Here is the song, as recorded recently by Margo and Declan Nerney, in Ireland.
A SPRIG OF IRISH HEATHER
An Irish mother writing to her son so far away,
Said, "I meant to send a shamrock to wear on Patrick's Day,
But the shamrock is a tender plant. Its beauty soon would fade,
So a spring of Irish heather I'm sending you instead."
CHORUS: Just a sprig of Irish heather
And it's seen all kinds of weather—
It stood the heat of summer and survived the winter's snow—
I'm sending to remind you
Of the friends you left behind you,
In Tyrone, among the bushes, in the days of long ago.
But remember Carradonough and the mass rock standing there,
How we oft-times knelt together and you'd whisp a childish prayer.
Many times since then I've wandered when the evening shadows fell,
So I plucked this heather from the spot where once we used to kneel.
But the years from me are slipping and I know I'm growing old,
By the fireside lonely sitting, when the nights are dark and cold,
But I know your smile would cheer me and make sunshine out of blue,
So come back to me, acushla, when the heather is in bloom.
Just a spring of Irish heather, sent with love from long ago.
If you'd like a tape of the song, please send $2 to:
Bobby O'Brien, 49 McCleary Avenue, Amsterdam, NY 12010-2816