Learn to Play the Irish Tune “Star of the County Down”

Play one of Ireland's best loved songs, set in a rolling 3/4 meter that gives plenty of room to sing the lyrics.

“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.


Sheet music and TAB for the 16-measure verse of "Star of the County Down". Chords listed are Em, C, G, D Em, Bm, Em, C, G, D, Em, C, Em. Lyrics are "Near Benbridge town in the county down, One morning last July. Down an old boreen came a sweet colleen. And she smiled as she passed me by."

Book cover for "Irish Songs for Guitar" by Danny Carnahan with subtitle "Learn to play 15 traditional Irish classics. Includes 85 minutes of video"

Excerpted from Irish Songs for Guitar

Explore more free excerpts from Irish Songs for Guitar. You might also be interested in Scottish Songs for Guitar.

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Danny Carnahan
Danny Carnahan

Danny Carnahan has been performing and recording Celtic music for over 35 years. He performs with Wake the Dead and is the author of Irish Songs for Guitar and Scottish Songs for Guitar.

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