Three Versions of Book of Days

I am listening to the soundtrack of a Ron Howard film  Far and Away released in 1992. It stars Tom Cruise (Pre-Lestat) and Nicole Kidman. It’s about Irish immigrants seeking fortunes in America during the 1890s. Nicole looks convincingly Irish in the movie. Tom, no matter what he does will always be German. I think it’s a good story. But the movie is very long (176 minutes). I remember that the sole reason I watched was to hear Book of Days play in the end credits. I know, you might say it is a shallow reason to appreciate the film but I am more of a music lover than a movie buff.

Enya performing Book of Days live at Top of the Pops.

Enya performing Book of Days live at Top of the Pops.

And being a big fan of Enya since 1992, you can understand why.

The soundtrack is great as it features the sweeping orchestral music of John Williams. It also has The Chieftains playing traditional tracks. Book of Days is part of Shepherd Moons album released in 1991. The original version is in Gaelic and is part of the original album pressings (in vinyl, cd and cassette). The second pressing has English lyrics plus minor changes in terms of the track length. The film version has more layered vocals and percussion compared to the two. It also sounds ‘heavy’ as it’s intended to be a movie theme. The bilingual English-Irish version (2:56) replaced the original pure Gaelic version (2:34) on subsequent pressings of Shepherd Moons from mid-1992 onwards, making the original recording relatively rare.Source:

Enya composed, arranged and played the instruments except for the percussion (Andy Duncan). She also layered her vocals, probably more than a hundred times to achieve the ‘choral’ effect. Enya and producer Nicky Ryan record in the ‘old school’ way where they refused to use samples.

I like the original Gaelic version and the one from Far and Away. Maybe because they are not the same as the one I hear in the Shepherd Moons CD that became widely available.

Book of Days – Far and Away
English & Irish Gaelic

Music, instruments and voices by Enya

Lyrics:Roma Ryan

Gaelic transcription:Enya

One day, one night, one moment
My dreams could be tomorrow
One step, one fall, one falter
East or west
Over earth or by ocean
One way to be my journey
This way could be my Book of Days

Ó lá go lá, mo thuras,
An bealach fada romham.
Ó oíche go hoíche, mo thuras,
na scéalta nach mbeidh a choích’.

No day, no night, no moment
Can hold me back from trying
I’ll flag, I’ll fall, I’ll falter
I’ll find my day may be Far and Away
Far and Away


One day, one night, one moment
With a dream to be leaving
One step, one fall, one falter
And a new earth across a wide ocean
This way became my journey
This day ends together, Far and Away

This day ends together, Far and Away
Far and Away

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With music we build bridges!
  • Baxter, have you ever seen “L. A. Story” with Steve Martin and Victoria Tennant? Three songs by Enya, “On Your Shore” and “Exile” (from Watermark) and “Epona” (from Enya) are included on the soundtrack.

    I’ve been a fan since “Orinoco Flow” in 1988. When she sings, I feel as if I’m hearing an angel. So clear and pure and melodic, the sound lifts my soul. It makes sense to me that you would love her music, too!

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