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Mavourneen's the flower of Killarney,
The fairest of all to me.
The roses that bloom in Killarney,
Are never as fair as she.
The land of the mists and mountains
For ever her home shall be,
For she is the flower of Killarney
And fairest of all to me.

As sunlight and shadow go ranging,
O'er woodland and lake and hill,
Their beauty for ever is changing,
Each moment seems sweeter still,
But neither the sun nor the shadow
Can add to her beauty's grace
Nor roses can rival in sweetness
The love in her charming face.

Though mountain and woodland may perish,
And roses may fade and fall,
Yet still in my heart I will cherish
The fairest among them all,
The land of the mists and mountains
Forever her home shall be,
For she is the flower of Killarney,
And fairest of all to me.

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Source: Singing Together, Autumn 1970, BBC Publications

In the booklet, this is simply listed as 'Irish Folk Tune', and no information is given about the lyrics.

The tune is Gentle Maiden, which Edward Bunting got from a Miss Murphy of Dublin, in 1839: many songs have subsequently been set to it. Play it faster and its close relationship to Rosin the Beau becomes clear. The tune-family that includes both goes back a fair way in both Ireland and Britain, but Bunting's opinion that it is "ancient" and "pure Irish" was based solely on his theories on the structure of Irish melody, which Alfred Moffat (The Minstrelsy of Ireland, 4th edition, nd [the 1st edition was 1897], note to Thomas Moore's 'Oh! Love is a hunter boy') described as "often refuted"; and in those days "refuted" still meant "disproven".

The words quoted in Singing Together are as printed in Desmond MacMahon, The New National Songbook Part II, London: Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd, 1939; where they are described as "20th Cent[ury]". The song was issued by Elkin & Co in 1954 as sheet music arranged for SATB by Desmond MacMahon "with words by A[lfred] H Body" (COPAC listing)


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