booklet This collection spans Enya’s career taking us from the debut soundtrack album "The Celts" up to the present day. This edition is a limited worldwide release of 200,000. The selection was made by Enya, Nicky and Roma. The brief descriptions of the songs and music are merely intended as a guide, as it is far more important that the listener derives their own special meaning from the songs.

Only Time :: Disc 1


Has the night taken from you
the one who loves you?
No. Love is forever.
In your eyes is the sadness of one
who remembers their loss.
Love will not leave you.
Love does not fall under a name or
the mark on a page.
Love is unencumbered,
it’s free and it’s pure and it’s brave.
In your heart is the island
where memories wash on the shore.
Love is an ocean.
Has the night taken from you
the one who belongs to you?
No. Love is forever.

The title of the track from the album "Watermark" was inspired by a poem I had written at that time. It remained as a poem and was not adapted for lyric. This is the first time the poem has been in print. The track was later used for the tribute album for Princess Diana, the proceeds of which went to the memorial fund set up in her name.


Exile, in this song, is the seperation from one whom you love and is more than merely a physical experience. Yet in the loneliness of this song there is hope and determination.


The Red giant Star, Aldebaran, found in the constellation of Taurus, is the Eye of the bull. From the Arabic, Al Dabaran, it means "the follower" as it "follows" the Pleiades. This piece portrays future Celts passing Aldebaran on their journey to new territories, continuing the migratory pattern which was so predominant in their early history.

March of the Celts

By an amazing co-incidence this track was recorded and titled before we were commissioned to create the music for the BBC series "The Celts". Director David Richardson had planned on using a different composer for each of the six programmes in the series, but on hearing "March of the Celts" decided that Enya should score the music for the entire series.


Boadicea or Boudicca, meaning Victorious, was the Queen of the Inceni tribe of East Anglia. She led a rebellion in 60 A.D. against the Romans, destroying the cities of Colchester, St. Alban’s and capturing London. She was eventually defeated by the Romans, and rather than be humiliated by them, she poisoned herself.

The Sun in the Stream

Inspired by the legend of the Salmon of Knowledge. In the Grove of the nine wise Hazel trees, from the sacred pool, the River Boyne flowed. The salmon feasted on the rich crimson nuts fallen from the hazel trees, and hence possessed all the truth in the world.

On Your Shore

No matter how far we are in the journey of our lives, no matter how many days and nights have fallen by us, with all their happenings, the child we were is always within us.

Cursum Perficio

My journey is over, my journey ends here.

Storms in Africa

There are two versions of "Storms in Africa", one in Gaelic and one in English. The Gaelic version is our personal favourite, which we have included here. Both versions were released as a single in 1989.

The Celts

This was the main title theme for the series. There were six programmes in the series with 72 minutes of music recorded. The director had various pastiches in the programme and wanted music to compliment these. Thus the music ranges from a "Spaghetti Western" through to "The Third Man" and "The Haunted House" to the more familiar tracks embodied on the soundtrack album. What happened to the other tracks? I hear you say. We still have them!

Miss Clare Remembers

"Miss Clare Remembers" is the title of a "Miss Read" book. The idyllic descriptions of country and village life and the simple portraits of those who peopled such settings had appealed to Enya. In composing this music she recaptures the naivety and innocence of an age and place far removed from the whirl and pressure of a sophisticated society and suggests that we need to dip into that world from time to time.

I Want Tomorrow

This song was written for "The Celts". Although a track had already specifically been written for Boadicea, the director nevertheless wanted a song to reflect not quite a "re-incarnation", but a fascination or the idea of "being spellbound" by Boadicea…

Only Time :: Disc 2

Orinoco Flow

Although it was the last track written for the album “Watermark” it was the first track to be released, and with great success. There was a sense of discovery in the creating of this album, a sense of beginning, a sense of something new and exciting. “Orinoco Flow” reflects the feeling of that time for us – adventure!


Ebudae, latin for the Hebrides, is referred to in Ariosto’s “Orlando Furioso” as the Dreadful Isle or the Isle of Tears. It is also home to the “waulking songs” the rhythm of which is the inspiration for this piece. “Waulking songs” come from the tradition of women weaving and chanting to the unrelenting rhythm of the looms.


This track was titled even as it was written. The title expresses all that Enya wanted to say about this piece.

The Longships

The Longships, the famed war ships of the Vikings. The Irish Annals tell us that the first Viking raid in Ireland was at a place called Rechru (Rathlin Island) in 795. By 841 Dublin (Duibh-Linn or black pool) was one of the first Viking settlements or Longphorts in Ireland.

