Christy Moore - The Well Lyrics

Everybody knew, but nobody said...

Green grows the lily-o
Right among the bushes-o

A gentleman was passing by
And he asked for a drink as he was dry
At the well below the valley-o
Green grows the lily-o
Right among the bushes-o

My cup is full up to the brim
And if I were to stoop I might fall in
At the well below the valley-o
Green grows the lily-o
Right among the bushes-o

If your true love was passing by
You'd fill him a drink if he was dry
At the well below the valley-o
Green grows the lily-o
Right among the bushes-o

She swore by grass, she swore by corn
Her true love had never been born
At the well below the valley-o
Green grows the lily-o
Right among the bushes-o

He said to her you're swearing wrong
Six fine children you've had born
At the well below the valley-o
Green grows the lily-o
Right among the bushes-o

If you be a man of noble fame
You'll tell to me the father of them
At the well below the valley-o
Green grows the lily-o
Right among the bushes-o

There's one of them by your brother John
At the well below the valley-o
One of them by your Uncle Don
At the well below the valley-o
Two of them by your father dear
At the well below the valley-o
Green grows the lily-o
Right among the bushes-o

If you be a man of noble fame
You'll tell to me what did happen to them
At the well below the valley-o
Green grows the lily-o
Right among the bushes-o

There's one of them buried beneath the tree
At the well below the valley-o
Another two buried beneath the stone
At the well below the valley-o
Two of them outside the graveyard wall
At the well below the valley-o
Green grows the lily-o
Right among the bushes-o

If you be a man of noble fame
You'll tell to me what will happen myself
At the well below the valley-o
Green grows the lily-o
Right among the bushes-o

You'll be seven years a-ringing a bell
At the well below the valley-o
And seven years a-burning in hell
At the well below the valley-o

I'll be seven years a-ringing a bell
But the Lord above may save my soul
From burning in hell at the well below the valley-o
Green grows the lily-o
Right among the bushes-o
Green grows the lily-o
Right among the bushes-o

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Christy Moore The Well Comments
  1. منتهى Mountaha

    one of my favourite songs of all time ♥

  2. mupine67

    It's real that's the beauty of these songs. it's the truth. The words. The Dubliners and their songs....the truth is beauty. Songs like Dicey Rielly, and welie wale, What happens under the total oppression, fear, hunger extreme poverty of Ireland back in the day. No sugar coating.

  3. Jo Ann O'Flanagan

    You might this too-
    Little Nothing
    by Joann Flanagan

    St. Zita,pray for us,
    So we'll get to Heaven
    Without a fuss!

    Syf was your name origonally
    Till you took service in the House of di Fatinelli.
    Syf they christened you in your hometown.
    In Lucca you lost your name and gained renoun.

    St. Zita,pray for us,
    So we'll get to Heaven
    Without a fuss!

    In the Italy of your day
    When girlchildren went out to play
    At their innocent childlike games
    Folks added "Zita" to their names.

    St. Zita,pray for us,
    So we'll get to Heaven
    Without a fuss!

    In the di Fatinelli House they showered you with blame.
    They never called you "Sif" Or "Sifzita",
    Only Zita as if you had no name-
    As if you were "Noone" or "Nobodyzita".

    St. Zita,pray for us,
    So we'll get to Heaven
    Without a fuss!

    It's such a pity
    You lost your name in the City
    Of Lucca where you found a job
    Under conditions that tempted anyone to sob!
    Would tempt anyone to kill,to rob!

    St. Zita,pray for us,
    So we'll get to Heaven
    Without a fuss!

    It was Nobodyzita do this!
    Noonezita do that!
    Your ignorance is a bottomless abyss,
    You illiterate hick! You Scullian brat!

    St. Zita,pray for us,
    So we'll get to Heaven
    Without a fuss!

    Now great folk pray to you,
    Name their daughters Zita
    with no great ado ,
    Light candles to you too!

    St. Zita,pray for us,
    So we'll get to Heaven
    Without a fuss!

    We don't say "St. Zita of Lucca",
    But rather "Lucca,St.Zita's city."
    Where she led a hard but holy life,
    As we request not offer pity.

    St. Zita,pray for us,
    So we'll get to Heaven
    Without a fuss!

  4. РАДИК Ильшатович

    Русских тут нет что-ли

  5. Catarina Costa

    Love this song. Thanks for sharing! I was looking for it since some years when I watched the movie where it is played. Great!

