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County Kerry
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Kerry Songs

The Kerry Recruit
The Kerry Dance
The Rose of Tralee
Erin, You're Wearin' a Wonderful Smile
The Wild Colonial Boy
Its a Great Day for the Irish
Forty Shades of Green
Song for Ireland
Come to the Bower
Gilgarry Mountain
If you're Irish come into the parlour

Muirsheen Durkin
Red is the Rose
The sea around us
farmer Michael Hayes
Valley of Knockanure
St Brendan's Voyage

The Kerry Recruit

About four years ago, I was digging the land,
With my brogues on my feet and my spade in my hand.
Says I to myself what a pity to see,
Such a fine strapping lad footing turf in Tralee.


Wid me toora na nya, and me toora na nya,
Wid me toora na noora na noora na nya.

So I buttoned my brogues and shook hands with my spade,
And I went to the fair like a dashing young blade,
When up comes the sergeant and asks me to 'list,
'Arra, Sergeant, a gra, put the bob in my fist.'

And the first thing they gave me it was a red coat,
With a wide strap of leather to tie round my throat,
They gave me a quare thing, I asked what was that,
And they told me it was a cockade for my hat.

The next thing they gave me, they called it a gun,
With powder and shot and a place for my thumb;
and first she spit fire and then she spit smoke,
Lord, she gave a great lep and my shoulder near broke.

The next place they sent me was down to the sea,
On board of a warship bound for the Crime,
Three sticks in the middle all rowled round with sheets,
Faith, she walked thro' the water without any feet.

We fought at the Alma, likewise Inkermann,
But the Russians they whaled us at the Redan,
In scaling the walls there myself lost my eye,
And a big Russian bullet ran offwith my thigh.

It was there I lay bleeding, stretched on the cold ground,
Heads, legs and arms were scattered all around,
Says I, if my man or my cleaveens were nigh,
They'd bury me decent and raise a loud cry.

They brought me the doctor, who soon staunched my blood,
And he gave me an elegant leg made of wood,
They gave me a medal and tenpence a day,
Contented with Sheela, I'11 live on half-pay.


The Kerry Dance

Oh, the days of the Kerry dancing
Oh, the ring of the piper's tune
Oh, for one of those hours of gladness
Gone, alas, like our youth, too soon!

When the boys began to gather
In the glen of a summer's night
And the Kerry piper's tuning
Made us long with wild delight!
Oh, to think of it
Oh, to dream of it
Fills my heart with tears!


Was there ever a sweeter Colleen
In the dance than Eily More
Or a prouder lad than Thady
As he boldly took the floor.

Lads and lasses to your places
Up the middle and down again
Ah, the merry hearted laughter
Ringing through the happy glen!
Oh, to think of it
Oh, to dream of it
Fills my heart with tears!


Time goes on, and the happy years are dead
And one by one the merry hearts are fled
Silent now is the wild and lonely glen
Where the bright glad laugh will echo ne'er again
Only dreaming of days gone by in my heart I hear.

Loving voices of old companions
Stealing out of the past once more
And the sound of the dear old music
Soft and sweet as in days of yore.

When the boys began to gather
In the glen of a summer's night
And the Kerry piper's tuning
Made us long with wild delight!
Oh, to think of it
Oh, to dream of it
Fills my heart with tears!



The Rose Of Tralee

The pale moon was rising above the green mountain
The sun was declining beneath the blue sea
When I strayed with my love to the pure crystal fountain
That stands in beautiful vale of Tralee.
She was lovely and fair as the rose of the summer
Yet, 'twas not her beauty alone that won me
Oh no! 'Twas the the truth in her eye ever beaming
That made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee.

The cool shades of evening their mantle were spreading
And Mary all smiling was listening to me
The moon through the valley her pale rays was shedding
When I won the heart of the Rose of Tralee.
Though lovely and fair as the rose of the summer
Yet, 'twas not her beauty alone that won me
Oh no! 'Twas the the truth in her eye ever beaming
That made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee.


Erin, You're Wearin' a Wonderful Smile

If I'm dreamin', don't wake me, Macushla,
For I see Erin wearin' a smile;
And dried are the tears
That were fallin' for years
On her own darlin' Emerald Isle.


