Irish Heritage / Leitrim / O Rourke / The Abbey Loop / Timeline

Planxty O’Rourke / Pléaracha na Ruarcach

o Carolan

Turlough O’Carolan 1670-1738

A song describing the legendary feasts of O’ Rourke , presumably held at the now ruined Banqueting Hall behind Villiers Castle in Dromahair . The poem is based on the Christmas festivities held in the Great Hall of the castle at Dromahaire, County Leitrim, by the Irish chieftain Brian na Murtha O Ruairc, Prince of Breffni, and the ancestor of several of Carolan’s friends.

These festivities are referred to in the Calendar of State Papers, Ireland, of April 6th, 1589:

“How naughtily O’Rourke hath always carried himself…He caused a picture of Her Majesty [Queen Elizabeth I] to be drawn at a horse tail and kept his Christmas according the the Pope’s computation’

Pléaráca na Ruarcach , possibly the original full Irish version, was sung by Sean O Sé in the video above. Below are the three known versions , with comparable verses aligned.

For more details from published sources visit here.

Jonathan Swift after Mc Gauran

1721

Charles Wilson

1782  

O’Carolan & McGauran

1721

PLAY

1 O’ROURKE’S noble farewill ne’er be forgot. By those who were there,or those who were not. O’Rourke’s revel rout let no person forget. Who has been, who will be,or never has yet Pléaráca na Ruarcach I gcuimhne gach uile dhuine.
Dá dtiocfaidh, dá dtáinic,’s dá maireann go fóill:
2 His revels to keep,
 We sup and we dine
On seven score sheep, fat bullocks, and swine.
See seven score hogs in the morning we slay .With bullocks and sheep for the feasting each day Seacht bhfichid muc, mart agus caora
Dhá gcasgairt don ghasraí gach aon ló.
3 Usquebaugh to our feast in pails was brought up,
A hundred at least,and a madder our cup.
Hundred pails usquebaugh drunk in madders like wort.In the morning we rise and with us was the sports. Céad páil uisge bheatha ‘s na meadra dhá líona,
Ag éirghe ar maidin is againn bhí an spóirt.
4 O there is the sport!
 We rise with the light in disorderly sort,from snoring all night.
5 O how was I trick’d!
My pipe it was broke, my pocket was pick’d, I lost my new cloak.
My breeches is stole, my pipe it is broke. My pocket is picked, where the devil’s my cloak? Briseadh do phíopa-sa, sladadh mo phóca-sa, goideadh do bhríste-sa, loisgeadh mo chlóca-sa,
6 I’m rifled, quoth Nell, of mantle and kercher. Why then fare them well,
The de’el take the searcher.
My kercher I’ve lost and my mantle’s not on.Seven blessings be with them, my friends are all gone Chaill mé mo bhairéad, m’fhallaing is m’fhiléad,
Ó d’imigh na gairéad ar seacht mbeannacht leó!
7 Come, harper, strike up, but first by your favour.Boy, give us a cup.Ah! this hath some savour. Come, strike up the harp, your music in haste.A swill of your liquor, how quiet the feast Cuir spraic ar a’ gcláirsigh, seinn suas a’ pléaráca,
An bucsa sin, ‘Áine ‘gus greadóg le n-ól!
8 O’Rourke’s jolly boys ne’er dreamt of the matter.Till roused by the noise and musical clatter. The sons of O’Rourke bounced up in a throng.Each man with his woman and danced to the song. Lucht leanamhna na Ruarcach a’ cratha a gcleití.Tráth chuala siad tormán nó troimpléasg an cheóil;
9 They bounce from their nest,
 No longer will tarry,
They rise ready drest without one Ave-Mary.
A-shaking their feathers, just roused their slumber.By the noise of the harp and of feet without number D’éirigh gach aon aca gan coisreaca ‘n a leabaidh,
Is a bhean leis ar strachailt in gach aon chórn.
10 They dance in a round cutting capers and ramping.
A mercy the ground
Did not burst with their stamping.
11 The floor is all wet
 With leaps and with jumps.While the water and sweat.Splish-splash in their pumps.
Till the ground shaking under partook of their cogues.Which as they quick trotted glig-glugged in their brogues Nár láidir an seasamh don talamh bhí fútha. Gan réaba le sodar agus glug ins gach bróig!
