The Lake of Shadows

Phil Coulter’s music has touched countless travellers on the road of life.  From his repertoire there are several pieces which have special significance to this gifted man.

One is Shores of the Swilly.  As he stood on the pier in Buncrana (County Donegal, Ireland), he sadly watched as his sister Cyd’s car was raised from the Lough Swilly (River Swilly / Lake of Shadows).

Her death was meaningless.  A patient had forced her to drive them off the pier to their deaths on the tenth birthday of her son, his nephew.

How one deals with such a tragedy defines the essence of who they are.  For Mr. Coulter he wrote a song—touching and sad.

He chose Sinéad O’Connor to sing the words to his piano composition.  The song touches the core of the emotions we have when we lose someone special to us.


The Lake of Shadows album information is listed below.  The songs are faint echoes from that cosmic ocean which swirls above us. They remind us of our connection to the life force of the cosmos.

As we grow older on this planet traversing the cosmos, we visit the Lake of Shadows more often as we say good-bye to family members, friends and colleagues.  We stand on those piers as our good-byes and flowers are laid so tenderly on the memories of those who longer are a part of our lives.

The holes of aphar (earth) may hold the remains of one who laughed, cried, and played on the shores of Swilly.  Our childhood memories of those times of innocence bring moments of comfort and smiles.

For us who remain to continue the walk on the road of life the essentials of life are ever before us.  We experience many new sorrows and embrace the morning to come.

For the Lake of Shadows is only for the night.  When the sunrise of the glorious morning shall come, the shadows of death will disperse as the golden rays touch the waters of Swilly with new life—where sorrow will never touch the shore again with falling tears; only joy will fill the air.

In Phil Coulter’s own words:

I still go back to the Swilly.  I still walk on the beach and watch the sunsets. Fate seems to have decreed that my life be entwined with that stretch of water.  And even after all, I still love it.”  

G. D. Williams       © 2013

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Phil Coulter: Shores of the Swilly

By the shores of the Swilly, two children at play

The king of the castle, the queen of the May
Just me and my sister, in a world of pretend
Where the sun would keep shining, the day never end

By the shores of the Swilly, now with kids of our own
Another year over, and see how they’ve grown
Then we’d watch the last sunset, and walk arm in arm
Till I see you next summer; God keep you from harm
And if I was a flier who crashed now and then,
She would put me together and fly me again.

And if I was a flier who crashed now and then,
she would put me together and fly me again.
By the shores of the Swilly, with an aching inside
I’ll watch as her body is raised from the tide…
Her life has been taken, and I’ll never know why
but I feel in that moment, a part of me died…

Phil Coulter Online

Lough Swilly