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Farewell to Miltown Malbay
(Roud 5228)
Tom Lenihan
Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay
Recorded 1976

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Tom Lenihan

Farewell to Miltown Malbay,
A long and sad farewell,
The sorrow in my heart today
No words of mine can tell,
I'm parting from my dear old friends
And the scenes I fondly love,
May happiness attend them all
And blessings from above.

A bright and pleasant youth was mine
Among the good folks there,
No kinder hearts can e'er be found
Than those that throb in Clare,
And oh how crushed and sad I feel,
My tears fall down like rain,
As I look my last upon the place
I'll never see again.

From Barr na Baol to the Square
I often took a stroll,
And rambled out the Ennis Road,
Where Robert's* was my goal,
To play a game of outs and combs,
Or pass the time away,
While listening to traditions old
And legions of Mal Bay.

And often, too, I sought Pat Burke's,
Where we had many a spree,
Where Garrett Barry, with his pipes,
Filled our young hearts with glee,
Put young and old up dancing sets
Upon the kitchen floor,
The joy and fun that I had there
I never will have more.

The sea is gemmed with twinkling stars,
The sun shines bright today.
The rocky shore is fringed with foam
From Spanish Point to Freagh,
The verdant fields go rolling down
From Ballard to the sea,
Oh! what a soul-entrancing sight
Is spread out there for me.

The Angelus it’s melody a-ringing in the air,
Men bare their heads and silently
To Mary breathe a prayer.
If e’er I find this act devout
Beyond the ocean foam,
‘Twill bring to memory my last day
I spent in my old home.

Farewell to Miltown Malbay,
Farewell to one and all.
The sights I’ve seen, the joys I’ve had
I often will recall.
For with my heart, I love the spot
Where I was born and nursed,
And where upon those sun-kissed flags,
I crawled about at first.

* Robert's was the house of a widower named Robert Cummins
where the neighbours used to gather for a quiet game of cards.

“This was written by Miltown Malbay schoolteacher, playwright, poet, and Gaelic scholar Tomás Ó hAodha (Thomas Hayes – 1866-1935) on leaving Miltown to take up a post elsewhere; it was published in his collection of poems, ‘The Hills of Clare’. Hayes was born in Miltown Malbay in 1866, the son of a cooper. He became a teacher in 1886 in Dublin and was one of the early members of the Gaelic League. His greatest interest was in Irish music and the teaching of Irish song, in which he was an innovator. The song presents his strongly affectionate view of life in Miltown about a century ago.”
Jim Carroll

See also
Farewell to Miltown Malbay sung by Nora Cleary
Farewell to Miltown Malbay sung by Kitty Hayes

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