Kerry Recruit


‘bout four years ago I was digging the land
With me brogues on me feet and me spade in me hand
And says I to myself, such a pity to see
Such a fine strappin’ lad footin’ turf round Tralee
So I buttered me brogues, shook hands with me spade
Went off to the fair like a dashing young blade
When up comes a sergeant, he asks me to list
‘Arra, sergeant a gra, stick a bob in me fist

With me too ra na nya and me too ra na nya
With me too ra na noo ra na noo ra na ny

Well the first thing they gave me it was a red coat
With a wide strap of leather to tie round me throat
They gave me a quare thing; I asked what was that
They told me it was a cockade for me hat
The next thing they gave me, they called it a gun,
With powder and shot and a place for me thumb
Well first she spat fire and then she spat smoke
She gave a great leap and me shoulder near broke

Well the first place they sent me was down by the quay
On board of a warship bound for the Crimea
Three sticks in the middle all rolled round with sheets
She walked on the water without any feet
When at Balaclava, we landed quite soon
Both cold, wet and hungry, we lay on the ground
Next morning for action the bugle did call
And we had a hot breakfast of powder and ball

Well we fought at the Alma, likewise Inkermann
The Russians, they whaled us at the Redan
In scaling the walls there, meself lost an eye
And a big Russian bullet ran off with me thigh
‘Twas there we lay bleeding stretched on the cold ground
With heads, legs and arms, there all scattered around
I thought of me ma and me cleaveens were nigh,
They’d bury me decent and raise a loud cry

A doctor was called and he soon staunched me blood
He gave me an elegant leg made of wood
They gave me a medal and ten pence a day
Contented with Sheilagh, I’ll live on half pay

Kerry 1

Songs of Kerry


Clip – Brendan Moriarity