Lyrics from the new album ‘Portraits’


1. Ballyneety’s Walls

The moon was bright o’er Limerick and everything was still.
It was for the foe in ambush we lay beside the hill.
Like lions bold we waited to dash upon our prey
as we rode with Sarsfield at our head at the dawning of the day.

From Dublin came the foreman with guns and warlike store
to take the town of Limerick, they wanted ten times more,
but little was their dreaming that we would be their doom,
as we rode with Sarsfield at our head right down from wild Slieve Bloom.

At the lonely hour of midnight each man leapt on his steed
and through the town of Cullen we dashed with lightning speed
and o’er the hill we thundered towards Ballyneety’s walls
where lay the foe securely with guns and arms and all.

They asked for our password and Sarsfield was the man:
“Oh here I am” our General cried, as down on them we ran
Oh had we bridged the firmament the moon and stars gave light.
And for the Battle of the Boyne we had revenge that night.

Loud laughed our General as fast we rode away
and many’s the health we drank to him in Limerick town next day.
Here’s a health to old Sarsfield, who led us one and all,
We blew up the Royal artillery at Ballyneety’s walls.


2. Beauty of Limerick

I will sing of a loved one who is dear onto me
Although we are parted by the deep rolling sea
My thoughts gladly wonder to Eireanns green shore
Where is my sweet treasure mo mhuirnín a stor

By the side of a brook or a clear running stream
I fancy see her as for in a dream
For there is no girl fairer or lovelier than she
My beauty of Limerick a chuisle mo chroí

I sigh when I think of our fair well goodbye
When she tried hard to keep the sad tear from her eye
Saying Patrick god bless you and bring you safe home
For the heart that is waiting for you all alone

In the morn when I waken I press to my heart
My cailín’s last gift from it n’er will I part
For it comes from the fairest and dearest to me
My beauty of Limerick a chuisle mo chroí

How well I remember the promise I made
To go back to Old Ireland when money I save
For there is no girl fairer or lovelier than she

My beauty of Limerick a chuisle mo chroí


3. Bonny Woodhall

Down by yon green bushes, near Calder’s clear spring
Where me and my Annie so oft times have been
When the hours that flew past us, right happy were we
It was little she thought that a soldier I’d be

But its farewell to Annie, and I must away
For the country it needs soldiers, and I must obey
But if providence proves kind, love, until I return
I will wed with my Annie near Calder’s clear burn

On the 14th of August, Our regiment was lost
And a ball from the enemy, Our lines came across
Oh it struck me in the temple, the blood trickled down
I kneeled and I staggered, And fell to the ground

Come here, says our Captain,Come here with good speed
For I fear by this bullet, Young Dinsmore lies dead
Two men with a stretcher, Did quickly prepare
And they carried me away to a hospital bed

Cold water and brandy, They poured out so free
And they turned me all over, My wounds for to see
But if I had my Annie, To bind up my wounds
One kiss from her sweet lips, Would soon deaden the stoon

And its when I am weary, And think on Langsine
When I was a miner, And wrought down the mine
Oh the tears they do trickle, And down they do fall
Like the roses that bloom, around Bonny Woodhall


4. Éist do Bhéal

Ná habair m’ainm leis an bhfear
A labharfaidh im dhiaidh i do chluais,
A bhéarfaidh aniar chugat
Gealach is grian mar dhuais;
Ná habair gur seanascéal é sin
A chuala tú uaim fadó.

Curfá; Éist do bhéal.
Éist do bhéal is bí ciúin.
Don gcéad uair i do shaol, bí ciúin,
Is éist do bhéal, do bhéilín bán.
Éist do bhéal.

Má chloiseann tú caint
I dtábhairní an bhaile
Gur ghearras-sa mo ghruaig,
Gur duine le Dia mé
A d’imigh ar buile i do dhiaidh

Ná habair gur seanascéal é sin
A chuala tú uaim fadó.


Má chíonn tú i mbrionglóid
Mé ag siúl cois toinne
Lem stuabhean rua,
Gan fáinne ar mhéar,
Gan scáil ar ár gcraiceann gan smál,
Ná habair gur seanascéal é sin
A chuala tú uaim fadó.

Curfá x2


5. Strange Affair

This is a strange affair
The time has come to travel but the road is filled with fear
This is a strange affair
My youth has all been wasted and I’m bent and grey with years

Oh where are my companions?
My mother, father, lover, friend, and enemy
Where are my companions?
They’re prisoners of death now, and taken far from me
And where are the dreams I dreamed in the days of my youth
They took me to illusion when they promised me the truth
And what do sleepers need to make them listen,
Why do they need more proof?
This is a strange, this is a strange affair

Won’t you give me an answer?
Why is your heart so hard towards the one who love you best?
When the man with the answer
Has wakened you, and warned you, and called you to the test
Wake up from your sleep that builds like clouds upon your eyes
And win back the life you had that’s now a dream of lies
Turn your back on yourself and if you follow,
You’ll win the lover’s prize
This is a strange, this is a strange affair


6. Shanagolden

(Sean McCarthy)

The cold winds from the mountains are calling soft to me,
The smell of scented heather brings bitter memories:
A wild and lonely eagle up in the summer sky,
Flies high o’er Shanagolden, where my love Willie lies.

