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I Have Just Left Donegal
(Roud 2936)
Michael ‘Straighty’ Flanagan
Inagh

Recorded in the singer’s home

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Michael 'Straighty' Flanagan

I have just left Donegal and I thought I'd give a call,
Sure it’s always what becomes an honest labour.
But it’s now I’m going away bound for Amerikay,
I’m told a man is paid there for his labour.

And it’s there I’ll see your own and the men I knew at home,
That I often drank with until morning.
But no matter where I go, sure I’ll have you all to know,
That old Ireland is the country I was born in.

And it’s many a weary mile I have walked through Erin’s Isle,
And many are the hardships I have seen.
I have seen both young and old and they starving in the cold,
When hurled by the landlords from the door.

But I hope that day is passed now that I have seen the last.
May the wrongs of poor old Ireland soon be rising.
But I hope we’ll shortly see old Ireland proud and free,
If our sons were only once united.

And ‘tis now I’ll say good bye for the time it is thy nigh,
The steamer she leaves Queenstown in the morning.
My luggage it is light and my pulse it is not bright,
And my heart, sure it is shaded down with sorrow.

And ‘tis now I must set sail from poor old Granuaile,
As thousands of my people done before me.
But if I could stay at home sure abroad I’d never roam;
I can’t see where is the man to blame me.

Then strike up your gallant band in praise of Paddy’s land,
All thine I’m going to leave you in the morning.
But no matter where I go sure I’ll have you all to know,
That old Ireland is the country I was born in.

“The only other version of this to have been recorded was from county Fermanagh singer John Maguire. It was published in a collection of his songs ‘Come Day, Go Day, God Save Sunday’ edited by Robin Morton, who wrote of it:

‘This is a good emigration ballad. Here is well expressed the feeling of ambivalence that is part of leaving Ireland's shores. Perhaps the reasons for going have changed a little now but people still go, and they will know what it is to feel torn. There were good reasons for emigrating in the late nineteenth century when this “ballad” was written: the pay and prospects at home were bad, the landlords were harsh and many people were hungry. Nevertheless good times were to be had there and at least you had friends, and perhaps someday things would be better and after all “Old Ireland's the country I was born in”. Certainly John Maguire knows all about these feelings - he knows what this song is all about.’”

Reference:
Come Day, Go Day, God Save Sunday, Robin Morton (ed), 1973.
Jim Carroll


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