Tir Na Nog-Oil & Watercolour

Oil & Watercolour

Tir Na Nog

I was hunting with my Father, on the shore of Lough Leane

when a young girl rode towards me, and said my name is Niamh

So I helped her off her white horse, and admired her golden hair

She had come from Tir na nOg, the land of the young and fair

It’s a place where you don’t grow old, or endure suffering

you unfurl all your greases, and you spar with younger men
 

Her complexion like the snow, was preserved in endless time

Her cheeks were red and freckled, and how I longed she would be mine

But Fionn was disappointed, and his eyes they let me go

so I grabbed his head in my bloody hands, and I kissed him on the nose

Fair thee well my lovely Ireland, fair thee well sweet battle drum

to my clan and my countrymen, I’m away to the land of the young


Across the plain of honey, to the God of the Dead

She beckoned me to ride with her, to the burial mounds and caves

Where the Tuatha De Danann, would reward me for my deeds

and my lovely Niamh would give me love, for what only seemed three days

But three hundred years had passed back home, and my family were all gone

while in my supernatural stupor, I had lost all that I’d known
 

When I got back to Ireland, my castle was in ruins

and my Father Fionn had long since passed, and the Fianna were gone

So I thought of Niamh in Tir na nOg, and the words she said to me

"stay on your horse, don’t touch the ground, or you’ll face mortality"

Fair thee well my lovely Niamh, fair thee well my King and Queen

to eternal bliss and comfort, too unnatural to be real
 

So I gathered up my senses, and I kept upon my horse

until I met three old men, who were tryin’ to move a rock

But when I leaned o’er to help them, my balance let me down

and before I had a chance to think, my feet had touched the ground

And I became an old man, like a withered, shrivelled prune

when three hundred years caught up with me, in the thirty days of June

Fair thee well my lovely Ireland, fair thee well sweet battle drum

to my clan and my countrymen, I’m away to the land of the young, the land of the young.

Cathal O'Briain © 2017