Boys, From Home

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  • Teideal (Title): Boys, From Home.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 853915.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): none.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): Joe Heaney Collection, University of Washington, Seattle.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): English.
  • Catagóir (Category): song.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Joe Heaney.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): Lucy Simpson.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 17/06/1980.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York, United States of America.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): private.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): unavailable.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

JH: …If the person leaving home couldn’t sing, you see, someone sang it for him, you see, putting themself in the fellow’s place who was going away. You get me? …’The last night of my stay, e’er I ramble far away to seek my fortune on a foreign shore.’

LS: Who do you remember singing this one?

JH: Oh, they all- Everybody in the parish of Carna sang this one. Everybody had it, you know. ‘Seek my fortune on a foreign shore. But before I go away, tonight I will be gay, for tomorrow I’ll be far away from home, boys, from home, tomorrow I’ll be far away from home.’ Everybody had this, you know, this is a song that was widely sung – even somebody going to England, but especially to ‘Amerikay’ as they said. This fellow in particular was going to America.

It’s the last night of my stay, e’er I ramble far away
To seek my fortune on a foreign shore
Before I go away, tonight I will be gay,
Tomorrow I’ll be far away from home, boys, from home
Tomorrow I’ll be far away from home.

To a strange and distant land with an honest heart and hand
Strange destiny obliges me to roam
Come joy, weal or woe, no matter where I go
I’ll never forget the dear old friends at home, boys, from home
I’ll never forget the dear old friends at home.

Here’s to my youthful joys, to my country girls and boys
To every Irish heart that I adore
On America’s sunny shore there is wealth for me galore,
The time is fast approaching, I must go, boys, from home
The time is fast approaching, I must go.

They say the American land is both wealthy, gay and grand
With virtues and great riches shining o’er
But if every grain of sand was a diamond in that land
I’d still love dear old Ireland more and more, boys, from home
I would still love dear old Ireland more and more.

Here is to the friends I leave in the village of Ardee
May the stars of freedom on them shine!
But if God on his high throne will give Ireland back her own
We’d hunt the bloody Saxons from our shore, boys, from home
We’d hunt the bloody Saxons from our shore.

JH: That’s it. Do you like it?

Notes

Joe tells Lucy that he learned this song at home – ‘everyone in the village had it.’ Indeed, at least one other Carna singer has it to this day; Josie Sheáin Jeaic Mac Donncha, from Árd Thiar, has been known to sing it from time to time.

In the free-and-easy fashion of tunes everywhere, the air of this song has spread itself about without regard to political sensibilities: it is clearly related to the air associated with that well-known anthem of Northern Irish loyalism, ‘The Brave Orange Heroes of Comber.’