Oh, then Erin, you're wearin' a wonderful smile,
And it's proud I am of you today.
All the sorrows you've suffered were well worth the while
Just to know that they're fadin' away.
Oh, the Shannon is singin' an auld Irish song,
And the shamrock again is in style.
May the blessin' of God be yours always, auld Sod:
Erin, you're wearin' a wonderful smile.

Oh, I hope I'm not dreamin', Macushla,
And the smile that I see does not die,
'Til the skies overhead see the shamrock grow red,
And the lakes of Killarney run dry.



The Wild Colonial Boy

There was a wild colonial boy Jack Dugan was his name
He was born and bred in Ireland in a house called Castle Maine
He was his father's only son his mother's pride and joy
and dearly did his parents love the wild colonial boy
At the early age of sixteen years he left his native home
And to Australia's sunny land he was inclined to roam
He robbed the rich and he helped the poor,
He stabbed James MacEvoy
A terror to Australia was the wild colonial boy
One morning on the prairie wild Jack Dugan rode around
While listening to a mocking bird singing a cheerful song
Out jumped three troopers fierce and grim Kelly, Davis, and Fitzroy
They all set out to capture him The wild colonial boy
Surrender now Jack Dugan come You see it's three to one
Surrender in the Queen's name sir You are a plundering son
Jack drew two pistols from his side and glared upon Fitzroy
I'll fight but not surrender cried the wild colonial boy
He fired a shot at Kelly which brought him to the ground
He fired point blank at Davis too who fell dead at the sound
But a bullet pierced his brave young heart from the pistol of Fitzroy
And that is how they captured him the wild colonial boy


It's A Great Day For The Irish

It's a Great Day for the Irish,
It's a great day for the fair!
The sidewalks of New York are thick with blarney,
For sure you'd think of New York was ol' Killarney!

It's a great day for the shamrock,
For the flags in full array.
We're feeling so inspirish,
Sure because for all the Irish,
It's a Great, Great, DAY



Mickey, pretty Mickey,
With your hair a raven hue.
In your smiling so beguiling,
There a bit of Killarney,
Bit of the Blarney, too.
Child-hood in the wildwood,
Like a mountain flow'r you grew.
Pretty Mickey, pretty Mickey,
Can you blame anyone for falling in love with you?


Forty Shades of Green

I close my eyes and picture the emerald of the sea
From the fishing boats at Dingle to the shores of Donaghadea
I miss the River Shannon, the folks at Skibbereen.
The moorlands and the meadows and the forty shades of green.
But most of all I miss a girl in Tipperary town.
And most of all I miss her lips as soft as eiderdown.
Again I want to see and do the things we've done and seen
Where the breeze is sweet as Shalamar
And there's forty shades of green.

I wish I could spend an hour at Dublin churning stuff
I'd love to watch the farmer drain the bog and spade the turf
To see again the thatching of straw the women clean
I'd walk from Cork to Laren to see the forty shades of green
But most of all I miss a girl in Tipperary town
and most of all I miss her lips as soR as eiderdown
Again I want to see and do the things we've done and seen
Where the breeze is sweet as Shalamar
And there's forty shades of green


Song for Ireland

Phil and June Colclough

Walking all the day
Near tall towers where falcons build their nests
Silver-winged they fly
They know the call of freedom in their breasts
Saw Black Head against the sky
Where twisted rocks they run to the sea

Living on your western shore
Saw summer sunsets, asked for more
I stood by your Atlantic Sea
And sang a song for Ireland

Drinking all the day
In old pubs where fiddlers love to play
Saw one touch the bow
He played a reel which seemed so grand and gay
Stood on Dingle Beach and cast
In wild foam we found Atlantic bass

Talking all the day
With true friends who try to make you stay
Telling jokes and news
Singing songs to pass the time away
Watched the Galway salmon run
Like silver dancing, darting in the sun

Dreaming in the night
I saw a land where no one had to fight
Waking in your dawn
I saw you crying in the morning light
Sleeping where the falcons fly
They twist and turn all in your air


Come to the Bower

Will you come to the bower o'er the free boundless ocean
Where the stupendous waves roll in thundering motion,
Where the mermaids are seen and the fierce tempest gathers,
To loved Erin the green, the dear land of our fathers."
Will you come, will you, will you, will you come to the bower?

cho: Will you come, will you, will you, will you come to the bower?

