The haunting Irish song is shrouded in mystery because no one is entirely certain who is behind the moving lyrics.

"She Moved Through the Fair" is a traditional Irish folk song and its lyrics were first published in Hughes' Irish Country Song in 1909.

In the song, a man sees his lover move away from him through a field, after telling him that since her family will approve, "it will not be long, love, till our wedding day". She returns as a ghost at night, her death is unexplained but she repeats the words "it will not be long, love, till our wedding day", leading us to believe the couple will be reunited in the afterlife.

Mysterious History 

In a letter published in The Irish Times in 1970, Longford poet Padraic Colum stated that he was the author of the song (except for the final verse). Colum claimed that he and Irish composer, Herbert Hughes collected the tune in County Donegal and wrote verses to fit the music.

However, another music composer, Proinsias Ó Conluain, wrote to The Irish Times said he had recorded a song called "She Went Through the Fair",  sung by an old man who told him that "the song was a very old one" and that he had learned it as a young man from a basket-weaver in Glenavy.

Since 1970 there have been many different variations and recordings of the song such as Sinéad O'Connor's version which was used on the soundtrack of the film Michael Collins.

She Moved Through the Fair Lyrics

My love said to me
My mother won’t mind
And me Father won’t slight you
For your lack of kind
Then she stepped away from me
And this she did say
It will not be long love
Till our wedding day.

She stepped away from me
And she moved through the Fair
And fondly I watched her
Move here and move there
And she went her way homeward
With one star awake
As the swans in the evening
More over the lake.

The people were saying
No two e’er were wed
But one has a sorrow
That never was said
And she smiled as she passed me
With her goods and her gear
and that was the last
that I saw of my dear.

I dreamed it last night
That my true love came in
So softly she entered
Her feet made no din
She came close beside me
And this she did say
It will not be long love
Till our wedding day.

*Originally published in 2021. Updated in 2024.