em" {ga}g6 ab |"Am" {ab}a4- a ged |"C" {ef}e4- e "D"{fe}dcB |"Am"{cB}A2 g4 g2|
a2 {b}a3 g"D"fd |"Am" e4 A2 "D"(3A2G2{AG}F2 |"G"{FA}G4- G3 ||

Nine comments

Mna na heireann

It’s really a Slow Air, in an alternative setting I got from a book called An Pota Stoir.
If anyone wants to add their variations please feel free.
It is normally set in the key of G.

One set of lyrics for the song…

There’s a woman in Ireland who’d give me shelter and my fill of ale
There’s a woman in Ireland who’d prefer my singing to strings being played
There’s a woman in Ireland who’d prefer me leaping than laid in the clay
and my belly under the sod

There’s a woman in Ireland who’d envy me if I got naught but a kiss
from a woman at a fair , isn’t it strange, and the love I have for them
There’s a woman I’d prefer more to a battalion,
and a hundred of them I will never get
And an ugly, swarthy man with no English has a beautiful girl

There’s a woman who would say that if I walked with her I’d get the gold
A woman in night dress whose mein is better than herds of cows
With a woman who would deafen Ballymoyer and the plain of Tyrone
And I see no cure for my disease but to give up the drink

And in Irish…

Ta bean in Eirinn a phronnfadh sead damh is mo shaith le n-ol
Is ta bean in Eireann is ba bhinne leithe mo rafla ceoil
No seinm thead; ata bean in Eirinn is niorbh fhearr lei beo
Mise ag leimnigh no leagtha i gcre is mo tharr faoi fhod

Ta bean in Eirinn a bheadh ag ead liom mur bhfaighfinn ach pog
O/ bhean ar aonach, nach ait an sceala, is mo dhaimh fein leo;
Ta bean ab fhearr liom no cath is cead dhiobh nach bhfagham go deo
Is ta cailin speiriuil ag fear gan Bhearla, dubhghranna croin.

Ta bean a dearfadh da siulann leithe go bhfaighinn an t-or,
Is ta bean ‘na leine is is fearr a mein no na tainte bo
Le bean a bhuairfeadh Baile an Mhaoir is clar Thir Eoghain,
Is ni fhaicim leigheas ar mo ghalar fein ach scaird a dh’ol.

Women of Ireland

This beautiful air was composed by Sean O’Riada, the founder of Ceoltoiri Cualann, and was performed by the Chieftains on their fourth record and for Stanley Kubrick’s film Barry Lyndon. But you probably knew that already…

The Christians

… and was used by the pop group The Christians in the 80s for their song "Words"…..

Women of Ireland

This was my first introduction to Sean O’Riada from a cover of the song by Jazz musician Bob James (whose version of the song I can no longer bear to listen to, having heard other more appropriately traditional settings.

This was also used for the soundtrack of the film of John Millington Synge’s "Playboy of the Western World."

Variation

Here is the G variation with words etc
K:G
| G-ABc | g2 a~g | fdA2 | ABc2 | BcA2 | ~A4 | G-ABc | g2 b~a |
| gfdA- | AABc- | cBcd- | dcBd | G2 G g- | gaba- | ag2e | de2 d |
| cBAg- | ga2g | fd2 e | cA2G | FG3 |]

Séan O Riada (words by Peadar O Doirnin ?1704-1769)

Ta bean in Eireann a phronnfadh sead damh is mo shaith le n-ol
Is ta bean in Eireann is ba bhinne leithe mo rafla ceoil
No seinm thead; ata bean in Eirinn is niorbh fhearr lei beo
Mise ag leimnigh no leagtha i gcre is mo tharr faoi fhod

Ta bean in Eireann a bheadh ag ead liom mur bhfaighfinn ach pog
O bhean ar aonach, nach ait an sceala, is mo dhaimh fein leo;
Ta bean ab fhearr liom no cath is cead dhiobh nach bhfagham go deo
Is ta cailin speiriuil ag fear gan Bhearla, dubhghranna croin.

Ta bean a dearfadh da siulann leithe go bhfaighinn an t-or,
Is ta bean ‘na leine is is fearr a mein no na tainte bo
Le bean a bhuairfeadh Baile an Mhaoir is clar Thir Eoghain,
Is ni fhaicim leigheas ar mo ghalar fein ach scaird a dh’ol.

Translation

There’s a woman in Ireland who’d give me shelter and my fill of ale;
And there’s a woman in Ireland who’d prefer the strains of my music
To the playing of strings;
There’s a woman in Ireland and nothing would please her more
Than me burning or lying in the clay beneath the sod.

There’s a woman in Ireland who would be envious if I were to get only a kiss
From a woman at a fair, isn’t it strange, and I love them all;
There’s a woman whom I prefer to battle and a hundred of them I will never get
And there’s a beautiful girl who belongs to a man without English, so ugly.

There’s a woman who would say that if I would wander with her I would find gold;
And there’s a woman in a shift whose beauty is worth more than the cattle raids
With a woman who vexed Ballymoyer and the plain of Tyrone {this is a
reference to Maeve and the cattle raid of Cooley, a Cuchulainn tale}
And I see no cure for my illness but drink.

Women of Ireland, alternative version

X:1
T: Women of Ireland
C:Sean ÓRiada
S:as played by James Galway
O:Origin
Q:"Larghetto"
R:air
L:1/8
M:6/8
K:G
A2B | "am" cg2-g3- | g{g}a2~g | "D" fA2-A3- |
A3-AAB | "C" c3-c2B/c/ |[1 "D" A6- | ~A6- | A3 :|
[2 "D" d3-dcA | "G" B/d/G2-G3- | G3-G2 G| "em" g6- | g3- gab |
"am" a2g-g ~ed | "C" e6- | e3 "D" dcB | "em" Ag2-g3- | g3 "am" {g}a2~g|
"D" fd2-d3 | "am" eA2- "D" A3- | A3-A~GF | "G" G6- | G3 ||

Mna Na HEireann, X:4

The present transcriptions on “Session” don’t really meet with the recordings I find. Here’s my transcription of the Chieftains-version that made this tune popular.
For the sake of my own introspection into style I also checked out their embellishments (somewhat simplified at places). If you are a good enough whistle-player you might want to ignore them.
Obviously, as an “air”, this is the type of tune that is difficult to transcribe. Playing it right means giving it a sort of rubato-feeling, and if you compare the Chieftains’ playing to the notes you will find, all that they do is about obscuring the framework of constant beat and continuous measure.
From their recording it seems right to me to use a triplet in the second last measure, although one might argue that there should be three eights-notes as at the ending of the measures before (I have not found out on the internet if there’s any reliable original score.)
Note that the measures are odd-numbered in the second part. This seems to be essential in order to free the melody from a feeling of being pressed into a frame.
If you are using harmony, accept that the very exposed G in measure 2 and 12 does not fit into the A-minor-chord by any scholarly rools prior to Jazz. This again is an important part of what gives the melody its haunting and original appeal.
Although the tune uses all the notes of G-major (or G Ionian) it only economically uses the 7th (F#) at two exposed places that give it a special sort of tension.