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A Song Of Old Ireland

(Words: Holmes Hooke; Music: Brendan Nolan; Produced and arranged by David Gossage)


Key of E; Guitar, Capo 2nd fret, D; Tuning: EBGDAD

Holmes Hooke from Armagh writes about some real-life experiences of people that he has met during the course of his life in Canada. You may have met some of them yourself. Place names have been altered a little, but the story is essentially the same. Holmes has two albums of his material available, "Holmespun Tales" and "Caught By The Tale" on Holmespun Music.

I met a woman in Manatoulin
Who came from Belfast
Her first husband and twin boys were killed
In a Crumlin Road blast
She came here and started over
Raised a family free of fear and hate
She won’t forget where she comes from
But she can’t go back
The pains too great

And she’ll sing
To the graves of her loved ones
To land where they lie
And when she sings
A song of old Ireland
Oh how the tears
Fill her eyes

I met a farmer who came from Nenagh
Just this side of Sault St. Marie
He told me the reason
He had come over
Was to live out his dead father’s dream
His old man had longed to till this land
And raise his dreams from the earth
But he’s raised eight kids
On a farm-hand’s pay
And never left the land of his birth

And he’ll drink
To the grave of his father
To the land where the lies
And when he sings
A song of old Ireland
It’s his father’s dream
That’s in his eyes

I met a drunk in a Boston bar room
Who’d been here for twenty years
Never found peace in his new home
Sought solace in a glass of beer
He thought he’d live his life in Newry
But like so many
He no longer fit
The bombs and the bullets
Tore his town apart
So he packed his bags
And he quit

And he’ll drink
To the grave of his memories
To the land where they lie
And when he hears
A song of old Ireland
You won’t see any tears
In his eyes
You won’t see any tears

In Spokane I met a roughneck
Who came from round Lisnaskea
He loved the women,
The wine and the whiskey
He was living the Immigrants dream
This was his land of milk and honey
His days on the dole
They were past
He’d a job and a fistful of money
And he’d work hard
To make it last

And he’ll drink
To the land where he comes from
To the land
Where his mother cries
And he sings
A song of old Ireland
You can see
The pride in his eyes

I’ve met the Irish all over
From Tofino to Cape Fear
And each one has a story to tell
Of how they came over here
Some came to escape oppression
Some to leave their past behind
Some came for adventure
But most
For the rich life they’d find

And they’ll drink
To the land they now live in
To the land
Where their future lies
And when they
A song of old Ireland
That’s what you’ll see
In their eyes