Thank You for Hearing Me: The Definitive Sinéad O'Connor Discography

“Skibbereen”

Traditional, arranged by

2 versions

4:16

Long Journey Home soundtrack album

2:20

excerpt

Long Journey Home soundtrack album

Lyrics

(Source: as heard)

Oh, father dear, I oft times hear
You talk of Erin's isle,
Her lofty scene, then valleys green,
Her mountains rude and wild.
They say it is a pretty place
Wherein a prince might dwell.
Oh, why did you abandon it?
The reason to me tell.
Oh, son, I loved my native land,
With energy and pride.
Til a blight came over on my crops,
My sheep and cattle died.
The rent and taxes were so high,
I could not them redeem.
And that's the cruel reason why
I left old Skibbereen.
Oh, it's well I do remember
That bleak December day.
The landlord and the sheriff came
To drive us all away.
They set my roof on fire
With their demon yellow spleen,
And that's another reason why
I left old Skibbereen.
Your mother, too, God rest her soul,
Fell on the snowy ground.
She fainted in her anguish
Seeing the desolation 'round.
She never rose, but passed away
From life to mortal dream.
She find a quiet brave, my boy,
In dear old Skibbereen.
And you were only two years old,
And feeble was your frame.
I could not leave you with your friends;
You bore your father's name.
I wrapped you in my cóta mór
In the dead of night unseen,
I heaved a sigh and said goodbye
To dear old Skibbereen.

Notes

I could not leave you with your friends:

This line and the next refer to a verse that originally appeared before this one:

Then sadly I recall the days of gloomy forty-eight.

I rose in vengeance with the boys to battle again' fate.

We were hunted through the mountains as traitors to the queen,

And that, my boy, is the reason why I left old Skibbereen.

This and another verse that originally ended the song change it from a victim's lament to a rallying cry to seek revenge in the future.

cóta mór:

Irish Gaelic "topcoat," "great coat"

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