Kilkelly, Ireland, 18 and 60, my dear and loving son John
Your good friend the schoolmaster Pat McNamara’s
So good as to write these words down
Your brothers have all gone to find work in England
The house is so empty and sad
The crop of potatoes is sorely infected
A third to a half of them bad
And your sister Brigid and Patrick O’Donnell
Are going to be married in June
Your mother says not to work on the railroad
And be sure to come on home soon

Kilkelly, Ireland, 18 and 70, dear and loving son John
Hello to your Mrs and to your four children
May they grow healthy and strong
Michael has got in a wee bit of trouble
I guess that he never will learn
Because of the dampness, there’s no turf to speak of
And now we have nothing to burn
And Brigid is happy, you named a child for her
And now she’s got six of her own
You say you found work, but you don’t say what kind
Or when you will be coming home

Kilkelly, Ireland, 18 and 80, dear Michael and John, my sons
I’m sorry to give you the very sad news
That your dear old mother has gone
We buried her down at the church in Kilkelly
Your brothers and Brigid were there
You don’t have to worry, she died very quickly
Remember her in your prayers
And it’s so good to hear that Michael’s returning
With money he’s sure to buy land
For the crop has been poor and the people
Are selling at any price that they can

Kilkelly, Ireland, 18 and 90, my dear and loving son John
I guess that I must be close on to eighty
It’s thirty years since you’re gone
Because of all of the money you send me
I’m still living out on my own
Michael has built himself a fine house
And Brigid’s daughters have grown
Thank you for sending your family picture
They’re lovely young women and men
You say that you might even come for a visit
What joy to see you again

Kilkelly, Ireland, 18 and 92, my dear brother John
I’m sorry that I didn’t write sooner to tell you that father passed on
He was living with Brigid, she says he was cheerful
And healthy right down to the end
You should have seen him play with the grandchildren
Of Pat McNamara, your friend
We buried him alongside of mother
Down at the Kilkelly churchyard
He was a strong and a feisty old man
Considering his life was so hard
It’s funny the way he kept talking about you
He called for you in the end
Why don’t you think about coming to visit
We’d all love to see you again

Mayo 1

Songs of Mayo


Written by Peter Jones.



Song Themes