Spancil Hill lyrics

by The Dubliners

Last night as I lay dreaming, of pleasant days gone by,
Me mind being bent on rambling, to Ireland I did fly.
I stepped on board a vision and I followed with the wind,
'Til next I came to anchor at the Cross of Spancilhill.

It being on the twenty third of June, the day before the fair,
When Ireland's sons and daughters, and friends assembled there.
The young, the old, the brave and the bold, came their duty to fulfill,
At the parish church in Clooney, a mile from Spancilhill.

I went to see me neighbours, to see what they might say,
The old ones were all dead and gone, the young ones turnin' grey.
But I met the tailor Quigley, he's as bold as ever still,
And he used to make me britches when I lived in Spancilhill.

I paid a flying visit, to my first and only love,
She's as white as any lilly, gentle as a dove.
And she threw her arms around me, saying Johnny I love you still,
As she's now the farmer's daughter, and the Pride of Spancilhill.

I dreamed I held and kissed her, as in the days of yore,
Ah Johnny you're only jokin', as many as the time before,
Then the cock he crew in the morning, he crew both loud and shrill,
I awoke in California, many miles from Spancilhill.

Song Details

Spancil Hill

Brief: Spancil Hill is a traditional Irish folk song written by Michael Considine. It depicts the plight of Irish immigrants who were living in America, many of which moved to California during the Gold Rush, and the longing for their homeland.

Michael has a dream one night and dreams of days gone by. He has visions of his childhood and his schoolboy friends, the parish priest, the local fair, his neighbors, the town folk, and the love he left behind... Mary MacNamara was her name. All the places and characters depicted in the song are real.

Michael Considine was born in Spancilhill in the middle of the 19th century, around 1850. He emigrated to America at around 1870. Some members of the family emigrated with him and others stayed behind. His intention was to work and earn enough money to bring his sweetheart over to America where they would be married. He worked in Boston for a few years before moving to California.

At the age of 23, he was suffering ill health, and realizing he had little time to live, he wrote the poem, Spancil Hill. It was to be taken home by his nephew, John Considine in remembrance for the love he left behind. He died soon after. Mary remained true to Michael for the rest of her life and never married.

Category: Irish Folk Song

Recording Artists with Celtic Origins: The Dubliners (featured), Christy Moore, The Pogues, Paddy Reilly, The Corrs, Jim McCann, The Wolfe Tones...

Log Spancil Hill by The Dubliners is featured on the album Songs of Irish Emigration (released 16th March, 2012 )

Spancil Hill - Original Lyrics

Last night as I lay dreaming, of the pleasant days gone by,
My mind being bent on rambling and to Erin's Isle I did fly.
I stepped on board a vision and sailed out with a will,
'Til I gladly came to anchor at the Cross of Spancilhill.

Enchanted by the novelty, delighted with the scenes,
Where in my early childhood, I often times have been.
I thought I heard a murmur, I think I hear it still,
'Tis that little stream of water at the Cross of Spancilhill.

And to amuse my fancy, I lay upon the ground,
Where all my school companions, in crowds assembled 'round.
Some have grown to manhood, while more their graves did fill,
Oh I thought we were all young again, at the Cross of Spancilhill.

It being on a Sabbath morning, I thought I heard a bell,
O'er hills and vallies sounded, in notes that seemed to tell,
That Father Dan was coming, his duty to fulfill,
At the parish church of Clooney, just one mile from Spancilhill.

And when our duty did commence, we all knelt down in prayer,
In hopes for to be ready, to climb the Golden Stair.
And when back home returning, we danced with right good will,
To Martin Moilens music, at the Cross of Spancilhill.

It being on the twenty third of June, the day before the fair,
Sure Erin's sons and daughters, they all assembled there.
The young, the old, the stout and the bold, they came to sport and kill,
What a curious combination, at the Fair of Spancilhill.

I went into my old home, as every stone can tell,
The old boreen was just the same, and the apple tree over the well,
I miss my sister Ellen, my brothers Pat and Bill,
Sure I only met my strange faces at my home in Spancilhill.

I called to see my neighbours, to hear what they might say,
The old were getting feeble, and the young ones turning grey.
I met with tailor Quigley, he's as brave as ever still,
Sure he always made my breeches when I lived in Spancilhill.

I paid a flying visit, to my first and only love,
She's as pure as any lilly, and as gentle as a dove.
She threw her arms around me, saying Mike I love you still,
She is Mack the Rangers daughter, the Pride of Spancilhill.

I thought I stooped to kiss her, as I did in days of yore,
Says she Mike you're only joking, as you often were before,
The cock crew on the roost again, he crew both loud and shrill,
And I awoke in California, far far from Spancilhill.

But when my vision faded, the tears came in my eyes,
In hope to see that dear old spot, some day before I die.
May the Joyous King of Angels, His Choicest Blessings spill,
On that Glorious spot of Nature, the Cross of Spancilhill.

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