  6. martin flaherty

    No words to say .....just be quiet and listen to beauty

  7. Fran Benson

    The wolf has it spot on

  8. Absolutum Maximum

    Mexicans love the Irish! Gods bless you crazy bastards!

    Valérie de Saint-Do

    There is a superb album from the Chieftains, San Patrizio with Irish and Mexican music.

  9. what i'm thinking

    sad true story: this song was thought to have been lost for over a hundred and fifty years until a man called Tom munnely (a song collector) happened to hear about a traveller man who lived in boyle co. roscommon by the name of John (Jacko) Reilly. Tom munnely recorded 36 of Jacko's songs in the back room of a local pub in two days, because Jacko had a cough Tom munnely and a professor from America told Jacko they would be back in a month to record more of his songs (he was believed to have known hundreds of songs) sadly 4/5 week's later John (Jacko)Reilly passed away from pneumonia. Christy Moore sang and recorded some of jackos songs, it was decades later before Christy Moore acknowledged Jacko for the songs.



    Niall MacDonagh

    Thank you for crediting my old friend Tom Munnely but I have to say that he did not just "happen" to record John Reilly. Tom came from a modest background but songs became a passion and he and his wife structured their life around doing whatever they needed to just to live. At one time Tom took a job working on the roads. Later on he obtained academic positions, very well earned.

    Ryan morphy richards

    Yip true story I was there

    Laura walsh

    Thanks for adding that comment, helps give am idea where these. Songs came from. This song is beautiful and has so much meaning

  10. A E

    I hate when people try to clap along to Christy..shut up and listen

  11. countsmyth

    From an Irish man living abroad for 8 years, this nearly brings me to tears!


    I can relate to that feeling!! you can take the boy out of ireland but you'll never take Ireland out of the boy!!

    Philip Maxwell

    that's Irish pride! be proud and keep your head up

  12. Dr. Scott-Arthur

    Great song. Could do without the religious bollocks though.

    John McCourt

    Tazza17 arse hole

    Dr. Scott-Arthur

    Go and bash the bible you deluded man.

    Amanda Flynn

    You realise this is what the song is about right ....religion.

    Jo Ann O'Flanagan

    Since this song was inspired by the story of the woman at the well a certain amount of religion is inevitable

    Constuctive Critisism

    It’s a song ... get over it

  13. A Wily Wolf

    Ummm, odd, even allowing for an arbitrary mote of tradition. A chick was either raped by a range of family members or engaged in consensual sex leading to pregnancy with those same members. Six children were subsequently birthed and ostensibly murdered and buried early in their lives... by the mother?... in a variety of locations. Ok... and then she should suffer divine penance through experiencing a series of years as a stepping-stone, a bell-clapper, and in hell?

    What is the the lesson? Don't fuck, or get fucked by, family members, and/or murder one's own children as it will result in hellish punishment? I'm reasonably sure we could work out the moral implications of the aforementioned situation on our own through rational reasoning without evoking the divine. There is little need to expect that any assumed moral essence wrapped in a rhythmically pleasant musical melody is objective and contemporaneously valid, especially when musical representation of culture is a wholly limited medium in illustrating this associated quality...

    Do the lilies grow green at the well below the valley, right among the bushes, because of some of the buried offspring becoming essentially fertilizer?

    Notwithstanding contemporary critiques of associated songs' moral value , we remain fortuitously exposed to such ballads, due in no small part to Francis Child's broad collating efforts during the latter half of the 19th century.


    +A Wily Wolf I've seen a couple interpretations of this song, and most of what I see is that her sin wasn't necessarily incest or premarital sex that led to children out of wedlock, it was lying to a member of the clergy.


    +A Wily Wolf I took it to mean that the children died but i guess she may have killed them after all the line is six fine children you done wrong

    Amy Galvin

    candom rommenter lol. what are you on about?


    I don't listen to folk songs anymore - they are usually about some awful - throwing a baby off a bridge or somesuch.

    Bryan Nelson

    emrys actually, I believe the line is "for six fine children you have born"

  14. Renan Poersch

    Can someone help me here? I can`t understand what he is saying at "the x x x x x to x me water from the well" and "my cup is full up to the brim
    x x x they might fall in"
    English is not my native language, and it`s kinda hard to understand those words.
    If any help, tnx anyway!

    B U N N

    @Renan Poersch No problem! The first part is "The servant girl took off her pail to draw me water from the well" - a pail is kind of a medieval word for bucket.
    The second part id 'My cup is full up to the brim if I were to stoop they might fall in' - to stoop is to beind over, lean in. Sorry if i'm over-explaining things you already know! Enjoy!

