Bonny Portmore


Bonny Portmore, you shine where you stand
The more I think on you, the more I think long
If I had you now as I had once before
All the lords in Old England would not purchase Portmore

Bonny Portmore, I am sorry to see
Such woeful destruction of your ornament tree
For it stood on your shore, for many’s the long day
Till the long boats from Antrim did float it away

All the birds in the forest do bitterly weep
Saying, “Where will we shelter or where will we sleep?”
The oak and the ash, they are all cutten down
And the walls of Portmore are all down to the ground

Tyrone 1

Songs of Tyrone


About a half mile from the eastern shore of Lough Neagh lies Lough Beg of Portmore. In 1664, Lord Conway built a castle there which fell into decay after his death. His estate encompassed one of the finest forests in Ireland. Bonny Portmore is an Irish traditional folk song which laments the demise of Ireland’s old oak forests, specifically the Great Oak of Portmore, which fell in a windstorm in 1760 and was subsequently used for shipbuilding and other purposes.