O, Father dear, I ofttimes heard you talk of Erin's Isle,
Her valleys green, her lofty scene, her mountains rude and wild;
You said it was a pleasant place wherein a prince might dwell,
Why have you then forsaken her, the reason to me tell?
My son, I loved our native land with energy and pride
Until a blight fell on the land and sheep and cattle died,
The rents and taxes were to pay, I could not them redeem,
And that's the cruel reason why I left Old Skibbereen.
It's well I do remember on a bleak November's day,
The landlord and his agent came to drive us all away;
He set my house on fire with his demon yellow spleen
And that's another reason why I left Old Skibbereen.
Your mother, too, God rest her soul, lay on the snowy ground,
She fainted in her anguish of the desolation round.
She never rose, but went her way from life to death's long dream,
And found a quiet grave, my boy, in lovely Skibbereen.
It's well I do remember the year of forty-eight,
When we arose with Erin's boys to fight against our fate;
I was hunted through the mountains as a traitor to the Queen,
And that's another reason that I left Old Skibbereen.
Oh father dear, the day will come when vengeance loud will call
And we'll arise with Erin's boys and rally one and all,
I'll be tbe man to lead the van, beneath our flag of green,
And loud and high we'll raise the cry," Revenge for Skibbereen!"
Recorded by the Dubliners