O where, Kinkora, is Brian the Great
And where is the beauty that once was thine ?
O where are the princes and nobles that sate
At the feasts in thy halls, and drank the red wine ?
Where, O Kinkora ?

O where, Kinkora are thy valorous lords ?
O whither, thou hospitable, are they gone?
O where are the Dalcassians of the golden swords ?
And where are the warriors Brian led on ?
Where, O Kinkora ?

And where is Morrough, the descendant of kings
The defeater of a hundred, the daringly brave
Who set but slight store by jewels and rings
Who swam down the torrent and laughed at its wave ?
Where, O Kinkora ?

And where is Donogh, King Brian’s worthy son ?
And where is Conaing, the beautiful chief ?
And Kian and Core ? Alas, they are gone
They have left me this night alone with my grief
Left me, Kinkora ?

And where are the chiefs with whom Brian went forth ?
The sons never-vanquished of Evin the brave
The great King of Osnacht, renowned for his worth
And the hosts of Baskinn from the western wave ?
Where, O Kinkora ?

O where is Duvlann of the swift-footed steeds?
And where is Kian who was son of Molloy ?
And where is King Lonergan, the fame of whose deeds
In the red battle-fields no time can destroy ?
Where, O Kinkora ?

And where is that youth of majestic height
The faith-keeping Prince of the Scots? Even he ?
As wide as his fame was, as great was his might
Was tributary, Kinkora, to thee
Thee, O Kinkora

They are gone, those heroes of royal birth
Who plundered no churches, and broke no trust
‘Tis weary for me to be living on earth
When they, O Kinkora, lie low in the dust
Low, O Kinkora

No never again will princes appear
To rival the Dalcassians of the cleaving swords
I can never dream of meeting afar or anear
In the east or the west, such heroes and lords
Never, Kinkora

Dear are the images my memory calls up
Of Brian Boru, how he never would miss
To give me at the banquet the first bright cup.
Ah, why did he heap on me honor like this?
Why, O Kinkora ?

1 am Mac-Liag and my home is on the lake
Thither often to that palace whose beauty is fled
Came Brian to ask me, and I went for his sake
O my grief that I should live, and Brian be dead
Dead, O Kinkora


Transcribed from the Irish of Mac-Liag.

Mac-Liag was secretary to Brian Boru who fell at the battle of Clontarf in 1014. The poem laments the fallen condition of Kinkora, Brian’s palace in Munster. The death of Mac-Liag in 1015 is recorded in the “Annals of the Four Masters”. A great number of his poems are still in existence. The palace of Kinkora was situated near Killaloe on the banks of the Shannon. It is now in ruins.

Song Clip



Song Themes