The Homes of Donegal

The Rosses – Houses at north end of Cruit Island

This ballad was written in 1955 by Donegal songwriter Seán McBride and performed here, most famously, but Paul Brady. From the all-knowing Wikipedia, we learn:

McBride was a native of Cruit Island which is in the Rosses area of County Donegal.

Seán only wrote the lyrics, the actual air itself may be 150 or more years old, there are many songs around using the same melody, the closest one is a song called “The Faughan Side”, This song was part of the Curriculum in national schools in East Donegal and as Seán was a Teacher in the “Laggan Valley” (South Inishowen) It seems prudent to many people to assume he got his inspiration for the “Homes of Donegal” from “The Faughan Side”.

Homes Of Donegal

I’ve just called in to see you all, I’ll only stay a while
I want to see how you’re getting on, I want to see you smile.
I’m happy to be back again, I greet you big and small,
For there’s no place else on earth just like the homes of Donegal.

I always see the happy faces, smiling at the door,
The kettle swinging on the crook, as I step up the floor.
And soon the taypot’s fillin’ up me cup that’s far from small,
For your hearts are like your mountains, in the homes of Donegal.

To see your homes at parting day of that I never tire,
And hear the porridge bubblin’ in a big pot on the fire.
The lamp alight, the dresser bright, the big clock on the wall,
O, a sight serene, celestial scene, in the homes of Donegal.

I long to sit along with you and while away the night,
With tales of yore and fairy lore, beside your fires so bright,
And then to see prepared for me a shake-down by the wall.
There’s repose for weary wanderers, in the homes of Donegal.

Outside the night winds shriek and howl, inside there’s peace and calm,
A picture on the wall up there, our saviour with a lamp,
The hope of wandering sheep like me and all who rise and fall.
There’s a touch of heavenly love around the homes of Donegal.

A tramp I am and a tramp I’ve been, a tramp I’ll always he,
Me father tramped, me mother tramped, sure trampin’s bred in me.
If some there are my ways disdain and won’t have me at all,
Sure I’ll always find a welcome in the homes of Donegal.

The time has come and I must go, I bid you all adieu,
The open highway calls me forth to do the things I do.
And when I’m trampin’ far away I’ll hear your voices call,
And please God I’ll soon return unto the homes of Donegal.

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