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Updated 04/25/2013

 


Bonny Portmore

Bonny Portmore is an Irish traditional folk song which laments the demise of Ireland's old oak forests, specifically The Great Oak of Portmore which stood near Portmore Lough, County Antrim, and fell in a windstorm in 1760 and was subsequently used for shipbuilding and other purposes.  The Great Oak of Portmore stood on the property of Portmore Castle (erected in 1664 and removed in 1761 ruins shown below) on the shore of Lough Beg.

The melody of this song was first published 1840 in Bunting's "Ancient Music of Ireland" and was collected from the playing of Ulster harper Daniel Black in 1796.
 


Lyrics by Loreena McKennitt

O bonny Portmore, you shine where you stand
And the more I think on you the more I think long
If I had you now as I had once before
All the lords in Old England would not purchase Portmore.

O bonny Portmore, I am sorry to see
Such a woeful destruction of your ornament tree
For it stood on your shore for many's the long day
Till the long boats from Antrim came to float it away.

O bonny Portmore, you shine where you stand
And the more I think on you the more I think long
If I had you now as I had once before

All the Lords in Old England would not purchase Portmore.

All the birds in the forest they bitterly weep
Saying, "Where shall we shelter or where shall we sleep?"
For the Oak and the Ash, they are all cutten down
And the walls of bonny Portmore are all down to the ground.

O bonny Portmore, you shine where you stand
And the more I think on you the more I think long
If I had you now as I had once before
All the Lords of Old England would not purchase Portmore.