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Norah Ryan

Norah was Dermod’s childhood sweetheart. They worked on several farms together in Scotland before the labourers disbanded after the end of season. At this point Dermod had gambled away all his money and was left to tramp the streets of Greenock alone. Later in the book he learns that she became pregnant the following season and had moved to Glasgow.


But let me sing in gayer strain,
The glory of the wilder life,
Apart a little from the strife,
The feline fury and the pain.

Despite the hate insensate which
The fates have borne to crush me low,
I love to watch the puppet show
And count myself exceeding rich.

You say I own no lordly halls,
No parks extending far and wide,
No cornice, column, cusp of pride,
No paintings hanging from my walls.

No hall of pride with fresco decked –?
My mountain pillars rear on high,
My floor the earth, my roof the sky,
And God Himself the Architect.

No paintings from a master’s hand –?
My canvas spreads from flower to star
Barbaric, grand, anear, afar,
From sea to sea, from land to land.

No deep cathedral music swells
For me, you say, I own it true,
For under Heaven’s gentian blue,
What strains of sweetness fill the dells!

The rustle of the wind-swept trees,
The robin’s song at early morn,
The larks above the crimson corn,
What music in the world like these!

All, all are mine. The simple flower,
The ocean in its madding wrath,
The drunken wind that beats my path,
The arched skies that shine or lower.


from The Road Across the Hills, released February 22, 2019
Music composed by Gráinne Brady with 'A Navvy's Philosophy' by Patrick MacGill

Gráinne Brady – fiddle
Andrew Waite – piano accordion
Innes White – guitar

Su-a Lee – cello

Jack Houston – spoken word


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Gráinne Brady Glasgow, UK

Gráinne Brady is a Glasgow based fiddle player and composer, originally from Co. Cavan, Ireland.

"Irish/Scottish and contemporary influences infuse Brady’s vibrant rhythms and rich lyrical patterns, illuminating peaks and troughs of the emigrant experience and the extremities of poverty. Arrangements evoke both adversity and lively inner strength." Bryony Hegarty, RnR Magazine 5*****
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