Heather Dale Lyrics

"Lover, dear lover, I've had a fell dream,
My mother's adrift on the sea!
My brothers have left her alone in the gale -
There's no one to save her but me."

"Oisín, Oisín, lay down your fair head
I've given you gold and I've given my bed,
And your mother lies sleeping; she's well and she's hale."

"Lover, dear lover, she's crying my name,
My mother's adrift on the sea!
There's none to protect her, no oar and no sail -
There's no one to save her but me."

"Oisín, Oisín, another will come
I've given you riches, I'll give you a son
And your mother is singing; she's well and she's hale."

"Lover, dear lover, there are tears on her gown,
My mother's adrift on the sea!
Her sons have all left her, I cannot now fail -
There's no one to save her but me."

"Oisín, Oisín, you've seen an untruth
I've given you kingship, I've given you youth
And your mother has comfort; she's well and she's hale."

Contributed by Isabella N. Suggest a correction in the comments below.
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Comments from YouTube:

Didi Dubya

Dear Heather Dale, I don't know if you've ever read the Lord of the Rings trilogy (if you haven't, you should) but if you have, I think it would be really cool if you wrote music for and sang the songs that Tolkien wrote up the lyrics for or referenced. It would be neat. Thank you, really love your work!

Úlfhéðínn Caudill

this hits me hard mostly because I'm in the process of losing my mom though dialysis with her kidneys and my brother and sister are too young to understand and there is nothing I can do about it even though I'm a match because I was only born with one and me and her both have a rare kidney that is hard for the doctors to find

Sola thr

I'm truly sorry to hear that. I hope you're doing well! Sending you love 💙

Rose F


natalie samuels

Listened to this song last night before I fell asleep. My mum's on a boat trip with her boyfriend.

Did not sleep well.


This song makes me...feel sad. And conflicted.


The hero of this song is Oisin, the son of Finn the king of the Fena, an ancient and powerful warrior race who seemed as giants to the later tribes of Ireland. There is an ancient legend that Oisin , a hero-poet survived to the time of St. Patrick, some 2(or3) hundred years after the Fena had vanished. I'm not familiar with why his mother should be adrift on the sea, but one story tells that a beautiful fairy princess, Niamh came to him professing her love and that she would marry no one but him. He took leave of his sorrowing father and family to go with her to the land of youth, Tir Na Nog. After rescuing another captive princess from a giant, he was married to Niamh and they lived very happily for what seemed like 3 years. Remembering his promise to return home for a visit, Oisin was given a magical white horse that could run far and fast. His wife wept bitterly. saying that he'd never come back but he brushed this aside, saying that he would never abandon her and went anyway. It turned out that actually 300 years had passed and the Fena were gone, if not forgotten. Oisin knew that if he set foot off his horse, he could never go back to Tir na Nog so when he tried to help some men who were being crushed by a large stone that they were trying to move, he reached down from his horse and tossed the stone aside, but the girth on his saddle broke and he fell to the ground, becoming an ancient old man. He lived on for a while, bereft of sight, strength and youth, mourning for his lost Niamh and his family and friends. This is the tale that he told to St.Patrick when asked how he had lived so long, the last of the great Fena. I'd be interested in knowing why his mother was adrift on the sea, not having heard that version. This is a very mysterious, haunting song which I really like.


Cool never heard it told this way before

Jessica Caron

The actual explanation is good, but I thought that, because being a hero means you have to save everyone and there’s usually a lot of danger around, Oisin is cracking under the stress of feeling like he has to save everyone he loves and everyone he loves is in danger!

Melinda LaFevers

Oisin, a bard and poet, married a woman of the Sidhe and went to live with her under the hill. There was feasting, and hunting, and fighting like he had never seen before. After a short time, he wished to go home to tell his father and family of his joy. His wife begged him not to go, saying that if he did, he would never return, but he insisted. She gave him a horse to ride, but told him if he got off the horse, he would never be able to return to her. He promised not to get off the horse, and set off on his journey. When he came to his home, he was astonished - there were fields where once had been forests, and forests where once had been fields. He came upon a group of men and asked after his family. They told him that his family had died many generations back. The men were trying to move a boulder from the road. He was surprised at how weak they were, and how the several men could not move such a paltry thing. Putting out his hand, he moved the boulder for them, but when the boulder moved, he lost his balance and fell from the horse, which disappeared. The men were shocked, because suddenly, the young handsome man who had helped them became an old man before their eyes. They thought at first to kill him as a witch, but instead took him to St. Patrick, who gave him shelter, and his his clerk write down all the stories of ancient Ireland that Oisin was willing to tell. It is said that, although Oisin never became a Christian, he lived in St. Patrick's care for the rest of his life, and it is because Patrick wished to preserve the old tales of Ireland that we know of them today...

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