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Star of the County Down
Limerick Rake
Raglan Road
Molly Malone
Dirty Old Town
Fiddler’s Green
Spancil Hill
Only Our Rivers
Black Velvet Band
Foggy Dew
Fields of Athenry
Whiskey in the Jar

Raglan Road

On Raglan Road on an autumn day,
I saw her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare
That I might one day rue.
I saw the danger and I passed
Along the enchanted way.
And I said, “Let grief be a fallen leaf
At the dawning of the day.”

On Grafton Street in November,
We tripped lightly along the ledge
Of a deep ravine where can be seen
The worth of passions play.
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts
And I not making hay,
Oh, I loved too much and by such and such
Is happiness thrown away.

I gave her gifts of the mind,
I gave her the secret signs
That’s known to the artists
Who have known
The true gods of sound and stone.
And her words and tint without a stint
I gave her poems to say
With her own name there
And her own dark hair
Like clouds over fields of May.

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet
I see her walking now,
Away from me so hurriedly
My reason must allow
That I had loved, not as I should,
A creature made of clay.
When the angel woos the clay, he’ll lose
His wings at the dawn of day.

—-Patrick Kavanagh


Hilda Moriarty on the Origin of
‘On Raglan Road’

Patrick Kavanagh met Hilda Moriarty in 1944. She was a 22-year-old medical student at University College, Dublin. Kavanagh, who was 20 years older, became obsessed with Hilda Moriarty. His love was unrequited and she later married Donogh O’Malley (who became a Fianna Fáil Minister for Education).

In an interview filmed for the documentary ‘Gentle Tiger’, Hilda Moriarty-O’Malley, who inspired ‘On Raglan Road’, explains the origins of the poem. Actor John Kavanagh sings an extract from ‘Raglan Road’.

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