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Shamrock shore

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Two texts in search of an author, with the same title “Shamrock shore” we distinguish two different songs, both as text and as melody, the first reported by PW Joyce at the end of the nineteenth century is an irish emigration song, the second ever traditional is also an emigration song, but above all a protest song, the social and political denunciation of the Irish question.


Already at the end of the 1800s P. W. Joyce reported it in his  “Ancient Irish Music” to then republish it in 1909, so he writes “This air, and one verse of the song, was published for the first time by me in my Ancient Irish Music, from which it is reprinted here. It was a favourite in my young days, and I have several copies of the words printed on ballad-sheets“. Again P. W. Joyce in Old Irish Folk Music (1909) reports further text
“Ye muses mine, with me combine and grant me your relief,
While here alone I sigh and moan, I’m overwhelmed with grief:
While here alone I sigh and moan far from my friends and home;
My troubled mind no rest can find since I left the Shamrock shore.”

The Irish emigrant arrives in London, the tune is that generally known with the title of”Erin Shore” (see)

Horslips from Happy to meet, sorry to part, 1972

PW Joyce, 1890
In early spring when small birds sing and lambkins sport and play,
My way I took, my friends forsook, and came to Dublin quay;
I enter’d as a passenger, and to England I sailed o’er;
I bade farewell to all my friends,
and I left the shamrock shore.
To London fair, I did repair some pleasure there to find
I found it was a lovely place,
and pleasant to mine eye
The ladies to where fair to view,
and rich the furs they wore
But none I saw, that could compare to the maids of the shamrock shore

PARTY SONG: You brave young sons of Erin’s Isle

More than a song, a political rant about the need for the independence of Ireland and the evils of landlordism.
Matt Molloy, Tommy Peoples, Paul Brady (1978)

You brave young sons of Erin’s Isle
I hope you will attend awhile
‘Tis the wrongs of dear old Ireland I am going to relate
‘Twas black and cursed was the day
When our parliament was taken away
And all of our griefs and sufferings commences from that day (1)
For our hardy sons and daughters fair
To other countries must repair
And leave their native land behind in sorrow to deplore
For seek employment they must roam
Far, far away from the native home
From that sore, oppressed island that they call the shamrock shore
Now Ireland is with plenty blessed
But the people, we are sore oppressed
All by those cursed tyrants we are forced for to obey
Some haughty landlords for to please
Our houses and our lands they’ll seize
To put fifty farms into one (2) and take us all away
Regardless of the widow’s sighs
The mother’s tears and orphan’s cries
In thousands we were driven from home which grieves my heart full sore
We were forced by famine and disease (3) To emigrate across the seas
From that sore, opressed island that they called the shamrock shore
Our sustenance all taken away
The tithes and taxes for to pay
To support that law-protected church to which they do adhere (4)
And our Irish gentry, well you know
To other countries they do go
And the money from old Ireland they squandered here and there
For if our squires  would stay at home
And not to other countries roam
But to build mills and factories (5) here to employ the laboring poor
For if we had trade and commerce here
To me no nation could compare
To that sore, oppressed island that they call the shamrock shore
John Bull (6), he boasts, he laughs with scorn
And he says that Irishman is born
To be always discontented for at home we cannot agree
But we’ll banish the tyrants from our land
And in harmony like sisters stand
To demand the rights of Ireland,
let us all united be
And our parliament in College Green
For to assemble, it will be seen
And happy days in Erin’s Isle we soon will have once more
And dear old Ireland soon will be
A great and glorious country
And peace and blessings soon will smile all around the shamrock shore

1) The song is obviously post-Union (1800), because it refers to the dissolved Irish Parliament
2) the plague of landlordism
3)  in 1846 the entire crop of potatoes (basic diet of the Irish) was all destroyed due to a fungus, the peronospera; the “great famine” occurred (1845-1849 which some historians prolonged until 1852) which lasted for several years and almost halved the population; those who did not die of hunger were lucky if the
y could leave for England or Scotland, but more massive was the migration to America
4) ‘tithes and taxes’ paid in support of the Irish Church, so the song pre-dates the Act of Disestablishment in 1869
5) the years of large-scale industrial expansion (with relative upgrading of infrastructure) began in Britain starting from 1840-50
6) John Bull is the national personification of the Kingdom of Great Britain

Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore


Pubblicato da Cattia Salto

Amministratore e folklorista di Terre Celtiche Blog

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