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The Banks of the Lee
(Roud 6857)
Tom Lenihan
Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay
Recorded in singer's home, March 1988

Carroll Mackenzie Collection


Tom Lenihan

When two lovers meet down beneath the green bowers,
When two lovers meet down beneath the green trees.
Where Mary, fond Mary, declared to her lover:
‘You have stolen my heart on the banks of the Lee.’

Chorus:
I loved her very dearly, so true and sincerely.
There was no girl in this wide world I loved more than she.
Every bush and every bower, every sweet Irish flower
Remind me of Mary on the banks of the Lee.

Don't stay out too late on the moorland, my Mary,
Don't stay out too late on the moorland for me.
But little was our notion when we parted at the ocean.
We were parted forever on the banks of the Lee.

Chorus:
I loved her very dearly, so true and sincerely.
There was no girl in this wide world I loved more than she.
Every bush and every bower, every sweet Irish flower
Remind me of Mary on the banks of the Lee.

I’ll pluck for her some roses, some blooming Irish roses.
I’ll pluck for her some roses the finest every grew.
And I'll place them on the grave of my own lovely Mary
In that cold and silent graveyard where she sleeps 'neath the dew.

Chorus:
I loved her very dearly, so true and sincerely.
There was no girl in this wide world I loved more than she.
Every bush and every bower, every sweet Irish flower
Remind me of my Mary on the banks of the Lee.


"This somewhat sentimental piece is extremely popular, though it has not made its way into print very often; the only published version we could find was in Tomás Ó Canainn’s collection of Cork songs, 'Down Erin’s Lovely Lee'. The BBC index lists four songs with this title from Ireland, but one of those, that from Mrs Cronin of Ballyvourney, Co Cork is a different song entirely. The song was also recorded from Scots Traveller Sheila Stewart who travelled extensively in Ireland. Tom Munnelly recalled having been told by Longford Traveller Pat Ward that the ‘Mary’ of the song was a travelling woman who died in a workhouse fire while her husband was in England working."

Reference:
Down Erin’s Lovely Lee: Songs of Cork, Tomás Ó Canainn (ed), Gilbert Dalton, 1978.
BBC Index Recordings of Folk Music and Folklore, Great Britain and Ireland; Section 1: Songs In English.
Jim Carroll


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