Maid of Ballygow


Three cheers, my boys for Bannow’s banks, the place that I love best
Likewise to you fair Ballygow, I’m now bound for the west
As I went down to Cullenstown to bid my last farewell
’twas there I spied the prettiest girl that e’er your eyes beheld

As I went down to Cullenstown, ’twas in the month of May
I roamed for recreation and to watch the ladies gay
’twas there I spied the pretty maid and she standing by the brow
Her beauty bright did me delight that day in Ballygow

I said ‘My lovely girl, I pray you to me tell
Is it on Bannow’s lonely banks your parents they do dwell?
Or if you are a stranger here today I wish to know
For the killing glances of your eyes have been my overthrow

‘Oh no, it’s not on Bannow’s banks my parents they do dwell
Nor either in Duncormick, nor yet in Gibberwell
But I came here from sweet Killmore, kind sir, you know it now
I’m here today a servant’ said the Maid of Ballygow

Well, since you are a servant here you must come along with me
For I do wish with all my heart that you will marry me.
No more I’ll roam the Bannow’s banks where the tides do ebb and flow
Or cross the stormy ocean where the wintry winds do blow

Although I am a servant here, your offer I decline
You’ll sail the stormy ocean and you’ll waver with the wind
And when you meet with pretty maids, to them you’ll swear and vow
And then you’ll leave them here to mourn’ said the Maid of Ballygow

So fare thee well sweet Bannow’s banks, where dwells that comely maid
Where oft-times ‘I had courted her down in yon fragrant shade
I pressed her to my boosom and I kissed her burning brow
But now I’m on the ocean wild and she’s in Ballygow


It was written around 1920 by man called Gallagher from the West of Ireland who did some casual work in and around Ballygow. The song is about the unrequited love of a wandering sailor who courted Nellie Keaton from Kilmore while she was employed to mind children in Ballygow. Ballygow is in the south of Wexford near to Duncannon.

Bannow is a civil parish lying east of Bannow Bay on the south-west coast of County Wexford

Song Clip



Song Themes

Love spurned