Casadh An tSúgáin

The Twisting Of The Rope
This is a traditional Irish song performed by Lasairfhíona Ní Chonaola. It appears on the album An Raicín Álainn, wh more...

This is a traditional Irish song performed by Lasairfhíona Ní Chonaola. It appears on the album An Raicín Álainn, which was released in 2002.

From Joe Heaney

Well now, this is a very interesting story. You could call it love, maybe – and maybe you wouldn’t call it love. Casadh an tSúgáin – ‘The Twisting of the Rope.’ The rope that they’re talking about, it’s the rope they used to tie down the thatched cottages long ago. The way they used to do it, you had some straw or hay, and you came up, and you got a bit of a stick, and I was sitting here with the straw. And you put the stick into the straw and started twisting it and backing away like this, now. [demonstrates] Get me? And I’d be letting out the straw to you, until the rope was long enough to be cut; and then you’d start another rope, and tie them up until the day you were thatching the house.

Well, this fellow was in love with this particular girl, and there was only the girl and the mother in the house. And people say the mother was a bit jealous because he fancied the daughter; the daughter fancied the fellow, and the mother fancied the fellow, and the fellow fancied the daughter and he didn’t fancy the mother – let me put it that way. But anyway, he was going around from place to place, you know, moaning his loss, ‘til one night he says to himself, ‘I may as well make a bee-line for this house again.’ So in he goes, and when the old lady saw him coming, she said ‘I don’t want— I don’t like this at all.’ And he was sitting down, and he said to the old woman, ‘I like your daughter,’ he said, ‘Ma’am. Suppose if I married your daughter, what kind of a dowry would she get? And the old woman started tapping her foot. And she said – I can’t write this down, this is something I cannot write – stráca an phota is mar sin. ‘Stráca an phota’ is the old thing that used to lift up the pot off the fire. Was made…of wool or something, or knitted like a sock and pulled on. And she said, [sings] ‘Stráca an phota is mar sin.’ And then she started tapping her feet. Read more on

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If you're with me
Be with me in front of all the people in the house
If you're with me
Be with me all day and all night
If you're with me
Be with me truly in your heart
It is my great sadness
That you aren't mine on Sunday as my wife

If the cat had a dowry
How nicely his mouth would be kissed
And if he didn't, it's a long way
From home he would be driven
The twisted, wretched witch's daughter
Is married since last night
And my girl's at home
With no one to kiss her mouth


And what misfortune that
Directed me to this place?
There is many a girl in the village
That I left behind
Because of a fight and a quarrel
And something that wasn't even true
Musha, a silly hag
And her daughter that had no sense

I would plow and plant
The seed deep in the soil
And I would drive the cows to the fields
Where the tallest grass grows
I would shoe a horse that was
The nicest and fastest ever
And a woman would elope with a man
Who wouldn't even do that


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