The girl loves an uncaring man. She details her abuses ("When I was single, I wore a black shawl; now I'm married, it's overalls," etc.), always ending, "Still I love him, I'll forgive him (or "cannot deny him"), I'll go with him wherever he goes."
The version sung by Charlotte Higgins (in MacSeegTrav) has, rather than overalls, "Now since I'm married I've sweet bugger-all," a rather more vivid description.
The Barry-Gorman recording is an autobiographical rewrite of the traditional song, telling of Barry's life as a singer of traditional songs, but it incorporates a few of the older verses. - PJS
Also collected and sung by David Hammond, "When I Was Single" (on David Hammond, "I Am the Wee Falorie Man: Folk Songs of Ireland," Tradition TCD1052 CD (1997) reissue of Tradition LP TLP 1028 (1959)).
Sean O Boyle, notes to David Hammond, "I Am the Wee Falorie Man: Folk Songs of Ireland": "A Northumbrian song probably imported into Ulster in the 19th century during the American Civil War when the English cotton industry found itself with no raw material and its textile workers came to Ulster to work at the linen." - BS