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Lone Shanakyle
Michael ‘Straighty’ Flanagan
Inagh
Recorded 1977

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Michael 'Straighty' Flanagan

Far far from the isle of the holy and grand
Where wild oxen fatten and brave men are banned.
All lonely, alone, in a far distant strand
Do I wander and pine for poor Éireann.

Chorus:
Lonely and sad I roam, far from my island home,
Where the wild waves, surging foam, headlands appearing.
Clouded in silver spray, flashing through heaven's bright ray
For the glory and pride lovely Éireann.

Sweet, sweet Inis Cathaig the sacred, the blessed,
A fit place for a saint or a warrior's rest.
Your sentinel towers left each storm request
Your mourning waves wail for my Éireann.

How oft have I wandered by Shannon’s great floods,
And paused as I gazed where the mighty wood stood.
Oh God, that’s the ? should be best of the brood
Who now lights your beauty, my Erin.

Chorus:
Lonely and sad I roam, far from my island home,
Where the wild waves, surging foam, headlands appearing.
Clouded in silver spray, flashing through heaven's bright ray
For the glory and pride lovely Éireann.

How dearly I longed, for to wander once more
To the loved ones I left at my old cabin door.
My blessings I’ll give them a thousand times o’er,
And a prayer and a tear for poor Éireann.

There is nothing now left, holy isle, but thy name,
The ruin of thy glory, thy grandeur, thy fame.
For foreign laws sealed thy sorrow and pain,
Which now cause thy anguish, my Éireann.

Chorus:
Lonely and sad I roam, far from my island home,
Where the wild waves, surging foam, headlands appearing.
Clouded in silver spray, flashing through heaven's bright ray
For the glory and pride lovely Éireann.


Sad, sad is my fate in this weary exile
Dark, dark is the night cloud, oh lone Shanakyle.
Where the murdered sleep silently pile upon pile
In the coffinless graves of poor Erin.

I’m watching and praying through the length of the night,
For the grey dawn of freedom the signal to find.
My rifle is ready, my sabre is bright,
For to strike once again for poor Éireann.

"The song was thought to have been lost until it was recorded by Tom Munnelly from ‘Straighty’ in the mid-1970s. Shanakyle (in Irish, ‘Seana Chill’) is the site of a graveyard outside Kilrush; Inis Cathaigh is St. Senan's Island, also known as Scattery Island, on the Shannon. Three thousand, nine hundred people died in the workhouse in Kilrush during the three years 1847-49, most of whom were buried in a mass grave in Shanakyle Graveyard. Lone Shanakyle was written by Thomas Madigan of Carnacalla, Kilrush (1797-1881) who was a scholar and poet, writing in both English and Irish. It was probably written during the 1860s, the last verse being inspired by the expected Fenian Rising."
Jim Carroll

See also
Lone Shanakyle sung by Tom Lenihan


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