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Erin’s Lovely Lee
(Roud 5327)
Vincie Boyle
Mount Scott, Mullagh
Recorded December 2003

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Vincie Boyle

On March the sixth on sixty three we sailed from Queenstown Quay,
With the gallant boys from Erin’s Isle bound for Amerikay.
In travelling with this gallant band, as you may plainly see,
I was forced to go from sweet Clarroe down Erin's lovely Lee.

For six long weeks we ploughed the sea, from Queenstown Quay in Cork,
And like the arrow through the air we landed in New York.
The Yankee boys with stars and stripes came flocking round to see,
This gallant band of Fenian men from Erin's lovely Lee.

Sure one of them stepped up to me and asked me did I know
The green hills 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.

Tis 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 cheer that made the tyrant frown,
And we raised the shamrock o'er our head, the harp without the crown.

And then he also asked me where Wolfe Tone’s body lay,
Or did I know the resting place of Emmet’s sacred clay?
Or did I know of bold Dwyer, the Wicklow mountain lion,
And the three Manchester Martyrs - Alan, Larkin and O’Brien?

When I was leaving Ireland, we passed through sweet Kildare.
The grass was green on Bodenstown, Wolfe Tone is lying there.
And going along through Dublin town, we passed Glasnevin through,
Sure tis there that Robert Emmet lies, a patriot loyal and true.

And now I'm tired of roaming, the seas I will cross o'er.
To feel the clasp of honest hand, when I return once more.
When I’ll go home to sweet Clarroe the boys they’ll welcome me,
Likewise the men from rebel Cork, 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 Peggy McMahon

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