Will you come to the land of O'Neill and O'Donnell
Of Lord Lucan of old and immortal O'Connell.
Where Brian drove the Danes and Saint Patrick the vermin
And whose valleys remain still most beautiful and charming?

You can visit Benburb and the storied Blackwater,
Where Owen Roe met Munroe and his Chieftains did slaughter
Where the lambs skip and play on the mossy all over,
From those bright golden views to enchanting Rostrevor.

You can see Dublin city, and the fine groves of Blarney
The Bann, Boyne, and Liffey and the Lakes of Killarney,
You may ride on the tide on the broad majestic Shannon
You may sail round Loch Neagh and see storied Dungannon.

You can visit New Ross, gallant Wexford, and Gorey,
Where the green was last seen by proud Saxon and Tory,
Where the soil is sanctified by the blood of each true man
Where they died satisfied that their enemies they would not run from.

Will you come and awake our lost land from its slumber
And her fetters we'll break, links that long are encumbered.
And the air will resound with hosannahs to greet you
On the shore will be found gallant Irishmen to greet you.


Gilgarry Mountain

(There's whiskey in the jar)

As I was a going over the Cork and Kerry Mountains,
I spied Colonel Farrell and his money he was countin'.
First I drew me pistol and then I drew me rapier,
Sayin' stand and deliver for I am your bold receiver.

cho: Well shirigim duraham da
Wack fall the daddy oh, wack fall the daddy oh
There's whiskey in the jar.

He counted out his money and it made a pretty penny,
I put it in me pocket to take home to darling' Jenny.
She sighed and swore she loved me and never would deceive me
But the devil take the women for they always lie so easy.

I went into me chamber all for to take a slumber
To dream of gold and girls and of course it was no wonder.
Me Jenny took me charges and she filled them up with water,
Called on colonel Farrell to get ready for the slaughter.

Next morning early before I rose to travel,
There came a band of footmen and likewise Colonel Farrell.
I goes to draw me pistol for she'd stole away me rapier,
but a prisoner I was taken I couldn't shoot the water.

They put me into jail with a judge all a writin'
For robbing Colonel Farrell on Gilgarry Mountain.
But they didn't take me fists so I knocked the jailer down,
And bid a farewell to this tight fisted town.

I'd like to find me brother the one that's in the army,
I don't know where he's stationed in Cork or in Killarney.
Together we'd go roving o'r the mountains of Killkenney,
And I swear he'd treat me better than me darling' sporting Jenny.

There's some takes delight in the carriages and rolling,
Some takes delight in the hurley or the bowlin'.
But I takes delight in the juice of the barley,
Courting pretty maids in the mourning oh so early.


If You're Irish Come into the Parlor

In sweet Lim'rick Town, they say,
Lived a chap named Patrick John MoIIoy.
Once he sailed to U.S.A.
His luck in foreign parts he thought he'd try.
Now he's made his name, and is a wealthy man,
He put a bit away for a rainy day;
So if you gaze upon
The house of Patrick John,
You'll find a notice that goes on to say:


If you're Irish come into the parlour,
There's a welcome there for you;
If your name is Timothy or Pat,
So long as you come from Ireland,
There's a welcome on the mat,
If You come from the Mountains of Mourne,
Or Killarney's lakes so blue,
We'll sing you a song and we'll make a fuss,
Whoever you are you are one of us,
If you're Irish, this is the place for you!

Patrick loved the girl he wed,
But he could not stand his Ma-n-aw,
Once with joy he turned quite red,
When she got into trouble thro' her jaw.
Six police they had to take her to the Court,
She was informed a month she would have to do,
So Patrick quickly wrote
Up to the Judge a note
Explaining, "Sir, I'm much obliged to you!"


Muirsheen Durkin

In the days I went a courtin', I was never tired resortin'
To the alehouse and the playhouse or many a house beside,
I told me brother Seamus l'd go off and go right famous
And before l'd return again l'd roam the world wide.


