My Home in Fair Glenlea

Play recording: My Home in Fair Glenlea

view / hide recording details [+/-]

  • Teideal (Title): My Home in Fair Glenlea.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 853918.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): 9509.
  • 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): Unavailable.
  • 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.

This is about the man who saw the world in one night, you know, and when he woke up [he was in his own] bed in Ireland. This is what he thought he saw on his way.

Come all you rambling heroes of every rank and station
Hear my recitation while those lines I now unfold
I might have been a Roosian, an Austrian or a Bulgarian
But of my vast experience the truth I’ll now unfold.
I went to see the world’s rage when I was twenty years of age
A steerage passage I engaged on a ship called The Iron Duke
We sailed away from Dublin Wall southward bound for Transvaal
We had one man from Annascaul and one from Donnybrook.

Now, a Dutchman who admired my ways took me to see the Himalayas
And oh, my lads, was I amazed their awful height to see!
Those Himalayan peaks are much higher than Magillicuddy’s Reeks
From their summit you plainly see the waves at Galilee.
Now this Dutchman was in health declined; he looked for cures in Palestine
He wanted me with him combined along with him to go
So we journeyed on through Malta, on through Methuselah
The ancient city of Hebrew and the Walls of Jericho.

When we landed in Jerusalem the trees were blooming beautiful
But on the very next morning there was a great earthquake
I was in bed and sleeping sound; I woke to find things spinning round
And after that I heard no sound; no pain affected me
But on the following morning, when I recovered consciousness
I woke at home in my own bed, in my own home in Glenlea.


This fragment comes from a wonderful song by the poet Patsy Cronin of Toureen, Kilgarvan, County Kerry. The full text can be found in Tomás Ó Canainn (ed.), Down Erin’s Lovely Lee: Songs of Cork (Dublin 1978), 62-4; also in Fintan Vallely (ed.) Sing Up! (Dublin 2008), 179-82.

The song features in the repertoire of the Músgraí Uí Fhloínn Gaelthacht and has been recorded in full by singers from that region. One of these was Mícheál Ó Muimhneacháin, a brother of Cáit Ní Mhuimhneacháin whom Joe Heaney described as “one of the best sean-nós singers I ever heard”. Mícheál’s recording can be found on An Joga Mór — Sean-Nós Singing from Cork (RTE 242CD), which mostly contains archive recordings of Cáit but which includes this song and two others sung by Aindrias, another brother. All the recordings were made between 1940 and 1948 by the BBC, Coimisiún Béaloideasa Éireann and Raidió Éireann. It’s not known where Joe learned My Home in Fair Glenlea, though he may have heard it from Dublin singer Frank Harte, whose shortened version, called The Traveller All Over the World, can be heard on the Topic CD Irish Voices (TSCD 702).