The star of the county down
The Chieftains Lyrics


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In Banbridge Town in the County Down
One morning last July,
From a boreen green came a sweet colleen
And she smiled as she passed me by.
She looked so sweet from her two bare feet
To the sheen of her nut brown hair.
Such a coaxing elf, sure I shook myself
For to see I was really there.

[Chorus]
From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay and
From Galway to Dublin Town,
No maid I've seen like the brown colleen
That I met in the County Down.

As she onward sped, sure I scratched my head,
And I looked with a feelin' rare,
And I say's, say's I, to a passer-by,
"Whose the maid with the nut brown hair"?
He smiled at me and he says, say's he,
"That's the gem of Ireland's crown.
It's Rosie McCann from the banks of the Bann,
She's the star of the County Down".

[Chorus]

At the Harvest Fair she'll be surely there
And I'll dress in my Sunday clothes,
With my shoes shone bright and my hat cocked
Right for a smile from my nut brown rose.
No pipe I'll smoke, no horse I'll yoke
Till my plough turns rust colored brown.
Till a smiling bride, by my own fireside
Sits the star of the County Down.





[Chorus]

Overall Meaning

The song "Star of the County Down" by Van Morrison is a classic Irish folk tune that tells the story of a young man who meets a beautiful young woman in Banbridge Town in County Down, Ireland. The young man is immediately smitten with her and marvels at her simple beauty - from the bare feet to the nut brown hair. He stops to ask a passerby who the young woman is and is told that she is Rosie McCann, the "gem of Ireland's crown" and the star of County Down. The young man declares that he will woo and win her and become her proud husband someday.


The lyrics of the song are filled with traditional Irish imagery and language. The setting in Banbridge Town is a nod to the town's significance in Irish history and culture. The mention of the Harvest Fair is a callback to the agricultural roots of Ireland, while the reference to Bantry Bay and Derry Quay is a reminder of the country's maritime heritage. The song is a celebration of simple pleasures and the beauty of the Irish countryside - and the woman who is the shining star of it all.


Line by Line Meaning

In Banbridge Town in the County Down
The story takes place in Banbridge Town in County Down.


One morning last July,
The story takes place on one morning last July.


From a boreen green came a sweet colleen
A sweet young woman came down a green lane.


And she smiled as she passed me by.
She passed by the artist and smiled.


She looked so sweet from her two bare feet
She looked sweet, from her feet that had no shoes.


To the sheen of her nut brown hair.
Her brown hair had a shine to it.


Such a coaxing elf, sure I shook myself
She had a magical sway, and the singer had to shake himself to realize she was real.


For to see I was really there.
To make sure he wasn't dreaming.


[Chorus] From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay and From Galway to Dublin Town, No maid I've seen like the brown colleen That I met in the County Down.
There is no other maid like the one he met in County Down.


As she onward sped, sure I scratched my head,
The artist was perplexed as she walked away.


And I looked with a feelin' rare,
He looked at her with a rare feeling.


And I say's, say's I, to a passer-by,
He asked a passerby who the girl was.


"Whose the maid with the nut brown hair"?
He asked the passerby who the young woman with brown hair was.


He smiled at me and he says, say's he,
The passerby smiled and answered.


"That's the gem of Ireland's crown.
The young woman is the crown jewel of Ireland.


It's Rosie McCann from the banks of the Bann,
Her name is Rosie McCann and she's from the banks of the Bann.


She's the star of the County Down".
She's the most beautiful woman in County Down.


[Chorus]
The chorus repeats.


At the Harvest Fair she'll be surely there
She will be at the Harvest Fair.


And I'll dress in my Sunday clothes,
He will dress in his best clothes.


With my shoes shone bright and my hat cocked right
He will polish his shoes and wear his hat properly.


For a smile from my nut brown rose.
He wants to see her smile again.


No pipe I'll smoke, no horse I'll yoke
He will give up smoking and working with horses.


Till my plough turns rust coloured brown.
He won't work until his plough is rusty.


Till a smiling bride, by my own fireside
He won't marry until he has a smiling bride by his own fireside.


Sits the star of the County Down.
She's the woman who he fell in love with, the star of County Down.


[Chorus]
The last line of the song repeats.




Lyrics © BMG Rights Management
Written by: PETER HOPE

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Most interesting comments from YouTube:

@mabruksadeg1378

Near Banbridge town in the county down
One morning last july,
From a boreen green came a sweet colleen
And she smiled as she passed me by.
She looked so sweet fronn her two bare feet
To the sheen of her nut brown hair.
Such a coaxing elf, sure I shook myself
For to see I was really there.
From bantry bay up to derry quay and
From galway to dublin town,
No maid I've seen like the brown colleen
That I met in the county down.



