The earliest known version of the tune for the Irish version of the song, is earlier than the earliest printing of the words. Edward Bunting's "General Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland" appeared in 1796. He printed the Irish tune three times in his manuscripts, each time noting it was traditionally the first to by learned by beginning harpers. If this in turn really is derived from O’Carolan’s composition “Fairhaired Mary” then it must date back to 1738 or before
In The Black Swans I used the song as the basis of how Owen Campbell and Nola McLaren meet.
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