MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Galway Shawl
Performed by Lou O'Driscoll Accession # 78-054 NFLD 1 Tape 1 Track 6
Community: Tors Cove Audio:
Genre: Ballad / fair maid  


As I was a-walking the streets of Galway
One summer's evening in the month of May
I spied a fair and comely maiden
She almost took my breath away

As we kept- As we kept walking

(speaks) No I must- No, 'tis no use

As we kept walking while she kept talking
'Till at length her cottage came into view
She said, "Come in and meet my father
And to please him play the foggy dew."

She set me down beside the hearthstone
Her aged father was six feet tall
And soon her mother had the kettle boiling
While I kept watching the Galway shawl

CHORUS: She wore no gems or costly diamonds
No paint nor powder, no none at all
She wore a big strong bonnet with roses on it
And round her shoulders hung the Galway shawl

I played the "Blackbird", "The Stack of Barley"
"Love in it's Glory" and "The Foggy Dew"
She sang each note like an Irish colleen
'Til the tears they filled her two eyes of blue

I started out early next morning
To meet the road unto Donegal
She said good-bye, she cried and kissed me
But my heart remained with the Galway Shawl

Chorus: she wore no gems…etc.


Sources: Henry 652; Roud 2737; for recorded variants see

History: An Irish love ballad.

Text notes: A musician is invited to the cottage of an Irish maid who sings as he plays. After he leaves, he cannot forget her.

Tune notes: Two wide-ranged arching phrases are repeated in each strophe forming the pattern, abab. The refrain has a different tune, but with a similar melodic contour.

All material on this webpage is copyright © 2004, Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive, Memorial University of Newfoundland. No unauthorized copying or use is permitted. For more information, follow this link.