Rose of Tralee

Lyrics

The pale moon was rising above the green mountain
The sun was declining beneath the blue sea
When I strayed with my love to the pure crystal fountain
That stands in the beautiful Vale of Tralee.
She was lovely and fair as the rose of the summer
Yet ’twas not her beauty alone that won me
Oh no, ’twas the truth in her eyes ever dawning
That made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee

The cool shades of evening their mantle were spreading
And Mary all smiling sat listening to me
The moon through the valley her pale rays were shining
When I won the heart of the Rose of Tralee
She was lovely and fair as the rose of the summer
Yet ’twas not her beauty alone that won me
Oh no, ’twas the truth in her eyes ever dawning
That made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee

On the far fields of India, mid war’s bloody thunder
Her voice was a solace and comfort to me
But the cold hand of death has now torn us asunder
I’m lonely tonight for my Rose of Tralee
She was lovely and fair as the rose of the summer
Yet ’twas not her beauty alone that won me
Oh no, ’twas the truth in her eyes ever dawning
That made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee

Kerry 1

Songs of Kerry


Notes

Mary Pauline O’Connor was the daughter of a brogue-maker who lived and worked in Tralee. At 17, she was courted by William Pembroke Mulchinock, son of a wealthy wool and linen merchant. When he asked for her hand in marriage, she refused, knowing she would never be accepted into the Mulchinock family. William was broken-hearted and set off to India where he became a war correspondent. Six years later in 1849, he returned to a famine torn Tralee to be told that Mary O’Connor had died two days earlier.

“The Rose of Tralee” is a nineteenth-century ballad about a woman called Mary, who because of her beauty was called The Rose of Tralee. The words of the song are credited to Edward Mordaunt Spencer and the music to Charles William Glover, but a story circulated in connection with the “Rose of Tralee” festival claims the song was written by William Pembroke Mulchinock out of his love for Mary O’Connor.

Mary Pauline O'Connor

Mary Pauline O’Connor

Mary O'Connor statue 3

Statue in Tralee Town Park

Clip – Reg Keating



County

Kerry

Song Themes

Love and romance