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Lone Shanakyle
(Roud 8138)
Tom Lenihan
Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay
Recorded 1987

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Tom Lenihan

Far far from the isle of the holy and grand
Where wild oxen fatten and brave men are banned.
Alone, all alone, in a dreary old stand
Do I stand here and think of poor Éireann.

Chorus:
Lonely and sad I roam, far from my island home
Where the wild waves, surging foam, headlands appearing.
Clouded with silv'ry spray, thrashing through heaven's bright ray
For the glory and pride of poor Éireann.

Sweet, sweet Inis Cathay the sacred, the blessed,
A fit place for a saint or a warrior's rest.
Your simple towers, left each storm repressed
Your morning wave waits for my Éireann.

Chorus:
Lonely and sad I roam, far from my island home
Where the wild waves, surging foam, headlands appearing.
Clouded with silv'ry spray, thrashing through heaven's bright ray
For the glory and pride of poor Éireann.

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

Chorus:
Lonely and sad I roam, far from my island home
Where the wild waves, surging foam, headlands appearing.
Clouded with silv'ry spray, thrashing through heaven's bright ray
For the glory and pride of poor Éireann.

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

Chorus:
Lonely and sad I roam, far from my island home
Where the wild waves, surging foam, headlands appearing.
Clouded with silv'ry spray, thrashing through heaven's bright ray
For the glory and pride of poor Éireann.

Sad, sad is my fate in a weary exile
Dark, dark are the night clouds o'er lone Shanakyle.
Your murdered sleep silently pile upon pile
On the coffinless graves of poor Éireann.

Chorus:
Lonely and sad I roam, far from my island home
Where the wild waves, surging foam, headlands appearing.
Clouded with silv'ry spray, thrashing through heaven's bright ray
For the glory and pride of poor Éireann.

I am 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.

Chorus:
Lonely and sad I roam, far from my island home
Where the wild waves, surging foam, headlands appearing.
Clouded with silv'ry spray, thrashing through heaven's bright ray
For the glory and pride of poor Éireann.


"The song was thought to have been lost until it was recorded by Tom Munnelly from Michael ‘Straighty’ Flanagan 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 Michael 'Straighty' Flanagan

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