12 Bless you late and early,Laughlin O’Enagin!
But, my hand, you dance rarely Margery Grinagin
Long life and god health to you, Loughlin O’Enegan.By my hand, you dance bravely, Margery Grinigan! Saol agus sláinte dhuit, ‘Mh’leachlainn UíFhionnagáin
Dar mo láimh is maith a dhamhsuíos tú, ‘Mhársail Ní Ghriodagáin!
13 Bring straw for our bed.Shake it down to the feet.Then over us spread the winnowing sheet. Here’s to you, dear mother, I thank you, dear Pat.Come shake us down rushes an excellent bed and over us next the winnow-cloth spread. Here’s to you, ‘mháthair, I pledge you, God save you!
Beir ar a’ sgála so, sgag é in do sgóig.
14 To show I don’t flinch.Fill the bowl up again.Then give us a pinch.Of your sneezing, a yean Dear Anna, some snuff, to keep me awake. And a little to drink as long as I speak Crath fúinn an tsráideóg, sín tharuinn an bhán-phluid.Tugthar ar sáith dhúinn de lionn-choirm chóir!
15 Good lord! what a sight,after all their good cheer,
For people to fight
In the midst of their beer!
Good heaven how strange! What must people think? After filling their skins thus to fight in their drink! A Árd-Rí na gcarad, cébi ‘tchífeadh an ghasraí.Ar líona a gcraicní nó ar lasa san ól!
16 They rise from their feast, and hot are their brains.A cubit at least ,the length of their skeans. Cnáimh righe bacaird ar fad in gach sgín aca,
A’ gearra ‘s a’ cosgairt go mór, mór.
17 What stabs and what cuts,what clattering of sticks.
What strokes on the guts,what bastings and kicks!
Such stabbing, such gashing, such tugging and strife A slisneacha darach ar lasa a’ gabháil fríd a chéile, A’ buala, a’ greada, a’ losga ‘s a’ dódh.
18 With cudgels of oak,
 Well harden’d in flame. A hundred heads broke, a hundred struck lame.
Half an arm at least the length of each knife! What sounding, rebounding, a hundred heads broke!
19 You churl, I’ll maintain , my father built Lusk,
The castle of Slane,
and Carrick Drumrusk.
My father he built the monastery of Lusk, with Boyle, Sligo, Galway and Carrickdrumrusk A bhodaigh, ‘sé m’athair-se chuir Mainistir na Búille suas,
Sligeach is Gaillimh is Caraidh Dhroma Rúisgthe fós.
20 The Earl of Kildare,
and Moynalta his brother.As great as they are, I was nurst by their mother.
Betagh of Moynalty and the Earl of Kildare . I was nursed by their mother. Ask that woman there! Iarla Chill’ Dara agus Biadhtach Mhuí n-ealta.
Siad d’oil agus d’altruim mé, fiosraigh so de Mhór.
21 Ask that of old madam: She’ll tell you who’s who.
As far up as Adam,
 She knows it is true.
22 Come down with that beam. If cudgels are scarce, a blow on the weam or a kick on the arse. Tóig suas a’ t’ádhmad agus buail an t-alárm air.
Preab ionsa táirr agus Cic ionsa tóin
23 “Who raised this alarm?” says one of the clergy. A threatening severely, “Cease fighting, I charge ye!” “Cé thóig a’ t-alárm so?” ar aon den Eaglais. Ag éirghe ‘n-a sheasamh‘s a’ bagairt go mór;
24 A good knotted staff, the full of his hand. Instead of the spiridis backed his command ! Ní h-é spairgeas uisge coisreactha ghlac sé sa gcíora
Ach bata maith darach, bog-lán dóirn!
25 So falling to thresh fast as he was able . A trip and a box fetched him under the table. Trí shíl sé na caithmhílidh a chasgairt ‘s a chíora.
Do fágadh an sagart ‘n-a mheall chasta fán mbórd.
26 Then rose a big friar to settle them straight. But the back of the fire was quickly his fate! D’éirigh na bráithre a’ tárrtháil na bruíne,
Is fágadh an t-Athair Gáirdian ar a thárr ‘n-áirde sa ngríosaí.
27 From whence he cried out, “Do ye thus treat your pastors? Ye, who scarcely were bred to the Seven Wise Masters! “Tráth bhínn-se ag an bPápa ar stuidéar na ngrásta.‘S a’ glaca na ngrádhamh tháll ins a’ Róimh,
28 That when with the Pope I was getting my lore. Ye were roasting potatoes not far from Sheemore!” ‘Sé an Seven Wise Masters bhí agad ar do tháirr. Is tú a’ rósta na bprátaí láimh leis a’ tSídh Mhór!
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