Na Laetha Geal M’óige

A reminiscence on the days of youth, which always seem better in retrospect.

Book of Days

“Book of Days” was adapted from its original instrumental form as it first appeared on the album “Shepherd Moons”, for the Ron Howard film “Far and Away” which starred Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. The lyrics were written around the theme of the film.

Shepherd Moons

Two tiny new moons had been discovered. Shepherd moons orbiting the outer ring of Saturn. Numbered, not named. Working ceaselessly, it seemed, to keep the particles of the ring together, much as a shepherd would guide his flock. Protectors both, 1980S26 and 1980S27 – either side of the F ring. Voyager had performed like a dream and sent pictures to Earth. An unspoken glory to the rings of Saturn. The world had not known but all the time they were there, working tirelessly. Everyone had appreciated the spectacular beauty of Saturn, but where would the planet be without those precious, mis-shaped, miniature moons?

Caribbean Blue

Like “Afer Ventus”, the wind from Africa or Eurus, the east wind or the gentle Zephyrus, the imagination is free and can choose to create its own journey. As with all dreams, we reach for the ideal and “Caribbean Blue” represents such a dream. The lyrics can be summed up in three words: Believe in yourself.


War carries with it inevitable sadness. This is the song of the grief of a child evacuee, of the seperation of the child from mother and father. Unfortunately it is not a song that belongs only to the past.

Evening Falls…

A song of a spirit travelling, of the dreaming of the same dream, of…


Lothlórien is one of the beautiful, Elvish kingdoms in Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”. This piece was written for the album “Shepherd Moons”, which was released in 1991, some tens years before Enya was asked to compose for Peter Jackson’s epic film.

Marble Halls

An operatic piece originally scored by the Irish composer, Michael William Balfe (1808 – 1870) with lyrics by Alfred Bunn. “Marble Halls”, or “The Dream” as it is also known, is from the 1843 opera “The Bohemian Girl”, which enjoyed great success during Balfe’s lifetime. Balfe was once complemented by Strauss as being the “Master of Melody”. “The Bohemian Girl”, and in particular this song, is a favourite of Enya.

Only Time :: Disc 3

Afer Ventus

The moment experienced when everything in life suddenly makes sense – when everything fits into place and we know why – is a rare moment, but it does happen. If we are lucky enough we can bathe in the brevity of the moment for it passes as quickly as it arrives. Like Joyce’s "Epiphanies" they sometimes seem trivial but are always crucial and revealing moments in our lives, delicate and fleeting.

No Holly For Miss Quinn

A partner piece to "Miss Clare Remembers". "No Holly For Miss Quinn" was prompted by another Miss Read story.

The Memory of Trees

In ancient Celtic belief trees had spirits within them and were considered sacred. They were the keepers of memory and lore. The Druids, the men of knowledge, used to record their wisdoms by means of a secret alphabet called Ogham, which is also called the "Tree Alphabet". Ogham is named after the God Ogma, the God of poetry and eloquence. Thus the memory of trees looks into the past.
The future we look at may give us another interpretation of the title, with the destruction of the world’s rainforests it may turn out to be that the memory of trees is nothing more than that for us – a memory.

Anywhere Is

Well, it is, isn’t it?

Athair ar Neamh

"Father in Heaven"… the voice of epiphany is found in Athair ar Neamh. It is the voice of the day, the voice of night, the voice of all, of understanding.

China Roses

Everyone has their own idea of heaven. What creates the beauty of the world is the love we have for it, connected to memories, wishes, desires.  For each of us it is a different treasure we embrace – a changing sky, the crimson flower of the keys of heaven, a love token, the endless delight of fairytales, the ever-shifting pictures of our world that we find in the word of poets.  For each one of us, a different love becomes our own wood of dreams.  Denique non omnes eadem mirantur amantque: All men, in short, do not admire and love the same things.

How Can I Keep From Singing?

This is an old Shaker hymn. Shakers lived simple lives and their songs reflect the beauty inherent in this simplicity. It is not widely known that the Shakers sent food to Ireland in 1846 in an attempt to relieve the suffering during the famine.

Hope Has a Place

A song of love’s beginning. A song of first love.

Tea-House Moon

It is said that the path to the tea-house was one of the copse of summer trees, a wave of the sea, the pale evening moon. The trees, the sea, the pale evening moon evoked old dreams and the tea-house represented an oasis where the traveller could find peace. On entering through the low door one could hear the song of water echo the distant sea or the sound of the rain in a bamboo forest. The tea-house was a place of repose and one in which the harmony of nature pervaded.

