Page 149
In this song a father tells his son about the Irish famine, being evicted from their home, and the need to flee as a result of the Young Irelander Rebellion (also known as the Famine Rebellion) of 1848.

The first known publication of the song was in a 19th-century publication, The Irish Singer's Own Book (Noonan, Boston, 1880), where the song was attributed to Patrick Carpenter, a poet and native of Skibbereen

cóta mór = great coat
capo 2


by Patrick Carpenter
[start on E D C D]

O, [Dm] father dear I [Am] oftimes hear you [G] talk of [F] Erin's [Am] Isle
Her lofty scene, and valleys green, her [Dm] mountains rude and [Am] wild
They say it is a pretty place where- [G] in a prince might [Em] dwell
So [Dm] why did you a- [Am] bandon it? the [G] reason [F] to me [Am] tell.

My son, I loved my native land with energy and pride
Till a blight came on my crops and all my sheep and cattle died
The rents and taxes were to pay and I could not them redeem
And that's the cruel reason why I left old Skibbereen

'Tis well I do remember that bleak December day
When the landlord and the Sheriff came to drive us all away
They set the roof on fire with their cursed English 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 anguishing seeing the desolation round
She never rose, but passed away from life to immortal dreams
And that's another reason why I left old Skibbereen

Its well I do remember the year of forty-eight.
I rose in vengeance with the boys to battle again' fate.
We were hunted through the mountains as traitors to the queen,
And that, my boy, is the reason why I left old Skibbereen.

Oh you were only two years old and feeble was your frame
I could not leave you with my friends for you bore your father's name
So I wrapped you in my cóta mór at the dead of night unseen
And I heaved a sigh and I said goodbye to dear old Skibbereen

well father dear, the day will come when vengeance loud will call
And we will rise with Erin's boys and rally one and all
I'll be the man to lead the van beneath our flag of green
And loud and high we'll raise the cry, "Revenge for Skibbereen!"