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Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore

[ Roud 1419 ; Henry H192 ; Ballad Index HHH192 ; trad.]

Packie Byrne sang the emigration song Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore in 1969 on his eponymous EFDSS album Packie Byrne. Tony Foxworthy commented in the liner notes:

So many of Ireland's sons (and daughters) have emigrated to the U.S.A., some of them Packie's relatives and friends, that I am sure he had them in mind when singing this little song about the subject. Very few of them ever do return to the “Green Shamrock Shores” but I daresay most always cherish the dream that they will one day.

Battlefield Band sang Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore in 1976 on their very first album on the French Arfolk label, Scottish Folk / Volume I: Farewell to Nova Scotia, The sleeve notes commented:

Une des nombreuses chansons sur l'emigration irlandaise consécutive à la Grande Famine du 19ème siècle. Beaucoup d'Irlandais espéraient faire fortune en Amérique et retourner ensuite dans leur pays; ils furent peu nombreux à le faire.

[One of the many songs about Irish emigration following the Great Famine of the 19th century. Many Irish hoped to make a fortune in America and then return to their country: few did so.]

Paul Brady sang Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore with the same words as the Battlefield Band on his 1978 album Welcome Here Kind Stranger. A recording of the album launch at Liberty Hall on July 21, 1978 was released in 2001 on his CD The Missing Liberty Tapes.

Five Hand Reel sang Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore, “a song of emigration demonstrating the sadness in the breaking-up of communities during times of hardship in Ireland”, on their 1979 Topic album A Bunch of Fives. This track was also included in the following year on the Topic anthology The Good Old Way.

Kevin Mitchell sang The Shamrock Shore on his and Ellen Mitchell's 2001 Musical Traditions album Have a Drop Mair. Rod Stradling noted:

Kevin: Another emigration song from the Inishowen tradition; I have augmented the verses from the Sam Henry collection.

Despite its present popularity, this song was not much taken up in the oral tradition. Roud has only eight examples, most of which refer back to Sam Henry's Songs of the People, and all but one came from the Derry/Donegal area. Of the three sound recordings, by Packie Byrne, Denis McDaid and Joe McCafferty, none are available on CD.

Lyrics

Paul Brady sings Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore

From Derry Quay we sailed away on the 23rd of May
We were boarded by a pleasant crew bound for Americay
Fresh water there we did take on, five thousand gallons or more
In case we’d run short going to New York far away from the Shamrock Shore

So fare thee well sweet Liza dear and likewise to Derry town,
And twice farewell to me comrade boys who dwell on that sainted ground
If fortune it ever should favour me or I to have money in store
I’ll come back and I’ll wed the wee lassie I left on Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore

Well we sailed three days and we were all seasick, not a man on board was free
We were all confined unto our bunks with no one to pity poor me
No father dear nor mother kind to hold up me head when t’was sore,
Which made me think more on the lassie I left on Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore

Well we safely reached the other side in three and twenty days
We were taken as passengers by a man and led round in six different ways,
We each of us drank a parting glass in case we might never meet more,
And we drank a health to Old Ireland and Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore

So fare thee well sweet Liza dear and likewise to Derry town
And twice farewell to me comrade boys who dwell on that sainted ground
If fortune it ever should favour me or I to have money in store
I’ll come back and I’ll wed the wee lassie I left on Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore

Five Hand Reel sing Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore

Chorus (after each verse):
And it's fare ye well, sweet Liza dear, and likewise to Derry town,
And it’s twice farewell to my comrades, boys, who dwell on that sainted ground.
And if ever I make my fortune here and I have got money in store,
I'll go back and I'll wed the girl that I love on Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore.

From Derry quay we sailed away on the 23rd of May,
We were boarded by a pleasant crew bound out for America;
Fresh water a-plenty we took on, five hundred gallons or more,
In case we ran short going out to New York from Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore.

We sailed three days, we were all seasick, not a man on board was free,
Our mast it bent before the wind and our ship tossed about on the sea;
And ofttimes I thought as I lay on my bunk, my head it felt heavy and sore,
And I wished I was back in Ireland, on Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore.

We safely reached the other side in three and thirty days;
We were taken as prisoners by the force and led round in six separate ways,
And each of us took the parting glass, in case we should meet no more,
And we drank a health to old Ireland and Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore.

Kevin Mitchell sings The Shamrock Shore

From Londonderry we set sail, it being on the eighth day of May.
We had a smooth and a pleasant gale going down to Moville Bay.
Fresh water we had twenty tons for passengers in store,
Least we should want going to St John, far, far from the Shamrock Shore.

When we had taken our last fond look of Derry's ancient town,
Let misfortune never light on us, or keep our courage down.
Here's to that grand female of my heart, she's the girl I do adore.
May the angels bright shed their soft light all around the Shamrock Shore.

At six o'clock that evening our anchors we did weigh,
The sunbeams on Benevenagh's heights they carelessly did play,
Green castles, ancient church and fort, they made my sad heart sore,
And I thought on when Tirconnel's court did grace the Shamrock Shore.

At 12 o'clock we came in sight of the famous Malin Head,
Inishtrahull far to the right rose from the ocean bed.
But a grander sight now met my eyes than I ever saw before,
The sun going down between sea and sky far, far from the Shamrock Shore.

Next morning we were all seasick, not a passenger was free;
Quite helpless in our bunks we lay, with no one to pity me,
No father kind nor mother dear to lift up my head when sore,
None of my own for to hear me moan far, far from the Shamrock Shore.

But now we're safely landed in three and twenty days,
We will take our comrades by the hand and we'll go different ways.
We will take our comrades by the hand in hopes to meet once more,
And we'll think all on our absent friends all around the Shamrock Shore.

Here's a health to Captain Harrison, we owe our thanks indeed;
Him and his crew were never slow to help us in our need.
We will drink his health in a full flowing glass, and we'll toast him o'er and o'er,
May he in safety pass to and from the lovely Shamrock Shore.