“Star of the County Down” is one of Ireland’s best-loved songs. For a vocal rendering, you can’t do better than John McCormack’s version, available on the three-CD set Legendary Irish Tenor.
The tradition boasts hundreds of songs proclaiming the girls of a particular county or village or parish to be the most beautiful in the country, if not the world. And true or not, whoever wrote this sweet ballad really had it bad for his nut-brown Rose. It’s set in a rolling 3/4 meter that gives plenty of room to the lyrics. This is one you don’t want to take too fast. The song’s 16-measure verse section is shown below.