Casadh an tSúgáin

The Twisting Of The Rope
This is a traditional Irish song arranged by The Gloaming and sung by Iarla Ó Lionáird. It appears on their second stu more...

This is a traditional Irish song arranged by The Gloaming and sung by Iarla Ó Lionáird. It appears on their second studio album, released in 2016.
The Gloaming is a collaboration between Martin Hayes (violin, fiddle), Thomas Bartlett aka Doveman (piano), Iarla Ó Lionaird (vocals), Dennis Cahill (guitar) and Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh (hardanger fiddle), playing a blend of traditional and contemporary folk music. The group first came together in 2011.

Iarla Ó Lionáird (born 18 June 1964) is an Irish singer and record producer. He sings in the traditional sean-nós style. He was a member of the Afro Celt Sound System and is a member of the Irish-American supergroup The Gloaming. He has recorded several solo albums for Real World Records. He appeared in the 2015 film Brooklyn singing an a cappella version of the Irish folk song “Casadh an tSugain”.

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

Do you have any further information about this song? Edit this page and help us expand this section. ^close



Of a lovely woman I happened upon in the loneliness of the beach,
At the loop of the greenest woods in the small hours before daybreak:
The question she asked me so quietly and gently:
The world is asleep, softest is the white quilt

And if you're with me be with me, oh love of my life
And if you're with me be with me out the front of my home
If you're with me, and give to me every inch of your heart
It's my thousand hills won't you to me on Sunday like women*

From you were turning as a light, lively and strong little boy
And as you'll be turning and playing cards with the women...

Translation is incomplete.

Can you provide a better translation?