Pax Deorum

Pax Deorum translates as ‘Peace of the Gods’. This goodwill of the Gods expresses accord between ancient Rome and her Gods, maintaining a harmonious relationship between Man and Divinity. This concept, and variations of it, are echoed throughout history in other ages and cultures.


An eclipse filled the ancient heart with terror. Had the sun forsaken them? Would the light return? Were they to be forever in the darkness?


A song for a child. A spirit-child. One whom both Enya and myself experienced yet know nothing about. A truly beautiful and peaceful child. We called the little spirit child Isobella and this song is for her.

Only Time :: Disc 4

Only Time

Who knows the way of love? Only time…

A Day Without Rain

"…No-one remembers as I do
how each word of love you gave was true.
So often do I dream of you
so my heart is not alone.

Can dreams be found
when the sun comes again?
Tears still fall down
in a day without rain…"

Originally we thought this track to be a song and began writing lyrics. However as work on the music progressed it became clear that it wanted to be an instrumental. The lyrics, although incomplete, are given here. We did however keep one of the lines as the title of the track.

Song of the Sandman

The image speaks for itself. This song is a lullaby.

Willows on the Water

In Greek mythology Aiglé was one of the Hespéridés, who were guardians to the tree that bore apples of gold. When the Minyans approached them, imploring them to reveal a river so that they could quench their thirst, the Hespéridés metamorphosed into trees, Aiglé becoming a willow. She was the one to show the Minyans where to find water.

Wild Child

The day is a wild child. It is unpredictable, it is reckless, it offers you no security, it promises nothing. It is what you make it. So make it good.

Flora’s Secret

Tells of lovers lying in the long grass. Perhaps the girl is called Flora. Perhaps the "flora" in the song are the flowers they are surrounded by. Perhaps it is about the Goddess of flowers, Flora.

The Song was inspired by the various legends from classical mythology given to flowers. The "tears from Persia" are the Persian Iris. They are the tears of the Mourning Iris taken from the legend of Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, the Goddess of the Corn. Persephone was abducted by Hades, and was made to spend six months of each year in the underworld with him (hence winter) and the other six months on earth (hence summer). Ah, but who is the one the moon loves?

Fallen Embers

The memory of a special time with the one you love and a reflection of the loss of that love. Yet it is reminiscence filled with the tenderness of that love, as much as with the saddness of its loss. It is a celebration of that special time, and a lament that it is over.

Tempus Vernum

Our lives are entwined with each other and with everything in nature. Yet, although we are part of the cycle of life, we should remember that the earth can begin again – without us. Therefore…

Deora ar mo Chroí

This song continues the theme of Tempus Vernum, a reflection on the beauty of mother earth, and how, after we journey through our days with her, we move beyond. And still the earth sings…

One by One

Four tales from under the Cherry tree. Four tales, four seasons, four loves.  Each tale tells a different story, each season has its own time, each love ends in a different way. One by one the tales of love are told, and one by one the pages upon which they are written fall as the leaves fall.

The First of Autumn

Love is like the leaves;
some ever green, some fall on
the first of autumn.

Whilst writing poetry relating to the seasons, I had included some Haiku, the Japanese verse form, and from one of these came the idea for "the First of Autumn". The Haiku is printed here for the first time.

Lazy Days

In the helter skelter of life it is good for the heart and the soul to have a lazy day. One where you make time to dream, to consider, to meditate, to reflect. When simply to be is enough. When we do not worry about the moments that cause us such concern and distress, but enjoy the moment as it is. Whether summer or winter, whether watching the corn moving in the wind, or a single red balloon floating skywards.

May It Be

Written for the Peter Jackson film epic of Tolkien’s "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" the song "May it be" is written in both English and the Elvish language, Quenya. Quenya means "speech" and was known as the "Forbidden language" or "the language of the kinslayers". It was a language used primarily in ancient song and ceremony and in the language of lore.  "May it be" or "Nai" in Quenya, is usually used by the Elves to express a wish.

Oíche Chiúin

This is a Gaelic rendering of the famous Christmas Carol "Silent Night". Little more needs to be said about this universally known carol. The version on the video was sung for the BBC programme "Christmas Day in the Morning" and was recorded at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin.

liner notes by Roma Ryan
EMI Publishing Ltd, 2002