Erin Grá Mo Chroí

Another emigrant song – Erin grá mo chroí, sung here by Colm O’Donnell.  You may be familiar with the version made popular by Cherish the Ladies.

Erin Grá Mo Chroí

At the setting of the sun, when my long day’s work was done
I rambled down the seashore for a walk
And I being all alone I sat down upon a stone
For to gaze upon the scenes of New York

Chorus:
Oh Erin grá mo chroí, you’re the dear old land to me
You’re the fairest that my eyes have ever seen
And if ever I go home, it’s from you I never will roam
You’re my own native land so far away

It broke my mother’s heart, the day that I did part
Will I never see my dear ones anymore?
Not until my bones are laid in the cold and silent grave
In my own native land so far away

On a cold, cold winter’s night, with the turf fire burning bright
And the snowflakes falling on a winter’s day,
When St. Patrick’s Day comes and the shamrocks will be worn
In the dear little isle so far away

Chorus

Kilkelly, Ireland

Clancy Brothers and Robbie O’Connell sing the emigrant song, “Kilkelly, Ireland” Although it sounds traditional, it was written by Peter Jones. The Jones brothers based the song on letters from their great-great-grandfather, Brian Hunt, to his son John, their great-grandfather from 1860-1892.

Kilkelly, Ireland, 18 and 60, my dear and loving son John
Your good friend the schoolmaster Pat McNamara’s so good
As to write these words down.
Your brothers have all gone to find work in England,
The house is so empty and sad
The crop of potatoes is sorely infected,
A third to a half of them bad.
And your sister Brigid and Patrick O’Donnell
Are going to be married in June.
Your mother says not to work on the railroad
And be sure to come on home soon.

Kilkelly, Ireland, 18 and 70, dear and loving son John
Hello to your Mrs and to your 4 children,
May they grow healthy and strong.
Michael has got in a wee bit of trouble,
I guess that he never will learn.
Because of the dampness there’s no turf to speak of
And now we have nothing to burn.
And Brigid is happy, you named a child for her
And now she’s got six of her own.
You say you found work, but you don’t say
What kind or when you will be coming home.

Kilkelly, Ireland, 18 and 80, dear Michael and John, my sons
I’m sorry to give you the very sad news
That your dear old mother has gone.
We buried her down at the church in Kilkelly,
Your brothers and Brigid were there.
You don’t have to worry, she died very quickly,
Remember her in your prayers.
And it’s so good to hear that Michael’s returning,
With money he’s sure to buy land
For the crop has been poor and the people
Are selling at any price that they can.

Kilkelly, Ireland, 18 and 90, my dear and loving son John
I guess that I must be close on to eighty,
It’s thirty years since you’re gone.
Because of all of the money you send me,
I’m still living out on my own.
Michael has built himself a fine house
And Brigid’s daughters have grown.
Thank you for sending your family picture,
They’re lovely young women and men.
You say that you might even come for a visit,
What joy to see you again.

Kilkelly, Ireland, 18 and 92, my dear brother John
I’m sorry that I didn’t write sooner to tell you that father passed on.
He was living with Brigid, she says he was cheerful
And healthy right down to the end.
Ah, you should have seen him play with
The grandchildren of Pat McNamara, your friend.
And we buried him alongside of mother,
Down at the Kilkelly churchyard.
He was a strong and a feisty old man,
Considering his life was so hard.
And it’s funny the way he kept talking about you,
He called for you in the end.
Oh, why don’t you think about coming to visit,
We’d all love to see you again.

The City of Chicago

A great live performance by Christy Moore. Can a guy sweat more on stage? I also love the historical/political context he gives mid-performance.

The City of Chicago

In the City of Chicago,
As the evening shadows fall,
There are people dreaming,
Of the hills of Donegal.

Eighteen forty seven,
Was the year it all began,
Deadly Pains of hunger,
Drove a million from the land,
They journeyed not for glory,
Their motive wasn’t greed,
Just a voyage of survival,
Accross the stormy sea.

To the City of Chicago,
As the evening shadows fall,
There are people dreaming,
Of the hills of Donegal.

Some of them knew fortune,
And some them knew fame,
More of them knew hardship,
And died upon the plain,
They spread throughout the nation,
Rode the railroad cars,
Brought their songs and music,
To ease their lonely hearts.

To the City of Chicago,
As the evening shadows fall,
There are people dreaming,
Of the hills of Donegal.