> Folk Music > Songs > Our Ship Is Ready

Our Ship Is Ready

[ Roud 2995 ; Ballad Index RcOSSRBA ; Bodleian Roud 2995 ; trad.]

Robert Cinnamond sang Our Ship is Ready to Bear Away in August 1955 in the BBC recording 24842 made by Sean O'Boyle. This was included on the anthology Sailormen and Servingmaids (The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 6; Caedmon 1961; Topic 1970).

Sarah Makem sang Farewell My Love, Remember Me to Diane Hamilton in 1955. This recording was included in 2011 on her Musical Tradition anthology As I Roved Out. She also sang Farewell My Love, Remember Me (Our Ship Is Ready) in a recording made by Bill Leader in her home in Keady, Co. Armagh in 1967. This was published a year later on her Topic LP Mrs Sarah Makem: Ulster Ballad Singer. A third recording made by Paul Carter and Sean O'Boyle in 1967 was included in 2012 on her Topic anthology The Heart Is True (The Voice of the People Volume 24). Rod Stradling noted in the Musical Tradition booklet:

Emigration songs are common enough in Ireland, but too many of them are written to a stereotyped nostalgic pattern, full of references to beloved scenery and beautiful maidens left lamenting. This fragment recorded by Mrs Makem has all the simplicity of diction that comes from a full heart, and only in the last line do we discover that the emigrant is setting out from Ireland. This one is widely represented in Irish libraries on a Ballad Sheet printed around 1870 by Peter Brereton of Dublin, A much admired song entitled The Emigrant's Farewell to his country.

Roud has just 15 instances of this lovely song and, sadly, none of the other sound recordings by Robert Cinnamond, Mikeen McCarthy, or Mary Toner is available on CD.

Margaret Barry sang Our Ship Is Ready in a recording made by Bill Leader in Paddington, London, 1957. It was released in the same year on her Topic LP Street Songs and Fiddle Tunes and in 1994 on her Topic CD Her Mantle So Green.

The Ian Campbell Folk Group sang Our Ship Is Ready at an evening at the Jug of Punch folk club at the Crown, Station Street, Birmingham, that was recorded and published in 1962 on their Topic EP Ceilidh at the Crown.

Alison McMorland and Peta Webb sang Our Ship Is Ready in 1980 on their eponymous Topic album Alison McMorland & Peta Webb. Peta Webb also sang it with Oak live at the Cheltenham Folk Club, Victory Club, on October 24, 1971, which was included in 2003 on Oak's Musical Tradition anthology Country Songs and Music, Peta Webb also recorded The Heart Is True (Our Ship Is Ready) in 1986 as the title track of her album with Pete Cooper, The Heart is True, and Alison McMorland sang it in 2007 on her Greentrax CD with Geordie McIntyre, White Wings. Rod Stradling commented in Oak's Musical Tradition booklet:

A song almost entirely confined to the north of Ireland, it has been collected from Sarah Makem and Robert Cinnamond and other Northern Irish singers, and is a version of the broadside ballad An Emigrant's Farewell to his Country. Peta learned this from Peter Kennedy's 1952 recording of Mary Toner, Markethill, Co Armagh. The broadside has many references to the beauties of Dublin, including Killiney, which Peta heard as Killarney.

Damien Barber sang Our Ship Is Ready in 2000 on his CD The Furrowed Field.

Emily Spiers sang The Emigrant's Farewell in 2010 on her CD The Half-Moon Lovers.

Sue Brown and Lorraine Irwing sang Our Ship Is Ready in 2012 on their RootBeat album The 13th Bedroom.

The Furrow Collective sang Our Ship She's Ready, with an interlude of I Am a Maid That's Deep in Love after the second verse, on their 2018 album Fathoms. They noted:

This song first appeared on several Irish broadsides, and one or two in England and Scotland, from the mid-nineteenth century, under the title The Emigrant's Farewell to his Country. We learnt our version from the beautiful singing of Sarah Makem of Co Armagh (1900-1983). We imagine that the words would have felt no less moving back then to those faced with long and dangerous sea voyages—and those they left behind—as they might to those in similar predicaments today. Sarah's son Tommy and some of her siblings emigrated to America, the latter to Dover, New Hampshire, to work in a cotton mill. Poignantly, she never took the opportunity herself, choosing with her fiance to spend the fare on getting married instead.

Lyrics

Sarah Makem sings Farewell My Love, Remember Me (Our Ship is Ready)

Our ship she's ready to bear away
Come, comrades o'er the stormy sea
Our snow white wings they are unfurled
And soon she'll wave in a watery world.

Do not forget love, do not grieve
The heart that's true cannot deceive.
My heart and hand I'll give to thee
So farewell my love, remember me.

Farewell my love, so bright as pearl,
My lovely dark haired, blue eyed girl.
And when I'm crossing the deep blue sea
I hope, in Ireland, you'll think of me.

Peta Webb sings Our Ship is Ready

Our ship is ready to bear away
Come, comrades, o’er the stormy sea.
Her snow-white wings, they are unfurled
And soon she’ll swim in a watery world.

Chorus (after each verse):
Ah, do not forget, love; do not grieve,
For the heart is true and can’t deceive.
My heart and hand with you I’ll leave;
Fare thee well truelove and remember me.

Farewell to thee, my precious pearl,
It’s my lovely dark-haired, blue-eyed girl.
And when I’m on the stormy sea;
When you think on Ireland, remember me.

Farewell to Dublin’s hills and braes,
To Killarney’s lakes and silvery seas.
There’s many a bright, long, summer’s day
When we passed those hours of joy away.

Oh, Erin, dear, it grieves my heart
To think that I so soon must part.
And friends so ever-dear and kind
In sorrow I must leave behind.

The Furrow Collective sing Our Ship She's Ready

Our ship she's ready to bear away
Come, comrades, over the stormy sea.
Her snow-white wings, they are unfurled
And soon she’ll wave in a watery world.

Do not forget love, do not grieve,
This heart is true and can't deceive.
My heart and hand I'll give to thee
So farewell my love, remember me.

Farewell my love, so bright as pearl,
My lovely dark haired, blue eyed girl.
And when I'm crossing the deep blue sea
I hope, in Ireland, you'll think of me.