The Emigrant's Farewell lyrics

by Cara Dillon

Farewell to old Ireland, the land of my childhood
Which now and forever I am going to leave
Farewell to the shores, where the shamrock is growing
It's the bright spot of beauty and the home of the brave

I'll think on its valleys with fond admiration
Though never again its bright hills will I see
I'm bound for to cross the wide swelling ocean
In search of fame and fortune and of sweet liberty

Our ship at the present lies in Derry harbour
To bear us away across the wide swelling sea
May heaven be her companion and grant her fair breezes
Till we reach the green fields of America

It's hard to be forced from the land that we live in
Our houses and farms all obliged for to sell
To wander along among Indians and strangers
To find some sweet spot where our children might dwell

Our artists, our farmers, our tradesmen are leaving
To seek for employment far over the sea
Where they'll get their riches with care and with industry
There's nothing but hardship at home if you stay

So cheer up your spirits, you lads and you lasses
There's gold for the digging and lots of it, too
A health to the heart that has courage to ramble
Bad luck to the lad or the lass that would rue


We'll call for a bumper of ale, wine and brandy
We'll drink to the health of those far away
Our hearts will all warm at the thought of old Ireland
And live in the green fields of Americay

Song Details

Cara Dillon
Cara Dillon at Wikipedia

Writer: Unknown - There are many versions to this song with a variety of lyrics.

Brief: The song is about the Irish Emigration to the United States in the 1850s and 1860s. They had hopes of finding work and a brighter future for their families and loved ones. Ireland at the time had very little work on offer and hardships were endured by many with a lack of employment and hungry mouths to feed - leaving their beloved homeland to find work was inevitable.

Category: Irish Folk Song

Covers: Andy Irvine from Planxty, Tony McManus (Instr.), Gavin Whelan (Instr.), De Danann, Sue Richards (Instr.)...

Album: Sweet Liberty (September 23, 2003).

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