    Renan Poersch

    @Lord Bunn You are very kind, Sir! Thank you.

    Phil Horaia

    +Renan Poersch!.

  15. holygroove2

    Love how rhythmic his voice is, not just his drumming. Beautiful despite the subject matter. Gorgeous!

  16. Bruan Hardrada

    Her punishment is because she lied to the holy man. Not because she was a victim, she tried to hide their deaths, like Cain tried to Hide what he did to Abel, again the major sin is trying to lie to God.

    Christina Marrocco

    thats one way to look at it

    S 070

    She probably killed them so they would not have to be raped the way she was.


    Did she try and hide their deaths?

  17. GG Babe

    Love it because it give us a true insight of the Magdaelene Laundries from the women's experiences!

    Amy Galvin

    GG Babe lol

  18. Sarah Ryan

    Adding never new what the song ment at the time..tune was just catchy

  19. Sarah Ryan

    Road trips with daddy dearest listening to this song down to west cork and kerry for day trips growing up ..memories ♥♥

  20. ZZZLover


  21. jamesmmassey


  22. John Mc Keon

    People were always people

  23. readyforthebattle

    What a prick

  24. Arawyn Black

    Plenty opf Bodhran, needs more cow bell

  25. silverdollar1921

    brings tears to me eyes everytime i hear it... beautiful!

  26. Ute Hübner


  27. 10guitars

    every feckin hair on my body is a schdandin up !

  28. zihuetlachtli

    Nothing like it.

  29. John Dwyer

    No, It's a bodhran.

  30. billybob thornton

    3.55 Onwards thats the heartbeat of Ireland folks.

  31. yekdeli


  32. Laura A Brady-Chirillo

    love the song.. haunting.. reminds us who we are.. what we were.. hope to never forget.. forget and you are doomed to repeat..

  33. Jamie Mc Cabe

    Christy man im straight but fuckin jesus jumped up christ marry me..LOL

  34. mmmDanish

    Christy in bossmode

  35. cmur078

    So many songs nowadays are full of sex and violence and terrible attitudes to women. We should go back to the good old days! Wait a minute...

  36. Liam Gaule

    he is using freehand

  37. TheDarknessThatBinds

    If only more music incorporated incest and victim blaming! Yeah!


    The babies weren't blamed. Only the guilty.

  38. SMM

    Ah yes, I love a good song of murder and incest in a mornin!

  39. bronnybabby

    no need for that jessiebodman..if you "dislike" it why would you watch it? why on earth would you call me an idiot..go fuckyourself

  40. bronnybabby

    don't usually comment on here but whoever "dislikes" this should be shot with balls of their own shite!!!!

  41. maxx astral

    @ecmatic exactly...

  42. xProudxIrishxGirlx

    i remember this night so well.. this was haunting, everyone held their breath listening to him

  43. Hatkala


  44. k man

    These days the lady wouldn't be going to hell, but featuring on 'The Jeremy Kyle Show' instead.....

  45. rmnixonII

    Well, I just broke out in a cold sweat.

  46. Rach West

    needs moar of the drum I've forgotten the name of, :(

  47. matskigudjohnson

    Gives me goose bumps....

  48. julian thueringer

    I find this a sad and sick song (it makes me sick to my stomach to listen to the lyrics)...though there is a dark, melancholic kind of beauty to it...a masterful performance by Moore!


    It is a sin song. The thrill and horror of the forbidden. Most were lost, either not passed on or expurgated into idiotic innocence.

  49. francismassacre

    Or from "The Maid and the Palmer," apparently, Child #21.

  50. francismassacre

    @sleeveleague These are all really common themes in the Child Ballads. As someone ColinMacCauley stated, this is one is probably a variation on "The Cruel Mother," not sure which number, but one of the Child Collection anyway.

  51. moominpic

    @Kick0a0cat That's assuming SHE killed them. Knowing the circumstances, they may have been "disposed of" by the father(s). I have read that in some places it was not uncommon for unwanted/illegitimate babies to be put to bed on open window ledges in the winter.

  52. moominpic

    @arapadasbestas Probably playing with his hand. Any time I've seen him play this was how he did it.

  53. lee mc donnell

    christy is the best singer of this song in my opinion

  54. Mike Rodgers

    I love this song! It is a great variation on "The Cruel Mother".

