Groves of Kilteevan


It’s hard to bid farewell to the land of my fathers
Endeared to my spirit by many a tie
And the feelings of friendship which memory gathers
And sorrow’s mementoes of days long gone by
When we carelessly rambled alone by the wild wood
Blithe as the song birds that carol at even’
But now I must leave the dear scenes of my childhood
Forever farewell to the Groves of Kilteevan

Though far, far away o’er the western ocean
Where broad rivers role down their tides to the main
I will still think on thee with a patriot’s devotion
In dreams I’ll behold thee Kilteevan again
For the sun, it will rise in the glories of morn’
And set in the dark waning splendour at even’
But I’ll never more see it’s bright beams adorn
The scenes of my childhood, the Groves of Kilteevan

So far, far away still Kilteevan I’ll cherish
One thought in my mind that time will not efface
The years rolling onward, my fond heart will nourish
And that is the thought of my own native place
For I’m crossing the seas and I ne’er shall return
Strange thoughts cloud my mind like the dark groves at even’
But still in whatever strange land I’ll sojourn
My heart will come back to the Groves of Kilteevan

Kilteevan farewell and farewell forever
Farewell to my friends and farewell to my foes
My friends to preserve, I did always endeavour
And yet I know not why I e’er should have foes
Then farewell to the boys of Kilteevan
Kilmaine, Killenvoy, and St. John’s
And likewise to the girls around the same borders
Oh, that their days may be happy and long


Written by a schoolteacher, James Hickey who came from Cloonara, a few miles outside Roscommon town. Hickey resigned his teaching post in 1868 and emigrated to America soon afterwards, leaving his wife, Anne and his family behind in Kilteevan.



Song Themes