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The Friends I Left Behind
(Laws N12)
Pat MacNamara
Kilshanny, near Ennistymon
Recorded in Kilshanny, summer 1975

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Pat McNamara

Oh then, fare thee well lovely Erin’s Isle, for here I cannot stay,
I do intend to cross the sea, bound for Americay,
To leave the land that gave me birth, oh it makes my heart full sore,
To leave that sainted island where the shamróg green do grow.

And farewell you groves and valleys now bedecked with beauty flowers,
It’s many the days I sport and play, sure among your shady bowers.
But since I am compelled to roam I shall bear you in my mind,
So God be with you Ireland and the friends I have left behind.

And our ship she lies at anchor just ready for to sail,
May God send each passenger safe with a sweet and pleasant gale.
For when I am in that dark blue sea you’re there all in my mind,
So God be with you Ireland and those friends I have left behind.

So now that we’ve safe landed, sure all in Americay,
We have plenty friends to meet us, finest work we’ll find next day,
I work and toil both day and night, while money I'll put in store,
And I sure will return again, to my own dear native home.


"The only trace of this we could find was a broadside this included in a collection of Irish Emigration songs:

'A much-admired Song called ‘The Irishman’s Farwell to his Country – bound for America’

'Farewell, dear Erin's lovely Isle, for here I cannot stay,
For I intend to cross the seas,—bound for America;
To leave my parents here behind,—in grief for to deplore,
Farewell unto the friends I left, all round the shamrock shore.

Our ship she lies at anchor, just ready for to sail,
The Lord protect each passenger,—with a sweet and pleasant gale;
For when I am on the raging seas, will run in my mind—
Fare-you-well old Ireland, and my friends I have left behind

Farewell, you groves and silver shades, bedecked with beauteous flowers,
Where Muses sweet do fondly stray, amongst the shady bowers;
Those joys shall reign within my breast, and never shall decline—
Those happy scenes I ne'r can forget or my friends I have left behind.

When parting from my native shore, it cause me to mourn,
To part my friends I shall see no more, perhaps never to return;
Come fill your glasses to the brim, till they do overflow,
I will drink unto the friends I left all round poor Erin shore.

The tears fell gently from his eyes, his heart was oppressed with grief,
While taking the fast farewell of his all on the beach,
Dear friends, he said, it's our last embrace, I will do the best I can.
He looked all round & sighed, saying adieu my native land.

Now to conclude and finish, I have no more to say,
I wish I was safely landed, all in America,
Like a warrior I would cross the seas,—no danger shall incline
My toast shall be—when far away,—to the friends I left behind.'"

Irish Emigration Songs and Ballads, Robert L Wright, Bowling Green Univ. Popular Press, 1975.
Jim Carroll

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