Monday, 18 February 2008


THIS song and air take their name from a celebrated fairy fort situated at the town of Bruff, in the county of Limerick, and like many others in this collection, would have probably been lost, or left in the " world of spirits," had it not fallen into our hands.
Brian O'Flaherty, the author, was an humble peasant, a mason by trade, and, for aught we know, he may have been "master-builder" to his friends—the fairies and "good people" of Bruff. He was a native of Bruff, or its vicinity, but we cannot discover when he lived. It appears he was not numbered among the literary portion of the bards of his day, but was considered rather presumptive in assuming the name, and for such conduct he was cited, prosecuted, and expelled, at one of the Bardic Sessions then held in Munster.
However, Brian was not so easily got rid of, and in order to gain favour, he mustered up all the natural talent he was possessed of, and composed the present song.
Bruff is situated on the banks of the river Camog (Anglicised " The Morning Star"), and lies about fifteen miles from Limerick. Tradition informs us that the banks of this river up to the town were formerly laid out with beautiful gardens, where all species of plants and trees peculiar to this country grew, and was much admired for being the resort of birds of all kinds, from the melody of whose notes it gained the appellation of Binn (melodious).
At the west side of the town there is a little eminence called Lios (Fort), and there is also a castle, or Brogha, which is supposed to have been built by the De Lacy family shortly after the English invasion.
The birds carolled songs of delight,
And the flowers bloomed bright on my path,
As I stood all alone on the height
Where rises Bruff's old Fairy Rath.
Before me, unstirred by the wind,
That beautiful lake lay outspread,
Whose waters give sight to the Blind,
And would almost awaken the Dead !

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