Molly Malone

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One of Ireland’s most well-known songs is also a ghost song. If you’ve never listened through to the last verse, you might not know. Here’s Sinéad O’Connor with this classic in a stripped-down version.

Molly Malone

In Dublin’s fair city, where the girls are so pretty
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone
As she wheeled her wheelbarrow through streets broad and narrow
Crying cockles and mussels alive a-live O!

A-live a-live O! A-live a-live O!
Crying cockles and mussels alive a-live O!

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Sweet Thames Flow Softly

Two of my favorite singers, Christy Moore and Sinead O’Connor, sing this song by Ewan MacColl. There seems to be difference of opinion on the origin of the song, but the majority point to the song being written for an experimental production by the Critics Group, based on Romeo and Juliet, which was broadcast by the BBC to schools in May 1966.  Moore sang it first on the first Planxty album, which was released in 1973.

Sweet Thames Flow Softly

I met my girl at Woolwich Pier beneath a big crane standing
And oh, the love I felt for her it passed all understanding
Took her sailing on the river, flow, sweet river, flow
London town was mine to give her, sweet Thames, flow softly
Made the Thames into a crown, flow, sweet river, flow
Made a brooch of Silvertown, sweet Thames, flow softly

At London Yard I held her hand at Blackwall Point I faced her
At the Isle of Dogs I kissed her mouth and tenderly embraced her
Heard the bells of Greenwich ringing, flow, sweet river, flow
All the time my heart was singing, sweet Thames, flow softly
Limehouse Reach I gave her there, flow, sweet river, flow
As a ribbon for her hair, sweet Thames, flow softly

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Old Skibereen

I’ve recently been reacquainted with this beautifully sad famine song. Sinead O’Connor‘s version once again is so heart-felt and passionate.

The first known publication of the song was in a 19th-century publication, The Irish Singer’s Own Book (Noonan, Boston, 1880), where the song was attributed to Patrick Carpenter, a poet and native of Skibbereen. It was published in 1915 by Herbert Hughes who wrote that it had been collected in County Tyrone, and that it was a traditional song. – Wikipedia

Old Skibereen

O, father dear I often hear you speak of Erin’s Isle
Her lofty scenes, her valleys green, her mountains rude and wild
They say it is a lovely land wherein a prince might dwell
So why did you abandon it, the reason to me tell

My son, I loved my native land with energy and pride
Till a blight came over all my crops and my sheep and cattle died
The rents and taxes were to pay and I could not them redeem
And that’s the cruel reason why I left old Skibbereen

‘Tis well I do remember that bleak November day
When the bailiff and the landlord came to drive us all away
They set the roof on fire with their cursed English spleen
And that’s another reason why I left old Skibbereen

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