This song is very much set in Killarney. The Deenagh is a river that runs near that town. I was told that it once ran up New Street, but no more. Cherry Tree Road is by Killarney House, its trees have been cut down, but they will rise again, we are told! Ross Island wood is accessible from the mainland, in fact, you wouldn't know you were on an island traversing it. The song (to me) is about the loss of two separate people, it weaves in and out of those sorrows as it goes along. Lost on an ox-bow lake, stranded on that strange shore.
I went down where cherry trees bloom
and Killarney house it stands,
I dwelt on days that have gone away
though contented I oft' times am,
those halcyon days, swept away,
as the Deenagh's waters ran.
Come we'll go as blossoms bloom
to the past's fair distant lands,
in the month of may, in sport and play,
soon down our soft tears ran,
splendour fall down, echoes resound
as the lark in the clear air sang.
Follow me down rolling silver streams
memory's last flowing strand,
rods, dies, nets cast, set adrift alas,
no fish, nor sailor's sight of land,
Our bright birds flown I'm left to roam
the Deenagh's murky banks.
Wild rivers run to ox-bow lakes,
where not a skimmed stone does sound,
then the call of a lark, clear and stark
as a bugle o'er mountains resounds,
a syphoned dam's bone dry land
memories may gorse fires run.
I went down to Ross Island wood
when the sky was full of stars,
thoughts set ablaze as they surely stray
to memories distant one,
sanguine summers, fashioned silken covers
now ripped and torn in shards.