Coleraine is a town some 30 miles East of Londonderry and 55 miles Northwest of Belfast. The name comes from the Irish term ‘Cúil Rathain’ which means ‘nook of the ferns’.
Kitty of Coleraine
UPDATE: On delving through old newspapers, I discovered this fascinating article in the Coleraine Chronicle from 12th March 1887. A reader of the newspaper writes in, to confirm that Edward Lysaght composed Kitty of Coleraine.
The correspondent wrote to the newspaper’s ‘Notes & Queries’ section, saying: “The author of this charming song (Kitty of Coleraine) was Edward Lysaght, born in County Clare in 1768, died 1810.
He was a Protestant, educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and at Oxford (where he graduated M.A. In 1784), was successively called to the English and Irish bars, and, after practising as a barrister, was appointed a divisional police magistrate of Dublin in the year before his death.
In addition to ‘Kitty of Coleraine’ he wrote The Sprig of Shillelagh,’ and the song addressed to Henry Grattan, ‘The Gallant Man who led the Van of the Irish Volunteers.’
He was a determined opponent of the Act of Union.
Mr Owen Madden, in big ‘ Revelations of Ireland,’ says Lysaght, ‘in his personal character, was a thorough Irishman—brave, brilliant, witty, eloquent, and devil-may care.”
Kitty of Coleraine Lyrics
As beautiful Kitty one morning was tripping,
With a pitcher of milk from the fair of Coleraine,
When she saw him she stumbled, the pitcher it tumbled,
And all the sweet buttermilk watered the plain.
Oh! What shall I do now, ’twas looking at you now,
Sure, sure, such a pitcher I’ll ne’er meet again.
‘Twas the pride of my dairy, Oh, Barney McCleary,
You’re sent as a plague on the girls of Coleraine.
He sat down beside her and gently did chide her,
That such a misfortune should give her such pain.
A kiss then he gave her, and before he did leave her,
She vowed for such pleasure, she’d break it again.
‘Twas haymaking season, I can’t tell the reason,
Misfortune will never come single ’tis plain,
For very soon after poor Kitty’s disaster,
The devil a pitcher was whole in Coleraine.