@Wuei108

Near Banbridge town, in the County Down
One morning in July
Down a boreen green came a sweet colleen
And she smiled as she passed me by.
She looked so sweet from her two white feet
To the sheen of her nut-brown hair
Such a coaxing elf, I'd to shake myself
To make sure I was standing there.
From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay
And from Galway to Dublin town
No maid I've seen like the sweet colleen
That I met in the County Down.
As she onward sped I shook my head
And I gazed with a feeling rare
And I said, says I, to a passerby
"Who's the maid with the nut-brown hair?"
He smiled at me, and with pride says he,
"That's the gem of Ireland's crown.
She's young Rosie McCann from the banks of the Bann
She's the star of the County Down."
I've travelled a bit, but never was hit
Since my roving career began
But fair and square I surrendered there
To the charms of young Rose McCann.
I'd a heart to let and no tenant yet
Did I meet with in shawl or gown
But in she went and I asked no rent
From the star of the County Down.
At the crossroads fair I'll be surely there
And I'll dress in my Sunday clothes
And I'll try sheep's eyes, and deludhering lies
On the heart of the nut-brown rose.
No pipe I'll smoke, no horse I'll yoke
Though with rust my plow turns brown
Till a smiling bride by my own fireside
Sits the star of the County Down.



@saintkevin777

In Banbridge Town in the County Down
One morning last July,
From a boreen green came a sweet colleen
And she smiled as she passed me by
She looked so sweet fronn her two bare feet
To the sheen of her nut brown hair
Such a coaxing elf, sure I shook myself
For to see I was really there

From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay and
And from Galway to Dublin Town,
No maid I've seen like the brown colleen
That I met in the County Down

At the Harvest Fair she'll be surely there
And I'll dress in my Sunday clothes,
With my shoes shone bright and my hat cocked right 
For a smile from my nut brown rose
No pipe I'll smoke, no horse I'll yoke
Till my plough is rust coloured brown
Till a smiling bride, by my own fireside
Sits the star of the County Down

From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay and
From Galway to Dublin Town,
No maid I've seen like the brown colleen
That I met in the County Down

As she onward sped, sure I scratched my head,
And I looked with a feelin' rare,
And I say's, say's I, to a passer-by,
"Whose the maid with the nut brown hair"?
He looked at me and he says's, say's he,
"That's the gem of Ireland's crown
Young Rosie McCann from the banks of the Bann,
She's the star of the County Down"

From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay and
From Galway to Dublin Town,
No maid I've seen like the brown colleen
That I met in the County Down


From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay and
From Galway to Dublin Town,
No maid I've seen like the brown colleen
That I met in the County Down

From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay and
From Galway to Dublin Town,
No maid I've seen like the brown colleen
That I met in the County Down

Words: Cathal MacGarvey Tune: traditional (Dives and Lazarus)



All comments from YouTube:

@celticcheetah6371

My Granny was from Country Down. This was her favourite song. Even when she was quite far gone with dementia she still came alive to music. Particularly folk songs. It was so moving. I remember one visit when she didn’t know who I was - thought I was her Mum - but still joined in when i sang ‘Star of the County Down’. Remembered all the lyrics.

The last time I saw her, I knew she was dying, because she didn’t recognise her tunes any more. She kept saying the same thing, over and over: ‘the original was so beautiful. Why did they have to change it’.

@penyarol83

very allegorical, her last line... Thanks for sharing.

@eightapeach2861

Thanks for sharing

@j.kaimori3848

Rest in peace granny, star of the county down.

@purposedrivenvoice

im in 🇺🇸 and have been hooked on this song since I heard it at a irish pub ... may I know what the original lyrics were

@dm9078

The best version of this song I’ve ever heard. Van Morrison is incomparable.

@evelynoconnor3062

ANOTHER GREAT PERFORMANCE FROM.THE VERY TALENTED, VAN MORRISON WITH THE ALWAYS BRILLIANT MUSIC OF THE CHIEFTAINS

@socratesgoulas9036

Led by Paddy Moloney the Great!!!

@sherlockgnomes8971

Growing up singing in this car with my Dad and my Gran. I truly love the power of music. Beautiful song and beautiful memories.

@lefuedebout

Often I heard my father say... "and I said said I" ... "and he said he ".... precious memories.

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