Lisdoonvarna lyrics

Christy Moore

How's it goin' there everybody
From Cork, New York, Dundalk, Gortahork and Glenamaddy
Here we are in the County Clare
It's a long, long way from here to there
There's the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher
The Tulla and the Kilfenora
Micho Russell, Doctor Bill
Willie Clancy, Noel Hill
Flutes and fiddles everywhere
If it's music you want
You should go to Clare

Oh, Lisdoonvarna
Lisdoon, Lisdoon, Lisdoon, Lisdoonvarna!

Everybody needs a break,
Climb a mountain or jump in a lake.
Some head off to exotic places,
Others go to the Galway Races.
Mattie goes to the South of France,
Jim to the dogs, Peter to the dance.
A cousin of mine goes potholing,
A cousin of here's loves Joe Dolan.
Summer comes around each year,
We go there and they come here.
Some jet off to ... Frigiliana,
But I always go to Lisdoonvarna.

Oh, Lisdoonvarna
Lisdoon, Lisdoon, Lisdoon, Lisdoonvarna!

I always leave on a Thursday night,
With me tent and me groundsheet rolled up tight.
I like to hit Lisdoon,
In around Friday afternoon.
This gives me time to get me gear together,
I don't need to worry about the weather.
Ramble in for a pint of stout,
And you'd never know who'd be hangin' about!
There's a Dutchman playing a mandolin,
And a German looking for Liam Óg O'Floinn.
And there's Adam, Bono and Garrett Fitzgerald,
Gettin' their photos taken for the Sunday World.
Finbarr, Charlie and Jim Hand,
And they drinkin' pints to bate the band.
Ain't it grand?

Oh, Lisdoonvarna
Lisdoon, Lisdoon, Lisdoon, Lisdoonvarna!

The multitudes, they flocked and thronged,
To hear the music and the songs.
Motorbikes and Hi-ace vans,
With bottles - barrels - flagons - cans.
Mighty craic. Loads of frolics,
Pioneers and alcoholics,
PLAC, SPUC and the FCA,
Free Nicky Kelly and the IRA.
Hairy chests and milk-white thighs,
And mickey dodgers in disguise.
Mc Graths, O'Briens, Pippins, Coxs,
Massage parlours in horse boxes.
There's amhráns, bodhráns, amadáns,
Arab sheiks, Hindu Sikhs, Jesus freaks,
RTE are makin' tapes, takin' breaks and throwin' shapes.
This is heaven, this is hell.
Who cares? Who can tell?
(Anyone for the last few Choc Ices, now?)

Oh, Lisdoonvarna
Lisdoon, Lisdoon, Lisdoon, Lisdoonvarna!

A 747 for Jackson Browne,
They had to build a special runway just to get him down.
Before the Chieftains could start to play,
Seven creamy pints came out on a tray.
Shergar was ridden by Lord Lucan,
Seán Cannon did the backstage cookin'.
Clannad were playin' "Harry's Game",
Christy was singin' "Nancy Spain".
Mary O'Hara and Brush Shields,
Together singin' "The Four Green Fields".
Van the Man and Emmy Lou,
Moving Hearts and Planxty too!

Oh, Lisdoonvarna
Lisdoon, Lisdoon, Lisdoon, Lisdoonvarna!

Everybody needs a break,
Climb a mountain or jump in a lake.
Sean Doherty goes to the Rose of Tralee,
Oliver J. Flanagan goes swimming in the Holy Sea.
But I like the music and the open air,
So every Summer I go to Clare.
Coz Woodstock, Knock nor the Feast of Cana,
Can hold a match to Lisdoonvarna.

Oh, Lisdoonvarna
Lisdoon, Lisdoon, Lisdoon, Lisdoonvarna!

Song Details

Matchmaker Bar in Lisdoonvarna
Matchmaker Bar in Lisdoonvarna

Songwriter: Christy Moore

Lisdoonvarna (Irish: Lios Dúin Bhearna, meaning 'fort of the gapped keep') - a spa town in County Clare, Ireland.

The town is famous for its music and festivals. The music festival was discontinued in the 1980s, but Lisdoonvarna still hosts its annual matchmaking festival each September.

Brief: The song has been described as a "Burlesque on 1980s Irish public life".

The following is an excerpt from Independent.ie in relation to the song and its inclusion in the 'Penguin Book of Irish Verse'.:

A landmark anthology of Irish poetry is set to be published charting our greatest writers such as WB Yeats, Patrick Kavanagh, Seamus Heaney . . . and Christy Moore...

These days Christy often changes the lyrics during his live performances in order to keep the song relevant. But it is the original version that is in the anthology, full of references to the late 1970s and early 1980s.

He wrote the song at the request of the festival organisers. Christy says on his website that he first performed it the week before he was to join Rory Gallagher at the Lisdoonvarna festival in 1983.

"The original version was more chaotic and referred to a series of events that took place on the way down to west Clare. There was a break-in to Portlaoise Prison to serenade friends, a savage feed at the old treaty stone diner in Limerick where a card school broke out and Dickie Rock went all in on a pair of threes," he recalls.

None of that made it into the final version of the song, but 'Lisdoonvarna' is full of references to the characters and chaotic behaviour at the festival some 30 years ago.

References (just a few):
Potholing - leisure activity of going into underground caves and tunnels.
Craic - a really good time, especially when everyone is talking, joking, and laughing.
Frigiliana - a beautiful town tucked in the hillside of the Andalusia Coast in Spain.
Nick Kelly: Irish politician from Arklow in County Wicklow. In 1978, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for his alleged part in the Sallins Train Robbery. The ensuing campaign to release him became a symbol of the 1980s with 'Free Nicky Kelly' graffiti posted throughout the country... more
Liam Óg O'Floinn (1945-2018): Irish uilleann piper and Irish traditional musician.
Mickey Dodgers: females who openly shy away from sex.
Shergar: an Irish-bred, British-trained Thoroughbred racehorse
Van the Man: Van Morrison - Northern Irish singer-songwriter and musician
Brush Shiels: Irish musician from County Dublin
Mary O'Hara: Irish soprano and harpist from County Sligo.
Oliver J. Flanagan: Irish Fine Gael politician
Emmy Lou: Emmylou Harris - American singer, songwriter and musician

Category: Humourous

Album: Live At Vicar St (August 5, 2002).

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