The Curragh of Kildare - Chords, Lyrics and Origins


Is it Scottish? Is it Irish? Were the lyrics by Robbie Burns?

Well, the Curragh of Kildare is certainly a place in Ireland - a plain of around five thousand acres of good farming land. Apparently versions of the song with slightly different lyrics were known in Scotland and Ireland and there is a similar Robbie Burns lyric called 'The Winter, it is past'. Different tunes were also used. The song might be about a highwayman called Johnston, who was active in the Curragh in the 1750s and who was eventually hanged for his crimes. But may favourite interpretation is that it describes the feelings of a Glasgow woman whose lover has enlisted in the army and is fighting in the Curragh. There are recorded versions by Christy Moore and Bert Jansch amongst others. You can read a longer discussion of the origins of 'The Curragh of Kildare' here and another here.


       G                 Em
The winter it is past

               C                             D        D7
And the summer's come at last;

                                  Bm       Am7   D
The small birds are singing in the trees;

          C                         G
Their little hearts are glad,

Am                D

But mine is very sad

G                 Am7                 D        D7
For my true love is far away from me.


The winter it is past, and the summer's come at last.

The small birds are singing in the trees;

Their little hearts are glad, oh but mine is very sad,

For my true love is far away from me.


The rose and the brier and the the water running by

Are heaven for the linnet and the bee.

Their little hearts are blessed, oh but mine is not at rest,

For my true love is far away from me.


A livery I will wear and I'll comb back my hear

And in a velvet green I will appear

And it's straight I will go there to the Curragh of Kildare,

For it's there I'll find tidings of my dear.


I'll wear a cap of black with a frill around my neck,

Gold rings on each finger I will wear.

It's this I undertake for my own true love's sake;

She resides at the Curragh of Kildare.


My love is like the sun that in the firmament doth run

And always proves so constant and so true;

But hers is like the moon that wanders up and down

And each month becomes something quite new.


Traditional, arranged by Peter Webster.


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