Lakes of Coolfin

Lyrics

It was early one morning, young Willie arose
And off to his comrade’s bed chamber did go
Saying ‘Arise dearest comrades, let nobody know
It’s a fine summer’s morning and a bathing we’ll go’

Well, Willie plunged in and he swam the lake round
’til he came to an island of soft marshy gound
Crying, ‘Comrades, dear comrades, do not venture in
For there’s false and deep waters in the Lakes of Coolfin’

Early next morning, Willie’s sister arose
And into her mother’s bedchamber did go
Saying, ‘I had a sad dream ’bout Willie last night
He was clad in a shroud, in a shroud of snow white’

Well, later that evening, Willie’s mother stood there
She was ringing her fingers and tearing her hair
Saying where did he drown, where did he fall in
For there’s false and deep waters in the Lakes of Coolfin

I saw a fair maid standing fast by the shore
Her face, it was sad, she was crying for sure
Saying woe to the hour young Willie plunged in
For there’s false and deep waters in the Lakes of Coolfin


Notes

This is a traditional song about the accidental drowning of a soldier called Willie Leonard. There is no evidence of the existence of such a person and the song has been popular in many locations with title variations including Col-flynn, Coephin and Shilin. 

Coolfin is located just outside the village of Portlaw in County Waterford. There are lakes in the area which are regarded as highly dangerous for swimming. Coolfin Lakes are located between Portlaw and Kilmacthomas. Many of the new housing estates bear names such as Coolfin Meadows etc. Coolfin itself is only a small country area and is generally regarded as part of Portlaw.



County

Waterford

Song Themes

Requiem

Songwriter