This is a traditional Irish song arranged by The Bothy Band. It appears on the album The Best Of The Bothy Band, released in 1983.
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 joeheaney.org