Henry's Songbook

All original copyrights respected / For private use only

go to  de   Susannes Folksong-Notizen   English Notes  uk

Kilkelly, Ireland

  • (Peter Jones)

    Kilkelly, Ireland, eighteen-and-sixty
    My dear and loving son John
    Our good friend the schoolmaster Pat McNamara
    Is so good as to write these words down
    Your brothers have all gone to find work in England
    The house is empty and sad
    The crop of potatoes is sorely infected
    A third to a half of them bad
    Your sister Bridget and Patrick O'Donnell
    Are going to be married in June
    Your mother says not to work on the railroad
    And be sure to come on home soon

    Kilkelly, Ireland, eighteen-and-seventy
    My dear and loving son John
    Hello to your missus and to your four children
    May they grow healthy and strong
    Michael has got in a wee bit of trouble
    I think he never will learn
    Because of the dampness there's no turf to speak of
    And now we have nothing to burn
    Bridget is happy you named the child for her
    Although she has six of her own
    You say you found work but you don't say what kind
    Or when you'll be coming home

    Kilkelly, Ireland, eighteen-and-eighty
    Dear John and Michael, my sons
    I'm sorry to give you this very bad news
    Your dear old mother has gone
    We buried her down at the church in Kilkelly
    Your brothers and Bridget were there
    You don't have to worry, she died very quickly
    Remember her in your prayers
    But it's good to hear that Michael's returning
    With money he's sure to buy land
    The crop is still poor and the people are selling
    Any price that they can

    Kilkelly, Ireland, eighteen-and-ninety
    My dear and loving son John
    I suppose I must be close on to eighty
    It's thirty years since you've gone
    But because of all of the money you send me
    I'm still living out on my own
    Michael has built himself a fine house
    And Bridget's daughters are grown
    Thank you for sending your family picture
    They are lovely young women and men
    And you say you might even get home for a visit
    What joy to see you again

    Kilkelly, Ireland, eighteen-and-ninety-two
    Dear brother John
    I'm sorry I didn't write sooner to tell you
    The Father passed on
    He was living with Bridget, she says he was happy
    And cheerful down to the end
    You should have seen him play with the grandchildren
    Of Pat McNamara our friend
    We buried him alongside of Mother
    Down at the Kilkelly churchyard
    He was a strong and a feisty old man
    Considering his life was so hard
    And it's funny, but he kept on talking about you
    He called for you at the end
    Oh John, why don't you come home for a visit
    We would all love to see you again

    We would all love to see you again

    (as sung by Iain MacKintosh)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  •   [1979:] Millionen starben während der großen Hungersnot und Tausende wanderten nach dem damals "gelobten Amerika" aus. Viele starben dabei noch während der Überfahrt, und die, die ankamen, fanden nur einen Job bei der Eisenbahn [=Eisenbahnbau], weil es nicht viel anderes gab. (Bursch 147)

  •   [1987:] In the aftermath of the worst famine in Irish history (1845-1847), in the midst of a panorama of unimaginable horror, and driven by a tempest of fears and uncertain hopes, vast numbers of Irish streamed to the ports and the ships to America, and lives of certain separation. On the night before departure, family and friends would gather for an 'American wake', or 'live wake'. It was a wake in every sense of the word, for in those days there was little difference between going to the grave or going to America; a return voyage was beyond dreaming. The harrowing moment of departure would arrive and in the litany of blessings and good wishes, the pent-up sorrows and restrained feelings would burst to the surface. The spectacle of such anguish would 'tear the heart out of a stone'. Finally the son or daughter would wrench themselves away, and reaching the bend of the road or the crest of the hill would turn and wave, and in that moment their loss became real, for they knew that the times of their lives left to them would be forever lived apart. Songwriter Peter Jones made this song from some letters found in his parents' attic in Washington, D.C. The letters came from Kilkelly, Co. Mayo, in the west of Ireland. (Notes Danny Doyle, '20 Years A-Growing')

  •   [1991:] [This] came to me across a crowded Irish bar at Wilmington, Delaware. Sung by that fine singer Danny Doyle, the starkness of its sentiments reduced two hundred noisy drinkers to pin-drop silence within seconds. (Notes Iain MacKintosh, 'Risks and Roses')

  •   [1991:] 130 years after his great-grandfather left the small village of Kilkelly, Co. Mayo, Peter Jones found a bundle of letters sent to his great-grandfather by his father in Ireland. The letters tell of family news, births, deaths, sales of land and bad harvests. They remind the son that he is loved, missed and remembered by his family in Ireland. The final letter informs him that his father, whom he has not seen for 30 years, has died, the last link with home is broken ... (Notes 'Bringing It All Back Home')

  •   [1996:] 'Kilkelly' is a real beautiful song - and is the story of my father's own family. When they went over to America and wrote they'd be coming back - yet never did. (Eleanor Shanley, Rock 'n' Reel 24, p 21)

  • Cf. F. S. L. Lyons, The Irish Famine

Quelle: Ireland / USA/

go back de  K-Index uk

 Sammlung : Susanne Kalweit (Kiel)
Layout : Henry Kochlin  (Schwerin)

aktualisiert am 25.08.2000