Near Banbridge town in the County Down
One morning last July
Down a boreen green came a sweet colleen
And she smiled as she passed me by.
‘The Star of the County Down’ isn’t, strictly speaking, an Irish folk song. For one thing, there are the slightly too literary words, not traditional in the least, but written by Cathal McGarvey (1866–1927). Then there’s the tune, which, when slowed down a little turns into the old English song ‘Dives and Lazarus’, beloved of the composer Vaughan Williams. Still, my grandmother’s family came from Banbridge, Co Down, and so when Lisa Moore wondered if I might write something up-tempo for her Little Room Exiles project, this was the obvious starting point.