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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The Foggy Dew

This is one of the best crossover efforts The Chieftans have produced, in my opinion. Sinead O’Connor singing “The Foggy Dew.” It begins with a bit of an interview with the band, so jump about 1:19 into the video if you just can’t wait.

The Foggy Dew

As down the glen one Easter morn to a city fair rode I
There Armed lines of marching men in squadrons passed me by
No fife did hum nor battle drum did sound it’s dread tatoo
But the Angelus bell o’er the Liffey swell rang out through the foggy dew

Right proudly high over Dublin Town they hung out the flag of war
‘Twas better to die ‘neath an Irish sky than at Sulva or Sud El Bar
And from the plains of Royal Meath strong men came hurrying through
While Britannia’s Huns, with their long range guns sailed in through the foggy dew

The bravest fell, and the requiem bell rang mournfully and clear
For those who died that Eastertide in the springing of the year
And the world did gaze, in deep amaze, at those fearless men, but few
Who bore the fight that freedom’s light might shine through the foggy dew

Ah, back through the glen I rode again and my heart with grief was sore
For I parted then with valiant men whom I never shall see more
But to and fro in my dreams I go and I’d kneel and pray for you,
For slavery fled, O glorious dead, When you fell in the foggy dew.