This page was created by Maren Connell.  The last update was by Emily Bengtson.

Star of the Sea : A Postcolonial/Postmodern Voyage into the Irish Famine

The Land of the Gael

This is one of the many Irish folk songs about the sorrow of leaving Ireland, with the narrator promising to never forget his native land.  The narrator fondly remembers his hometown and all the specific beautiful places around it.  The Dingle Peninsula, mentioned here, remains one of the Gaeltacht areas of Ireland to this day, so the penultimate line of the song,"Then I'll hear my own tongue"  becomes even more important, and this song becomes not only about losing Dingle and the natural beauty of the area, but also about the loss of language.

I wish I was westward of Dingle
On the golden sands of Beál Bán
Where I’d wait for the mountain of Brandon
To appear in the red light of dawn
I’d gaze over Smerwick Harbour
See the yacht with its billowing sail
My body is here in the Bowery
But my heart’s in the Land of the Gael

For it's fifty long years since I left it,
a young fellow still in my teens,
Did I ever return now you ask me -
I go back every night in my dreams,
Yes the call of my homeland's all powerful,
and I'm certain this time I'll not fail,
Then I'll hear my own tongue and again
I'll be young when I'm home in the Land of the Gael.

This song is describing a very specific area of Ireland - the beautiful Dingle Peninsula.

Each of the specific places mentioned - from Beál Bán, Smerwick Harbour, and Mount Brandon in the first stanza to the second stanza referencing County Kerry, the Blasket Islands, and Ceann Sibéal - can be found and pinpointed on a map.

Researcher/Writer: Michaila Gerlach
Technical Designers: Emily Bengtson and Maren Connell

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