On a fine and pleasant evening as my walks I did pursue
The flowers were blooming fresh and fair they had that verdant hue.
And as Luna spread her silver rays disclosing many’s the scene
I overheard a youthful pair conversing on the green.
By the corncrake loudly calling, they my footsteps did not here
And the hawthorn proved my trusty friend as to them I drew near.
Till at last he broke the silence and these words to her did say
O it’s I am bound to sail away to fair Columbia’s shore
On board of that great ship Brittania and strange countries I’ll explore.
When she heard of his departure she, her arms around him threw
And the falling tears rolled down her cheeks and wet her face like dew.
For it’s when you reach Columbia’s shore some pretty maids you’ll find
Dressed in their country’s fashion you’ll soon bear me from your mind.
O No, my dear where’er I roam in foreign lands to toil
I’ll never forget the days we spent sailing round Lough Foyle.
O no, my dear where’er I roam a stranger’s fate to share
I’ll never forget the nights I spent with you around Carrowclare.
Then he threw his around her saying if fortune favours me
We’ll join our hands in wedlock bands when I return to thee.
And from Derry Quay he sailed away on breezes fresh and fair
And now he is in America far far from Carrowclare.
“This song was learned from the singing of the Butcher family from Magilligan in Co. Derry. Eddie Butcher liked happy endings and in his family’s version the couple get married and go off to America together. We thought this a tiny bit false and decided to leave the ending ambiguous. Carrowclare is a townland in Co. Derry.” Andy
This one is a heartbreaking song of emigration to America, in which the lad leaves his girl behind. It was written in about 1870 by James McCurry, a blind fiddler from Myroe and it is listed under entry H169 in Sam Henry’s collection, where it was recorded under the title of “The Maid of Carrowclare”.