by Percy French (1854-1920)
Every once in awhile, authors latch onto a word and it becomes so popular, you virtually can’t get away from it. Lately, one of those words is “petrichor”, meaning the earthy scent of rain that’s fallen on dry soil. Each time I see or hear it, though, it brings this song to my mind, and I sing it for days thereafter. I think you’ll understand this particular earworm once you’ve listened in.
BTW, “Og” is the Irish word for “young”, so the title translates to “Young Eileen”. Here’s a version by the Irish Descendants with the added jewel of a jig at the end of the song.
(1) Eileen Og, an’ that the darlin’s name is.
Through the Barony her features they were famous.
If we loved her, who was there to blame us,
For wasn’t she the Pride of Petravore?
But her beauty made us all so shy,
Not a man could look her in the eye.
Boys, oh boys, sure that’s the reason why
We’re in mournin’ for the Pride of Petravore.
Eileen Og, me heart is growin’ gray
Ever since the day you wandered far away.
Eileen Og, there’s good fish in the sea,
But there’s none of them like the Pride of Petravore.
(2) Friday at the fair of Ballintubber,
Eileen met McGrath the cattle jobber.
I’d like to set me mark upon the robber,
For he stole away the Pride of Petravore!
He never seemed to see the girl at all,
Even when she ogled him from underneath her shawl,
Lookin’ big and masterful when she was lookin’ small—
Most provokin’ for the Pride of Petravore.
(3) So it went as ’twas in the beginning,
Eileen Og was bent upon the winning,
Big McGrath contentedly was grinning,
Being courted by the Pride of Petravore.
Sez he, “I know a girl that could knock you into fits.”
And at that Eileen nearly lost her wits!
The upshot of the ruction was that now the robber sits
With his arm around the Pride of Petravore.
(4) Boys, oh boys, with fate ’tis hard to grapple.
Of my eyes ’tis Eileen was the apple.
Now to see her walkin’ to the chapel
With the hardest featured man in Petravore.
Now, boys, this is all I have to say:
When you do your courtin’ make no display.
If you want them to run after you, just walk the other way,
For they’re mostly like the Pride of Petravore!
2 thoughts on “EILEEN OG: An Irish Song”
I would like to know what Novel the Eileen Og song you have came up from & what is the true meaning of this story song I according to your vision
This story seems to be very interesting to me and I do understand the meaning but I truly would like to know actual meaning of “EILEEN OG”
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“Eileen Og” means Young Eileen, a girl the singer seems to be in love with. I first heard the song on a tape of Irish songs my grandmother left me. I later found all the words in a book of Traditional Irish music.
Although you will find snippets of many traditional songs (both Irish and American) in my books, to my knowledge, Eileen Og is not included in any novels.
My interpretation of the song is that the singer has an unrequited love for Eileen and is upset that McGrath has won her hand. The singer then tells all his friends that the way to win a woman’s heart is to ignore her, just the way McGrath did, as that will make a woman more interested in a man.
I personally think the writer is being facetious about this. I know it’s not something that would work with me!