Down by the Claren's Mossy Banks (The Fields of Athenry)

WORDS: Tony Waldron/John Flanagan
MUSIC: Trad. Arr. Waldron/Flanagan/ Dennehy

This is a fragment of a longer song - twelve verses in total. I first heard singer, songwriter and huntsman John Flanagan sing it in Dublin almost twenty years ago and found it difficult to believe that it had just been composed. Every area should have its own song of quality and this gentle yet passionate reminiscence is surely that. Tony Waldron comes from Athenry.

Down by the Claren's mossy banks one evening I did stray
To while away the leisure hours before the close of day.
My mind began to wander to the days long long gone by
When I roamed as free as Gaoth na Sí o'er the fields of Athenry.

It was often with our dogs and sticks just at the break of day,
Barefooted o'er the dew clad grass how carelessly we did stray.
To hunt the rabbit and course the hare 'til the moon rose in the sky.
Oh they were the happy days we spent 'round the fields of Athenry.

And we had some famous hunting dogs I'll mention but a few.
There was Speed and Spot and Rebel brave, we had noble Murty too.
But Bruno was the king of all as o'er the sod he'd fly
And 'twas woe betide the hare that strayed 'round the fields of Athenry.

All through the long hot summer days through those green fields we strayed
While a youthful blood coursed in our veins and death seemed far away.
Sure we thought we were immortal that 'twas just the old that died.
Ah but now there's few of the friends I knew round the fields of Athenry.

I remember well young Timmy so wild and without a care
When he fled across the moorland you could see his flaxen hair
Just to watch himself and Rebel it would fill your heart with joy
As they hunted for the rabbits 'round the fields of Athenry.

I recall to mind young Joseph who joined the Irish guards.
He was tall and square with long blonde hair he outran us all by yards.
Yet I think in all his ramblings beneath an alien sky,
In his heart he was home a-hunting round the fields of Athenry.

Ah but now I'm old and my head is grey and I'm bowed with the weight of years.
When I think about those happy times sure my eyes grow dim with tears.
But still I love to ramble where the trout rise to the fly.
Down by the Claren's mossy banks that flows through Athenry.

And soon the Lord will come for me and my final peace be made.
On that hallowed hill above the town 'tis there I will be laid.
And when the final judgement comes with its fanfare from the sky
I will rise and then I will hunt again 'round the fields of Athenry