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The Flight of the Earls

[Across The Great Divide]

Words and Music: Liam Reilly
Bardis Music

Key of C

Written in the eighties when there was a lot of emigration from Ireland. The reference to The Flight of the Earls is a metaphor for the flight that took place after The Battle of Kinsale in 1601. On that day the great chieftains of the north, Red Hugh O'Neill and Red Hugh O'Donnell, were defeated. Rather than face certain imprisonment and execution they fled to the continent and continued to fight for European powers along with many other Irishmen.

I can hear the bells of Dublin
In this lonely waiting room
And the paper boys are singing in the rain
Not too long before they take us
To the airport and the noise
To get on-board a Trans-Atlantic plane
We've got nothing left to stay for
And no more left to say
And there isn't any work for us to do
So farewell you boys and girls
Another bloody flight of earls
Our best asset is now our best export too

It's not murder, fear nor famine
That makes us leave this time
We're not going to join McAlpine's Fusiliers
We've got brains and we've got vision,
We've got education too
But we just can't throw away these precious years
So we walk the streets of London
And the streets of Baltimore
And we meet at night in several Boston bars
We're the leaders of the future
Though we're far away from home
And we dream of you beneath the Irish sky

As we look on Ellis island
And the lady in the bay
And Manhattan turns to face another Sunday
We just think of what you're doing
To bring us all back home
As we look forward to another Monday
For it's not the work that scares us
We don't mind an honest job
And we know things will get better once again
So a thousand times adieu
We've got Bono and U2
All we're missing is the Guinness and the rain

So switch off your new computers
For the writing's on the wall
We're leaving as our fathers did before
Take a look at Dublin airport
Or the boat that leaves North Wall
There'll be no youth unemployment anymore
For we're over here in Queensland
And in parts of New South Wales
We're on the seas, the airways, and the trains
But if we see better days
Those big airplanes go both ways
And we'll all be coming back to you again