St Moninna of Killeavy was also known by the pet name Blinne (spelling variations: for ‘baby’). The following poem is sung to the same air as The Bell of Bronagh – a favourite of Matthew McGrath of Star of the Sea Church Rostrevor – words by Siobhan O Duibhainn. It is likely that the air is ancient, predating by centuries the words printed below. The mix of Gaelic with Sassanagh implies to me that the original was entirely in the native tongue.
If I can persuade Matthew to record Bell of Bronagh to Youtube, I will create a link.
The moon in splendour shone one night on valley, glen and hill
A thousand stars looked down from heaven and all the world was still
As I walked the road to the holy shrine that oft I longed to see
And a stainless child walked by my side to Blinne’s stream with me.
With merry jest and happy laugh unheeded passed the hours
No thorn lay in my path that night ‘Twas strewn a stor with flowers
And I forgot my own sad lot A chara oig mo chroi
You banished grief the night you came to Blinne’s stream with me.
And now is hushed the merry laugh while the Rosary we said
For kith and kin, for friend and foe the living and the dead
And all whom God afflicteth with pain and agony
Was it angel bright that walked that night to Blinne’s stream with me.
And when we reached the hallowed shrine we knelt in silence there
Again I prayed for those who find life’s burden hard to bear
And I begged God’s holy mother to preserve the purity
Of the spotless youth who came that night to Blinne’s stream with me.
Had I my wish thy path would be for ever bright and fair
No sorrow, no deep anguish should ever be thy share
Thy crosses I would gladly bear a mhile gradh for thee
Who came one happy moonlit night to Blinne’s stream with me.