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The ‘Lusitania’
(Roud 7349)
Tom Lenihan
Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay
Recorded in singer's home, 1976

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Tom Lenihan

Attend you feeling Irish hearts, I pray you will draw near;
This is the worst disaster, oh, that ever you did hear.
‘Tis of the ship ‘Lusitania’, from New York she set sail,
To breast the broad Atlantic wave and plough the angry main.

She left the harbour proudly manned, her flag was full mast high,
Two thousand souls she had aboard, to their friends they bid goodbye.
She set sail with a pleasant gale as each face wore a smile,
Oh, to think they would return once more to Erin’s lovely isle.

This good ship ‘Lusitania’ for ten years the ocean crossed,
And never was a soul before from aboard this good ship lost.
Until those cruel English dogs for her they lay unseen,
And shattered her to fragments with their cursed submarine.

Oh Lord, it was an awful sight to hear their moans and cries,
While children ran to mothers and husbands clung to wives.
The scene it was heart-rending, it would make the hardest weep,
To see hundreds of those creatures sure, struggling in the deep.

The bravest deed aboard the ship, for death he had no fear,
Was done by Mister Vanderbilt, the American millionaire.
He saw a lady standing by, a mother and a child,
He cast his lifebelt round her waist, to save her baby’s life.

Those savage Huns will meet their doom, upon some future day,
For this cruel wholesale murder on the seventh day of May,
And now, my friends remember, ‘tis of you I now will crave
To pray for the souls that those Hellshel dogs have sent to a water grave.

"The horrific sinking of the passenger liner 'Lusitania' by a German U Boat early in World War I (7th May 1915) with the loss of 1,198 lives is still recognised as a major wartime atrocity directed at civilians. At the time it provoked widespread anti-German riots in Britain and produced a huge outcry of protest in the United States (128 American passengers were counted among the dead). It led to Germany abandoning their unrestricted submarine campaign four months later. Tom Lenihan was among many who genuinely believed that the attack was carried out by the British in order to involve America in the war, which was an honest reflection of popular feeling following the Easter Week uprising, in an Ireland that was heading rapidly towards independence."
Jim Carroll


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