Farewell to Miltown Malbay

WORDS: Tomás Ó hAodha (1866-1935)
MUSIC: Trad. Arr. Tim Dennehy

Listeners may seek and find similarities and differences between this and song number seven, 'Down by the Claren's Mossy Banks'. Tomás Ó hAodha, schoolteacher, playwright, poet and Gaelic scholar, came from Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare and this song was published in his anthology, 'The Hills of Clare'.
I learned it from the singing of the late Tom Lenihan, Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay (1905-1990) whose version can be found in 'The Mount Callan Garland. Songs from the repertoire of Tom Lenihan', collected and edited by Tom Munnelly.

Farewell to Miltown Malbay, a long and sad farewell,
The sorrow in my heart today no words of mine can tell.
I'm parting from my dear old friends, the scenes I fondly love,
May happiness attend them all, and blessings from above.

A bright and pleasant youth was mine among the good folks there.
No kinder hearts can e'er be found than those that throb in Clare,
And oh, how crushed and sad I feel, my tears fall down like rain,
As I look my last upon the place I'll never see again.

From Barr a' Bhaile to the Square I often took a stroll
And rambled out the Ennis Road, where Roberts' was my goal
To play a game of Oughts and Combs and pass the time away,
While listening to traditions old and legends of Mal Bay.

And often too I sought Pat Burke's where we had many a spree,
Where Garrett Barry with his pipes filled our young hearts with glee,
And put young and old up dancing sets upon the kitchen floor.
The joy and fun that I had there I never will have more.

The sea is gemmed with twinkling stars, the sun shines bright today,
The rocky shore is fringed with foam from Spanish Point to Freagh.
The verdant fields go rolling down from Ballard to the sea,
Oh, what a soul-entrancing sight is spread out there for me!

The Angelus it's merrily a-ringing in the air,
Men bare their heads and silently to Mary breathe a prayer.
If e'er I find this act devout beyond the ocean foam
'Twill bring to memory my last day I spent in my old home.

Farewell to Miltown Malbay, farewell to one and all,
The sights I've seen, the joys I've had, I often will recall.
For with my heart I love the spot where I was born and nursed
And where, upon those sun-kissed flags, I crawled about at first.