So goodbye Muirsheen Durkin, l'm sick and tired of working,
No more I'll dig the praties, no longer I'll be fool.
For as sure as me name is Carney
I'll be off to California, where instead of diggin' praties
I'll be diggin'lumps of gold.

I've courted girls in Blarney, in Kanturk and in Killarney
In Passage and in Queenstown, that is the Cobh of Cork.
But goodbye to all this pleasure, for l'm going to take me leisure
And the next time you will hear from me
Will be a letter from New York,


Goodbye to all the boys at home, l'm sailing far across the foam
To try to make me fortune in far America,
For there's s gold and money plenty for the poor and gentry
And when I come back again I never more will stray,


Red is the Rose

Red is the rose that in yonder garden grows,
And fair is the lily of the valley;
Clear is the water that flows from the Boyne
But my love is fairer than any.

Come over the hills, my bonny Irish lass
Comer over the hills to your darling;
You choose the rose, love, and I'll make the vow
And I'll be your true love forever.

'Twas down by Killarney's green woods that we strayed
And the moon and the stars they were shining;
The moon shone its rays on her locks of golden hair
And she swore she'd be my love forever.

It's not for the parting tht my sister pains
It's not for the grief of my mother,
"Tis all for the loss of my bonny Irish lass
That my heart is breaking forever.


The Sea Around Us

(Domenick Behan)

They say that the lakes of Killarney are fair
That no stream like the Liffey can ever compare,
If it's water you want, you'll find nothing more rare
Than the stuff they make down by the ocean.

The sea, oh the sea is the gradh geal mo croide*
Long may it stay between England and me
It's a sure guarantee that some hour we'll be free
Oh, thank God we're surrounded by water.

Tom Moore made his "Waters" meet fame and reknown
A great lover of anything dressed in a crown
In brandy the bandy old Saxon he'd drown
But throw ne'er a one in the ocean.

The Scots have their Whisky, the Welch have their speech
And their poets are paid about tenpence a week
Provided no hard words on England they speak
Oh Lord, what a price for devotion.

The Danes came to Ireland with nothing to do
But dream of the plundered old Irish they slew,
"Yeh will in yer vikings" said Brian Boru
And threw them back into the ocean.

Two foreign old monarchs in battle did join
Each wanting his head on the back of a coin;
If the Irish had sense they'd drowned both in the Boyne
And partition thrown into the ocean.

*gradh geal mo croide = great joy of my heart



That's An Irish Lullaby

Over in Killarney
Many years ago,
Me Mither sang a song to me
In tones so sweet and low.
Just a simple little ditty,
In her good ould Irish way,
And l'd give the world if she could sing
That song to me this day.


Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-loo-ra-li,
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, hush now, don't you cry!
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-loo-ra-li,
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, that's an Irish lullaby.

Oft in dreams I wander
To that cot again,
I feel her arms a-huggin' me
As when she held me then.
And I hear her voice a -hummin'
To me as in days of yore,
When she used to rock me fast asleep
Outside the cabin door.


farmer Michael Hayes

I am a bold undaunted fox that never was before on tramp
My rent, rate and taxes I was willing for to pay
I made my name in fine good land
Between Tipperary and Ochlong
Where my forefathers lived and died
A thousand years or so

But then of late I was betrayed
By one who was a fool I know,
He told me I should leave the place
And show me face no more
And soon as he evicted me,
I thought it time that I should flee
So late one night I took his life and left him laying low.

But by telegraph they did insert a great reward for my arrest
My figure, size and form, my name without mistake,
They broke their brogues, one thousand pairs,
This great reward for to obtain,
But still their search was all in vain,
For farmer Michael Hayes.

They searched Tipperary o'er and o'er
The corn fields near Baltimore,
They went across to Wexford then,
But they'd not long delay,
By Ballyhill and Stridmore Strand
They searched the woods as they came on.
Till they were hungry, wet and cold,
At the approach of day.

Then round the coast they made a steer
From Pulbeg lighthouse to Cape Clear,
Kilarney town and the sweet Tralee,
They then crossed into Clare,
And when they landed on the shore,
They searched Kilrush from tip to toe,
They searched the baths near sweet Lisdoon,
Likewise Miltown Malbay.

