Erin’s Lovely Home

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  • Teideal (Title): Erin’s Lovely Home.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 853908.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): 1427.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): M6.
  • 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): 02/01/1980.
  • 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.

It’s about a fellow, of course, in love with a girl, and the father thought she was too good and too rich for him, so he tried to transport him. At that time they could transport him, you see, if they… put one false step, they could transport him to Van Dieman’s Land, Tasmania, you know. And, that’s what happened this fellow. What she wanted- She wanted to go with him!

When I was young and in my prime, my age was twenty-one
I acted as a servant to a gentleman
I served him true and honest, and very well it’s known,
But in cruelty he banished me from Erin’s lovely home.

The reason that he banished me I mean to let you know
I own I loved his daughter, and she loved me also;
She had a large fortune, and riches I had none;
That is why he banished me from Erin’s lovely home.

‘Twas in her father’s garden all in the month of June
We were viewing of the flowers all in their youthful bloom;
She said, ‘My dearest Willie, if with me you will roam,
We’ll bid adieu to all our friends in Erin’s lovely home.’

I gave consent that very night along with her to roam
Far from her father’s dwelling; it proved my overthrow.
The night was bright; the moon shone bright as we set off alone
Thinking to get us safely away from Erin’s lovely home.

When we came to Belfast by the break of day
My love she then got ready our passage for to pay
Five thousand pounds she counted down, saying ‘This shall be your own;
But do not mourn for those we left in Erin’s lovely home.’

Now our sad misfortune I mean to let you hear:
‘Twas in a few hours after, her father did appear.
He marched me back to Omagh Jail in the county of Tyrone;
From there I was transported from Erin’s lovely home.

When I heard my sentence, it grieved my heart full sore;
But parting from my own true love, it grieved me ten times more.
There are seven links upon my chain; for every link, a year;
Before I can return again to the arms of my dear.

While I lay in my prison cell, before I sailed away,
My love she came into my cell, and this to me did say:
‘Cheer up your heart, don’t be dismayed, for I’ll not you disown,
Until you do return again to Erin’s lovely home.’


Joe tells Lucy Simpson that he first heard this song as a schoolchild in Carna, sung by a cousin, a Mrs King from Dúiche Eithir. He didn’t learn all of it, however, as his English wasn’t very good, and he was more occupied with picking up songs in Irish at that time. He did, however, maintain an interest in learning the rest of it.

It would appear from his conversation with Lucy that she had compiled a collection of songs from sources in the local library, and it was from this compendium that Joe finally learned all the words to the song. Before he sang it on this occasion, he went to fetch a copy of the verses, saying ‘if I sing it a couple of times, I’ll be able to sing it myself’ – presumably, in performance. The sound of page-turning before the seventh verse confirms that he is reading from a printed source here.

The air to the song is the same one that he uses with the song ‘John Mitchel.’ The verses are printed in Colm O Lochlainn, Irish Street Ballads (Dublin, 1939), 202.