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Seven of Our Irishmen
(Roud 3104)
Pat MacNamara
Kilshanny, near Ennistymon
Recorded in Kilshanny, summer 1975

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Pat McNamara

Come all that love the seamróige green, sure attend both young and old;
I find it is my duty those lines for to unfold,
Concerning our brave emigrants who lately sailed away
To seek a better livelihood all in Americay.

Now the eighteenth day of April our gallant ship did sail,
Five hundred and sixty Irishmen, true sons of Granuaile.
They landed safe all in New York on the eighteenth day of May,
Among their friends and relatives all in Americay.

Now then some of them got inquainted, sure as soon as they did land,
With flowing bumper drank a health then unto old Paddy’s land.
There was some of them who had no friends, sure their hearts being stiff and bold,
But by ?? they was conducted, their names for ever more.

There was seven of our brave Irishmen, then going through Georges Street,
When one of those cursed Yankee men they happened for to meet,
He offered them employment in a brickyard near the town,
By which they were conducted, sure their names being taken down.

He brought them to an alehouse and called for drink galore,
I’m sure such entertainment sure they never had got before.
For when he saw he had them drunk, those words to them did say,
You’re listed now a soldier, to defend your country.

They looked at one another and those words to him did say,
Now ‘tis not to list that we did come, into Americay
But to labour for old Érin as many had done before,
Since we have emigrated from that lovely shamrock shore.

Then twelve soldiers and an officer, they came without delay.
They said, “My boys, get ready, with us to come away.
For here is one of our officers, he has listed you complete,
You need not strive for to resist, we can no longer wait.”

Our Irish blood began to rise, and one of our heroes say,
“We have but our one life to loose, therefore we’re not afraid,
Although we are from Ireland, this day we let you see,
We’ll lie like sons of Granuaile or hold our liberty.

Now our Irish boys got to their feet, which made those Yankees frown,
As fast as they could strike a blow, they knocked those Yankees down,
With bloody heads and broken bones, sure they’re minded ever more,
With that sprig of sweet shillelagh they took from Érin’s shore.


“One of the most enduring themes of Irish song is emigration, not surprising when you consider the number of people who have been forced to leave Ireland for one reason or another over the centuries. Many of the song were laments, looking back over the happy times spent at home and mourning for their present situation ‘in the stranger's land’; others were cries of defiance against those who drove them from their native soil and expressed a determination to return and extract ‘Revenge for Skibbereen’ (for instance). This one is somewhat different; it has been attributed to both the American Civil War (1861–1865) and The Spanish American War (1898). In the years following the Great Famine, the wave of Irish emigrants to America provided rich pickings for recruitment into the army. It was estimated that 190,000 Irishmen fought in the American Civil War alone, 4,000 died.”
Jim Carroll

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