And Galway being a place of fame,
They thought twas there I might remain,
But still their search was all in vain,
For I gave them all legbail,
They searched the train at Oranmore,
As she was starting for Drumore,
And every carriage, car and coach
They met upon the road.

And Connemara being remote,
They thought that there I might resort,
When they were getting weary, they resolved to try Mayo,
In Swinford town as I sat down,
I heard a dreadful cry of hounds,
So I lay there in an manger, till the approach of day.

Then to Dublin town I made my way,
And then to Cobh and Amerikay,
And left the hounds to search away
For farmer Michael Hayes,
And as the moon began to shine,
I thought I'd make a foreign clime,
Now I'm in the land of liberty, and fig for all my foes.


The Valley of Knockanure

(Tim Leahy)

1. You may sing or speak about Easter Week or the heroes of Ninety-Eight
Those Fenian men who roamed the glen for victory or defeat
Their names on history's page are told, their memory will endure -
Not a song was sung of our darling sons in the valley of Knockanure.

2. There was Walsh and Lyons and the Dalton boy, they were young and in their prime,
They rambled to a lonely spot where the Black and Tans did hide
The Republic bold they did uphold though outlawed on the moor,
And side by side, they fought and died in the valley of Knockanure.

3. It was on a neighbouring hillside we listened in calm dismay,
In every house, in every town, a young girl knelt to pray:
They're closing in around them now, with rifle fire so sure
And Lyons is dead and young Dalton's down in the valley of Knockanure.

4. But ere the guns could seal his fate, young Walsh had broken through
With a prayer to God, he spun the sod as against the hill he flew
And the bullets cut his flesh in two, still he cried with voice so sure
"Oh, revenge I'll get for my comrades' deaths in the valley of Knockanure."

5. The summer sun is sinking now behind the field and lea
The pale moonlight is shining bright far off beyond Tralee
The dismal stars and the clouds afar are darkening o'er the moor
And the banshee cried when young Dalton died, in the valley of Knockanure.

written by Tim Leahy of Listowel, about events in the Black and Tan War, 1921. another variant in O Lochlainn


St. Brendan's Voyage

A boat sailed out of Brandon in the year of 501,
'twas a damp and dirty mornin' Brendan's voyage it begun,
Tired of thinnin' turnips and cuttin' curley kale,
when he got back from the creamery he hoisted up the sail.
He ploughed a lonely furrow to the north, south, east and west,
of all the navigators St. Brendan was the best.
When he ran out of candles he was forced to make a stop,
he tied up in Long Island and put America on the map,
Did you know that Honolulu was found by a Kerryman,
who went to find Australia them China and Japan,
when he was touchin' 70, he began to miss the crack,
turnin' to his albatross sez he I'm headin' back.

CHORUS Is it right or left for Gibraltar,
what tack do I take for Mizen Head?
I'd love to settle down near Ventry Harbour
St. Brendan to his albatross he said.

To make it fast he bent the mast and built up mighty steam,
Around Terra del Fuego and up the warm Gulf Stream,
He crossed the last horizon, Mr. Brandon came in sight
and when he cleared the customs into Dingle for the night.
When he got the Cordon Bleu he went to douse the drought,
he headed west to Krugers to murder pints of stout
around to Ballyferriter and up the Conor Pass.
He freewheeled into Brandon, the saint was home at last.

The entire population came (281) the place was chockeblock
love nor money wouldn't get your nose inside the shop.
The fishermen hauled up their nets, the farmers left their hay,
Kerry people know that saints don't turn up every day.
Everythin' was goin' fine 'til Brendan did announce
his reason for returning was to try and set up house,
the girls were flabbergasted at St. Brendan's neck
to seek a wife so late in life and him a total wreck.

Worn down by rejection that pierced his humble pride,
'Begod' sez Brendan if I run I'll surely catch the tide
Turnin' on his sandals he made straight for the docks
and haulin' up his anchor he cast off from the rocks.
As he sailed past Innishvickallaune there stood the albatross
I knew you'd never stick it out 'tis great to see you boss
I'm balin' out sez Brendan I badly need a break
A fortnight is about as much as any aul saint could take.

Do you have any Kerry related songs to add?
Email me: Waterlilys


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