> Shirley Collins > Songs > Dennis O'Reilly

Dennis O'Reilly

[ Roud 676 ; Ballad Index MA062 ; coll. and arr. Edgar Waters, Shirley Collins]

Shirley Collins recorded Dennis O'Reilly in a two day session in London in 1958 for her 1960 LP False True Lovers. Alan Lomax commented in the album's notes:

Dennis O'Reilly is an instance of the speed with which folk songs are travelling nowadays. It began its life as one of the many songs of the Irish immigrants to Australia. Mister Goodwin of Leichhardt, New South Wales, picked it up on the Nambucca River of NSW and, when he was 73, sang it for Cecil English and John Meredith. From them it passed into the repertoire of Edgar Waters, the Australian ballad collector, who brought it to England and taught it to Shirley Collins. My guess is that from her record it will pass into the repertoire of the young folk singers on this continent.

She recorded this song for a second time for her Collector EP Shirley Sings Irish.

Lyrics

Shirley Collins sings Dennis O'Reilly

My name is Dennis O'Reilly,
From Dublin town I come,
To travel the wide world over
I crossed the Australian main.

Chorus:
With me pack all on me shoulder
And a blackthorn in my hand
I'll travel the bush of Australia
Like a true-born Irishman.

When I arrived in Melbourne
All the girls all jumped for joy,
Saying one unto the other,
“Here comes me Irish boy.”

Chorus:
With a pack all on his shoulder
And a blackthorn in his hand
I'll travel the bush of Australia
With a true-born Irishman.

“Oh daughter, dearest daughter,
What is it you would do?
Now would you marry an Irish man,
A man you never knew?

“Oh mother, dear mother,
Sure I'll do the best I can,
I'll travel the wide world over
With me true-born Irishman.”

Chorus:
With a pack all on his shoulder
And a blackthorn in his hand
I'll travel the wide world over
With a true-born Irishman.