A classic of Irish folk music, extremely popular among Irish singers. The origins of this song can be traced back to a Renaissance ballad from County Donegal, with an original text in Gaelic that was later adapted into English. The song was so popular that it made its way up to the beginning of the XXth century, when it was radically reworked by Padraic Colum (for the text) and Herbert Hughes (for the music).

There are as many versions of it as there are Irish musicians. Male, female, young, old, whatever, they've all made their own version of it, usually changing a few words, a few lines, or even happily zapping entire verses (especially the third one, just to confuse the listener a little more).

Loreena McKennitt's version is technically impressive. Sinead O'Connor's version (of which a snippet can be heard in the movie "Michael Collins") is downright heartbreaking - like anything that comes out of Sinead's throat, but even more so. Shane MacGowan of Pogues fame recorded a, well, say, a "modern" version with Neil Young-like guitar effects; if you've seen that Kilkenny commercial with a guy that follows a girl through a fair and finds her again in a pub (!) you know what I mean. If not, hit Napster - it's worth the effort !