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16 October 2014
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'Where the Shimna Waters Flow ' by Alexander Taylor

There's a River flows in County Down
from the mountains to the sea
Along its banks the wild flower


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'Where the Shimna Waters Flow ' by Alexander Taylor

There's a River flows in County Down
from the mountains to the sea
Along its banks the wild flower grows
and the ivy climbs the tree.
Where lovers meet and talk so sweet,
and Cupid fires his bow.
For many a true-love knot was tied,
where the Shimna Waters flow.


Many bridges span this river,
the IVY, OLD and NEW,
to mention just a few.
They say the fairies danced on them with
their little lights aglow.
You could hear the beat of their tiny feet,
where the Shimna Waters flow.


You can take the road to Bryansford,
past the gates of Tollymore,
See the beauty of the village,
as I've seen it years before.
The passing by those wooded slopes
where the pine and larch does grow.
Down through the valley of Slievemann,
the Shimna Waters flow.


You can visit that old homestead
or the place it used to be
Where we played there all together
at the foot of the old ash tree.
Or by the Holly Bush to Skillens,
past the opening that is slow
Reliving all sweet memories,
where the Shimna Waters flow.


Then back by Slyvan Tollymore,
through heather over stile,
Until you come to Nassau's Bridge,
it's there you rest awhile.
By primrose banks to My Lady's Road,
where you walked there long ago.
Down by the mill that now is still,
where the Shimna Waters flow.


Oh! for the dances in Tollymore,
where gentle feet did tread,
and the music from the ballroom came,
amidst the scent of roses red.
And oh! that waltz so beautiful
with the notes so soft and low,
was wafted on the night breeze
where the Shimna Waters flows.


And in this Park the Roden Home,
where the eagle used to soar,
But now the house has tumbled down
and the Blue Lady haunts no more.
Beneath the oak and copper beech
the stag hid from his foe
For the huntsman with his hounds did ride,
where the Shimna Waters flow.

But now it's time to say goodbye
for just a little while
for I'll be back some other day
to cover every mile
All made by the Great Designer
like the four winds that do blow
May God be with those living

Return to George Hanna's Tollymore


Les Gault - Aug '06
When this poem first appeared in print in the Mourne Observer one summer circa 1958 a young local girl sang the words to the tune of a contempory song 'The blackboard of my Heart' at a talent contest in the Periots show at the bandstand on Newcastle Promenade. I am sure she won the contest that week but in any case she was presented with a special prize ( a watch ?) by the author of the poem.

Maureen Hutchens - March '06
Was the poem ever set to music? If so what was the air?

Vicky Dickson - Sept '05
Yes i thought the poem was exceptionally good. It really helped me to picture the wonderful scenery around the Mourne Mountains. I was so moved by this poem!

Jimmy Nicholson - December '04
This beautiful poem tore at the heart strings of a County Down man who has lived in America for some years. My most vivid recollection of the Mournes is back in 1986 when a friend and I ran from Donard Park in Newcastle,along the coast to Bloody Bridge. Up over Sleive Donard and back to Newcastle. I Had to do this as I had just completed the Three Peaks Race(Snowdon,Scafell and Ben Nevis) earlier that week. The beauty of the Mournes came back to me instantly after reading "Where the Shimna Waters Flow.
Thank you so much

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