John Reilly the Fisherman


One evening fair to take the air, alone I chanced to stray
Down by a silvery winding stream that ran along the way
I overheard a maid complain as the tears fell from her eyes
Saying, ‘My love is on the ocean wide bound for America’

‘John Reilly was my true love’s name, he lived near the town of Bray
He was as fine a young man as ever you did see
My father, he had riches, while Reilly he was poor
But because he was a fisherman, they could not him endure’

Her mother took her by the hand and this to her did say
‘If you be fond of Reilly, you must shun his company
Here is one hundred pounds in gold and it can all be used
Send Reilly to America and you can follow, too’

When Eileen got the money to Reilly she did run
Saying, ‘This very night to take your life my father charged his gun
Here is one hundred pounds in gold my mother sent to you
So you sail for America and I will follow you’

It was early then next morning that young Reilly, he sailed away
But before he’d put his foot on board, these words he then did say
‘Here is a token of true love and we’ll break it now in two
Here is a ring and half my heart until I find out you’

It was three or four months after, she was walking down by the quay
When Reilly, he came back again for to take his love away
The ship was wrecked, all hands were lost and her father grieved full sore
He found Reilly in her arms and both drownded on the shore

He found a letter on her breast and it was wrote with blood
Saying, ‘Cruel was my father who thought he would shoot my love’
Let this now be a warning to all young maidens gay
For to never let the lads they love sail to America


Song Clip



Song Themes

Songs of the sea