  55. tony10396861

    I love this song; beautiful and slightly disturbing. Christy is wonderful, really feels the music and the rhythm. Sweat pouring off him from the pure intensity of it all

  56. Iliana Zonneveld Coltro

    Muito lindo

  57. sleeveleague

    I first heard this song some 25 years ago I think, and loved the music but i could not understand the words by then; I was quite horrified when i red and understood the lyrics; i guess it reflec on historical (and current ?) reality: inscest, rape, infanticide as a consequence, but it is not very often tha tthese reality are alluded to in folk songs, not in any french songs that I know of, at least.


    La fille damnée, traditional Breton, arranged and sung by Celile Corbel. The lyric is about the ghost of a woman raped and murdered calling to her family for revenge if I understand correctly.

    The songs exist, but they were rarely passed on to collectors, or they were 'cleaned up' beyond recognition.

  58. Dave Westlake

    @MondoBeno I sense that I have to be gentle in my reply. I agree - we can't tell from the song whether it was rape or not. But, six childer? 2 by each of her brother, uncle and father? Many possible interpretations, but my gut and heart feeling is that this about organised incestuous rape. I can't even conceive of your alternative, that a young lass would seduce her family into that situation. Either way, she is the victim, but the priest makes her do penance for her 'guilt' .

  59. MondoBeno

    I agree this song is sexist. It isn't clear if she seduced her kin or if she were raped. It implies that she's trapped and not allowed any happiness.

  60. Dave Westlake

    @ronniesoak2003 thanks for that, but the only version of 'strangeways' I can find seems to have nothing like the impact of 'the well below the valley'. Maybe I haven't found the right version, or maybe I'm missing something? Can you send me a link to the version you know? It's also not without significance that another version of 'the well' was used in the opening scenes of 'The Magdalene Sisters'.

  61. ronniesoak2003

    @westlakeprobert for his damnation of the church, listen to "strangeways"

  62. MrPhatSlim

    I love this song, from a great movie too!

  63. IGotCatStyle

    Beautiful. But, is he playing only with his hand? I can't see any tipper...

  64. Rebecca Olds

    What an amazing concert this was - and this song and performance of it raised the hair on the back of my neck!

  65. Dave Westlake

    A desperate song! Sexual abuse, incest and (what) child murder? And what about the attitude of the 'holy man'? A more damning condemnation of the church, I can't imagine! She knows she's innocent!

  66. ClevBlue

    No, it was the Scots! Most english and Irish folk songs are originally Scottish - they all had an "o'er version". Ewan MacColl would have explained it all to you.

  67. LupineLady

    @Lilianiization It's not for everyone that's for sure, but I do like how different people interpret the music and put their own slant on it. :)

  68. born2play86

    Straight from the to love it.

  69. Laura Brosnan

    @LupineLady666 I love Omnia's version, but this is great too! It's just a hauntingly beautiful song :)

  70. Laura Brosnan

    @LupineLady666 I LOVE Omnia's version too! Both are great I think :)

  71. Geoffrey Harrington

    this beautiful song was the inspiration to my painting "The Well Below The Valley" (had to borrow the name)...the painting is on my youtube home page if anyone should be interested to see how Planxty's influence affected my work...they are an incredibly talented band with superb vocals too...Thanks so much.

  72. Karen Warner


  73. JustToFallAsleep

    Absolutely Amazing! What an artist witha song is Christy Moore.

  74. davyblue0123

    like a train...

  75. Anna Angélica Soares

    Essa música é simplesmente linda!!!!

  76. LindsayCurran

    Magnificent, simply magnificent! Gives me shivers - goosebumps - L O V E this!! Many many thanks!

  77. 7horianfiddler

    this is magic!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars and favourited!!!! Its pentatonic, isn't it?

  78. sdeleuze

    not that's THE version!!!! thanks for posting!

  79. juliMathers


  80. TheFlapper666

    very nice

  81. Owlinabowl

    I don't suppose anybody watching this has any idea as to the kind of bodhran our man is using in this video? Any ideas welcome...!

  82. LupineLady

    anyone seen omnia's version of this song? chill inducing, but this is WAY better.

  83. Petya Kalinkova

    God bless him! Magnificient!

  84. Irishfianna

    yes they are but there dead ronnie drew luke kelly

  85. Anne Vaillancourt

    Thank you ! Thank you so much !

  86. WellWhoKnows

    Sounded beautiful that night as it always does, Chisty come on!

  87. xProudxIrishxGirlx

    I was here on this night, wasn't the atmosphere during this piece amazing? Christy is so so talented. This is beautiful.