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The Girl from Donegal
Tom Lenihan
Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay
Recorded in singer's home, August 1982

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Tom Lenihan

Young girls draw near and I'll tell you here, the news that makes me sad.
He sailed away the other day, my own dear Irish lad.
My heart did ache all for his sake, and tears like rain did fall.
But he had to part and break the heart of his girl from Donegal.

The weather was bad and my love was sad on the day that he sailed away
To a distant land across the foam on a stranger’s land to slave.
He would rather have toiled in his native soil but his wages were too small.
That’s why he did part and break the heart of his girl from Donegal.

He was big and strong, when he’d sing a song, he’d delight your heart to hear.
With his steps so light, and his eyes so bright, and his voice so sweet and clear.
He could handle a spade or court a maid, the finest of them all;
But he was inclined to leave behind his girl from Donegal.

I wished in vain he would remain, but he had to sail away,
And he left me here to pine and fear, till he returned someday.
But if this time he doesn't want to, he needn't return at all.
For, why did he part and break the heart, of his girl from Donegal?


“This was composed as a response to ‘My Girl from Donegal’ (Roud 13547) collected in Northern Ireland c.1923 by Sam Henry (1878-1952) and published in ‘Songs of the People’. It was first recorded as a single in 1958 by Bridie Gallagher (b.1924) and she later used it as her stage name.”

Sam Henry’s Songs of the People, Gale Huntingdon (ed.), Univ. of Georgia Press, 1990.

Jim Carroll

See also
The Girl from Donegal sung by Sean Boyle

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