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Erin's Lovely Lee
(Roud 5327)
Peggy McMahon
Cloonlaheen, Doolough

Recorded in singer’s home, date unknown
Carroll Mackenzie Collection


In March the sixth in sixty three, we sailed from Queenstown Quay;
A gallant band of Fenian lads bound for Amerikay.
While traveling with this happy band, as you may plainly see,
We were forced to go from sweet Clarroe, down Erin's lovely Lee.

For six long weeks we ploughed the seas, from Queenstown Quay in Cork.
Just like an arrow through the skies, till we landed in New York.
The Yankee boys in stars and stripes came rushing for to view
This gallant band of Fenian lads from Erin's lovely Lee.

Then one of them stepped up to me and asked me did I know
The green woods of Tipperary or, the Glen of Aherlow.
Or could I tell where Crowley fell, his native land to free;
Or the tower that Captain Mackey sacked, down Erin's lovely Lee.

Yes, I can tell where Crowley fell, 'twas in Kilclooney Wood.
And the tower that Captain Mackey sacked, 'twas by his side I stood.
When he gave the word, we raised the cry, that made the tyrants frown;
And we raised the green flag o'er our heads, the harp without the crown.

When I was leaving Ireland, we came through sweet Kildare.
And if I do not now mistake, Wolfe Tone is lying there.
While passing round through Dublin Town, we passed Glasnevin through
And there young Robert Emmet lies, a patriot loyal and true.

But now I'm tired of roving and the seas I will cross o'er.
To feel the clasp of honest hands, when I come home once more.
When I go home to sweet Clarroe the boys will welcome me,
And we'll help to float the Fenian boat, down Erin's lovely Lee.

“According to Tomás Ó Canainn, ‘The Fenian movement of the 1860s was well supported by many of the underprivileged country people and by underpaid tradesmen in the towns. The defeat of the Fenians meant the enforced emigration, mainly to America, of large numbers of their supporters. The Fenian movement was strong in exile in America and its influence could still be felt right up to the early years of the 20th century, providing a link with the 1916 Rising. In the song an emigrant from Cloghroe near Cork city is being questioned on his knowledge of the various heroes, right back to Robert Emmet at the beginning of the nineteenth century and even as far back as Wolfe Tone at the end of the eighteenth century.’”

Songs of Cork, Tomás Ó Canainn, Gilbert Dalton, 1978
Jim Carroll

See also
Erin's Lovely Lee sung by Vincie Boyle

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