The chased hart so longs for water (Planxty Irwin – 3 Verses) – Organ


The chased hart so longs for water,
So my soul does ache for you.
For you alone are my heart’s desire
And I yearn to worship you.
My life you are, my sun so bright,
Your grace a gift that shall inspire;
I shall sing with joy and thankfulness;
Merrily bells sound from the tower.

Gold coins are like sunlight on water,
Your love lasts eternally,
Your beauty reflects all eternity,
For in each face God I see.
My life you are . . .

I hope my love will last forever,
Blessed life a gift from you,
Under blue skies and starlit nights
I’ll remember all you do;
My life you are. . .


The original music was composed by Turlough O’Carolan for my ancestor Col. John Irwin of Tanrego House, situated on Ballysodare Bay in Sligo. The song was probably composed after the Peace of Utrecht (1713) because the verses speak of Col. Irwin coming home from the wars. Col. Irwin was born in 1680 and died in 1752. He was High Sheriff of Sligo in 1731.

“Planxty” is a word used by Turlough O’Carolan in many of his works, and is believed to denote a tribute to a particular person and is thought possibly to be a corruption of the Irish word and popular toast “sláinte”, meaning “good health”. Some claim that the word is not Irish in origin but comes from the Latin “plangere,” meaning to strike or beat. Alternatively, its origin may stem from the Irish phrase “phlean an tí” meaning “from the house of”. Another possible explanation is that it is derived from the Latin “Planctus”, a medieval lament.

I fell in love with the tune when I heard it and originally arranged it for two flutes to be played by my daughter and her tutor before adapting it as a wedding hymn – Richard Irwin


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