I met him in the winter time when snow was on the ground
The Irish hills were peaceful and love was all around.
Scarcely twenty years of age, a young man in his prime.
We were married, darling Willie on the eve of Christmas time.

Do you remember darling, we walked the moonlit road
I held you in my arms, love, I’d never let you go.
Our hands they were entwined, love, all in the pale moonlight,
By the fields of Shanagolden on a lonely winter’s night.

Then came the call to arms, love, the heather was aflame.
Down from the silent mountains, those Saxon strangers came.
I held you in my arms then, my young heart wild with fear,
By the fields by Shanagolden, in the springtime of the year.

You fought them, darling Willie, all through the summer days.
I heard those rifles firing in the mountains far away
I held you in my arms love, your blood ran free and bright,
And you died in Shanagolden, on a lonely summer’s night.

But that was long ago, my love, your son grows fine and tall;
The hills they are at peace again: those Saxon strangers gone.
There’s roses on your grave side, there’s an eagle in the sky ,
By the fields Shanagolden, where my love Willie lies.


7. When Autumn Comes

(Barry Kerr)

We have no white by cooley side clear water of the faith
Where blood it run beneath the sun the legends of our time

When spring time I flew the main to toil upon the sea
With battles fought and fortunes sought I was lost to slavery

Chorus; When autumn comes the salmon runs
From the sea to the mountain glen
It’s then I return to you my love
To rest upon the plain

To a pirate cell my sword it fell 10 year without the sun
But thoughts of you my demon slew and filled each lonely hour


With a summers breeze my spirits raised I flew out from the gage
I made my way by night and day to you across the waves

Chorus x2


8. Cailín Rua

In Limerick town of high renown a traveler passed along
He heard a maid complaining there in a low and mournful song
Saying “Donal won’t you come again? Old Éireann is sure to view
Your Garryowen you love so well and your own dear cailín rua

I remember the day our flag ‘twas rained high over yon green wall
Happy then were you and I when we heard the bugle call
Oh happy each day that passed away until you bid adieu

For ever more to old Éireann’s shore and your own dear cailín rua

And ‘tis I can tell how you won and maimed on Flanders blood stained plains
And how you fought with the Old Brigade while bullets fell like rain
Oh you were brave and Limerick free the day I stood by you
The day you stood mid smoke and blood by the side of your cailín rua

When the traveler heard of these mournful words they pierced him to the core
‘Cause he knew of the lass he loved so well, he had loved in days of yore
He pulled aside the bushes then and when she came in view
He clasped her firmly to his breast his handsome cailin rua


9. Foxy Devil

(Joe Dolan)

When I was young and handy in my prime
In taverns I would sit and bide my time
It’s there I met your company
I’d sit and drink my fill.
It’s there that you took hold of me
I think you’ve got me still.

You’re the foxy devil when you like
You set my mind at ease and then you strike
You set my head a-reeling
You make me shout and sing.
My memory flees, I get no ease
Till I have a little drink.

You’re the crafty rogue and that’s for sure
For your company there is no cure
I’ve squandered all my money
And the best days of my life.
All on your charms, in spite of harm
In spite of peace and strife.

Whiskey in the morning or at night
Gives strength to sing and dance, to love and fight
And so despite misfortune
I’ll take you as you are –
The best of friends and enemies
The best I’ve known by far.


10. Jimmy mo Mhíle Stór

Bliain an taca seo d’imigh uaim rún mo chléibh
Ní thiocfaidh sé abhaile go dtabharfaidh sé cúrsa an tsaoil
Nuair a chífead é rithfead le fuinneamh ró-ard ina chomhair
Agus clúdód le mil é, ‘sé Jimmy mo mhíle stór.

Bíonn mo mháthair is m’athair ag bearradh’s ag bruíon liom féin
Táim giobaithe piocaithe, ciapaithe, cráite mo shaol
Thugas taitneamh don duine úd dob fhinne’s dob aille snó
Is chuaigh sé ar bord loinge, ‘sé Jimmy mo mhíle stór

Rachadsa chun coille agus caithféad an críoch mo shaol
San áit ná bhéidh éinne ag éisteacht le ceol na n-éan
ag bun an chrainn chaorthainn mar a bhfásann ann féar go leor
ag tabhairt taitnimh don duine úd, is é Jimmy mo mhíle stór


11. Games People Play

(Joe South)

Oh the games people play now
Every night and every day now
Never meaning what they say now
Never saying what they mean

And they wile away the hours
In their ivory towers
Till they’re covered up with flowers
In the back of a black limousine

La-da da da da da da
La-da da da da de
Talking ’bout you and me
And the games people play

We make one another cry
Break a heart then we say goodbye
Cross our hearts and we hope to die
That the other was to blame

Neither one will give in
And don’t you know it is a sin
When you think of things that might have been
Well it’s a God damn shame


People walking up to ya
Singing glory hallelulia
And they’re tryin’ to sock it to ya
In the name of the Lord

And they teach you how to meditate
Read your horoscope, conceal your faith
And it’s almost to hell with hate
Come on, brother, get on board


Look around you tell me what you see
What’s happening to you and me
God grant me the serenity
To remember who I am

For you’ve thrown away your sanity

For your pride and your vanity
Turns your back on humanity
And you don’t give a damn



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