The Irish Emigrant – Irish Folk Song

Interesting Facts about The Irish Emigrant

“The Irish Emigrant” is the final piece of Stan Hugill’s research on the very fine shanty “Heave Away, My Johnnies”. After the “Across The Western Ocean ( 2 )” which comes from Mr. T. E. Elwell. Eventually, the full version he took from his Irish friend; a native of Wexford, turned up the full version, which his friend called “The Irish Emigrant”.
And eventually the story of the trick used by Mr. Tapscott to use the word ‘meal’. The words pronounced in Irish fashion sounded like ‘mail’, giving rise to the belief that the ship concerned was carrying ‘mail’ and belonged to the fastest in the world smart packet ships. But in actual fact, these ships carried emigrants across to the New World were very often a real thirt-rates, and the food the poor Irish emigrants had daily was “meal” – the Irish pronunciation of which was “male”, hence the error.

The source of The Irish Emigrant

The music: “Shanties from the Seven Seas” by Stan Hugill (1st ed: p 299).
The lyrics: “Shanties from the Seven Seas” by Stan Hugill (1st ed: p 300, 301).

The Record

You also can find this record on my YouTube channel here or directly listen below. Additionally, if you want to share your opinion about the record or share your opinion you can do it in my Facebook forum here, or leave a comment at the bottom of this blog article.

The Irish Emigrant - Irish Folk Song

The musical notation

The Irish Emigrant - music notation

The full lyrics

The Irish Emigrant

As I walked out one morning down by the Clarence Dock,
I heard a bully Irish boy conversing wid Tapscott;
‘Good morning, Mister Tapscott, would ye be arter telling me,
If ye’ve got a ship bound for New York in the state of Amerikee?’

– Lay me down, lay me down,
– Lay me down do!
– Lay me down, here we go, Mrs. McQuale,
– Here we go to, lay me down, Mrs. O’Halligan,
– Jinny hooraw!
– Fire away, Bridget, I’ll bully for you!

* 2 *

‘Yes, yes, me handsome Irish boy, I’ve got a ship or two,
One’s laying at the wharf there, awaitin’ for her crew,
She is a handsome packet and on Friday she will sail,
And now she’s takin’ her on board a thousand bags o’ meal.’

* 3 *

So then I paid me passage down in solid Irish gold,
And when the packet sailed, boys, ’twas on the yellow grog road;
There was roars of milly murder, the loikes wuz never known,
An’ ev’ry mother’s son, me bhoys, did wish himself at home.

* 4 *

On the day on which we set out, ’twas on the first o’ May,
The Capen came upon the deck, these words to us did say,
‘Cheer up, me beefy Irish bhoys, now we have set all sail,
We’ll give ye a feed o’ pork an’ beans, tomorrow — yellow meal!’

* 5 *

Next day when we sailin’ down the channel right as rain,
A nor’west wind began to blow, an’ druv us back again.
Bad luck to the Joey Walker and the day that we set sail,
For them packet sailors broken open me chest, an’ stole me yellow meal.

* 6 *

Now that I am in Amerikee, a-working on a canal,
I’ll niver go home in a packet ship, I know I niver shall,
But I’ll ship in a darn big National boat, that carries both steam an’ sail,
With lashin’s o’ beef, an’ plenty to eat, an’ none of yer yellow meal.

Related to this victorian ditty

The Ghost of John James Christopher Benjamin Binns (Victorian Ditty)

Lay Me Down – Folk Song

Across The Western Ocean ( 2 )

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