Literally "It is day"

Part of the Annotated Lyrics Horslips Pages


Recorded On

  1. The Book of Invasions: A Celtic Symphony
  2. The Best of Horslips

Source Tune

Ta na La. Also known as Ni'l na La

Recordings (After Horslips)

  1. Solas, 1996

Covered By

  1. Horslypse - Tribute with a Capital T, Omagh

Coincidentally, it is Niall Moore's uncle, Ray Moore, who was a session trumpet player on the original recording of The Book of Invasions back in 1976. And it is Ray's trumpet from that session 30 years ago that Niall will play on the night.

John McCusker, "Students in Horslips Tribute Show," Ulster Herald, Tuesday 14th April 2005

General Notes

"In this way they came, in dark clouds over the air, by might of druidry, and they landed on a mountain in Connaught. Thereafter the Tuatha De Danann brought a darkness over the sun and moon, for a space of three days and three nights.They demanded battle or kingship of the Fir Bolg".

The main theme of the first movement is "Ta 'na la" (Literally "It is day") which started life as a traditional drinking song. The subsequent tune, developing into the basic "Trouble" riff, is "Brian Boru's March". "Daybreak", on its reprise, jostles with "Toss The Feathers" - a reel which metamorphoses into "Sword of Light".

Notes on The Book of Invasions: A Celtic Symphony, Edsel Records

Lockhart's idea for the album's characteristic fanfare introduction was inspired by a film he recalled from his childhood. "Only a couple of years ago, I was watching this old film Mise Eire and realised that the trumpet sound that was featured in it must have been at the back of my mind when we were writing Invasions, 'cause I'd seen it as a kid. The idea was to have this very basic sound rising out of the mist and those first three notes correspond exactly with the opening notes of the traditional tune, Nil 'na La."

Mark Cunningham, "The Shamrock Chronicles," Hot Press 1995

The language revitalization organization Gael Linn is rightly famous for its embrace of "modern technology" in its work trying to revive Irish as Ireland's vernacular tongue. (1) While its traditional music label is perhaps the most widely known of these initiatives, equally important were its forays into film making. Here I offer a short examination of these forays, focusing on the newsreel series Amharc Eireann (A View of Ireland, 1956-64) and on George Morrisson's two films, Mise Eire (I Am Ireland, 1959) and Saoirse? (Freedom?, 1961). Two aspects of these films are particularly important; one is their Griersonian character--and I will explain John Grierson's ideas about cinema--and the other is their quality as translations, translations of a mostly English-speaking country into a series of Irish-speaking images. Gael Linn seemed to visualize film as something that was social and nation-building rather than commercial, an orientation that went against the otherwise capitalist-oriented development policies of the Lemass government. In this regard its film production strongly resembled those of the National Film Board of Canada and the film units of the United Kingdom's General Post Office and Empire Marketing Board, all of which were at some point run by Grierson. That Gael Linn sought to put this idea of film into action through the use of translation brings to light some interesting tensions in the role of translation in Ireland's ongoing process of cultural definition. A mixture of the progressive/social-democratic and the nostalgic/conservative are, we will see, problems that plague both the language revitalization movement and the Griersonian idea of cinema. Thus, these Gael Linn films, far from being merely a cine-historical curiosity, are in fact embodiments of deeply paradoxical moments in both film history and Irish history.

Jerry White, "Translating Ireland back into Eire: Gael Linn and film making in Irish," Eire-Ireland: Journal of Irish Studies, Spring-Summer 2003.

Nil na La (Solas Version)

Ta na caorigh ag ithe an gheamhair
Ta an gamhna ag ol an bhainne
Pratai sios gan diolachan
'S duine gan mheabhair
Na raghta abhaile

Is deas an bhean i Siobhan og
Guna nua uirthi anios on siopa
Is breathnaim ar mo ghini oir
'S i a' rince ar an mbord
Leis an phoc ar buile

Curfa: Nil 'na la, ta na la
Nil 'na la, ta ar maidin
Nil 'na la, ta 'na la
Is bean a ra, is i ar fhaga

Dont send me out into the dark
The night is cold and I'll be perished
But come to bed with me awhile
We'll have a roll around the blankets

Buailim suas, buailim sios
'S buailim cleamhan ar bhean a leanna
Cuirim gini oir ar an mbord
Is bim ag ol anseo go maidin

Ta mo bhroga i dtigh an oil
Ta mo stocai i dtigh a' leanna
Ta na coiligh go leir ag glaoch
'S b'eigean domsa 'dhul abhaile

Daybreak Has Not Yet Come

The sheep are eating the corn
The calves are drinking the milk
The potatoes are unsold
You senseless man
Will you not go home!

Siobhan is a fine young girl
In her new dress down from the shop
I gaze at my golden guinea
Spinning on the table
And my temper rises

Chorus: Daybreak has not yet come - but now it's here
Daybreak has not yet come - but now it's morning
Daybreak has not yet come - but now it's with us
She has spoken and I must leave here

Dont send me out into the dark
The night is cold and I'll be perished
But come to bed with me awhile
We'll have a roll around the blankets

Oh I go up and I go down
I try my luck with the tavern lady
I throw a guinea on the table
And drink my fill until the morning

I left my shoes in the house of ale
I left my stockings there as well
The cocks have all begun to crow
And I am forced to leave for home

from the discussion thread Lyr Req: English for Ni'l Na La?,

First Posted: February 17, 2005
Last Revised: March 7, 2008