Probably the second most prolific theme for songs in Ireland - not without good cause.
Best collection of them is Wright's 'Irish Songs and Ballads of Emigration'
My own particular favourite is one particularly popular here in the West of Ireland - a bit of a sting in the tail.
SEVEN OF OUR IRISHMEN,
All you that love the shamrock green, attend both young and old,
I feel it is my duty these lines for to unfold
Concerning these young emigrants that lately sailed away
To seek a better livelyhood all in Americay,
On the fourteenth day of April our gallant ship set sail
With fifty-five young Irishmen, true sons of Granuale.
They landed safe all in New York on the fourteenth day of May
To meet their friends and relatives all in Americay,
Some of them made aquaintences as soon as they did land,
With flowing bumpers drank a health to poor old Paddy's land.
Though many of them they had no friends but their hearts were stout and bold,
And by these cursed Yankees they would not be controlled.
As seven of our Irish boys were going down Georges Street
One of these Yankee gentlemen they happened for to meet,
He promised them employment in a brickyard near the town,
To which they were conducted, their names for to put down.
He brought them to an alehouse were he called for drinks galore,
And sure, such entertainment they never got before,
For when he thought he had them drunk he this to them did say,
"You're enlisted now as soldiers to defend our countery,
They looked at one another and this to him did say,
"It's not to 'list that we did come in to Americay,
But to labour for a livelyhood as many have done before
That we have emigrated from that lovely shamrock shore,"
Twelve Yankees then in soldiers dress they came without delay
And said, "Me boys, you must prepare with us to come away,
For this is our Yankee officer who's enlisted you complete,
You need not strive for to resist, we will no longer wait."
Their Irish blood began to boil, one of these heroes said,
"We only have one life to lose, therefore we're not afraid,
Although we be from Ireland, today we'll let you see,
We'll die like sons of Granuale or keep our liberty,"
Our Irish boys got to their feet which made the Yankees frown.
As fast as they could strike a blow they knocked a soldier down,
The officer and all his men lay bleeding in their gore,
They proved themselves St. Patrick's men throughout Columbia's shore,
You'd think it was a slaughterhouse there where those Yankees lay,
The officer and all his men they all did run away,
With bloody heads and broken bones they minded evermore
That sprig of sweet shilleleigh that was brought from Erin's shore,
Now to conclude and finish, let old and young unite
And offer up a fervent prayer both morning noon and night
In hope the lord he will protect out sons that's far away
And keep them from all danger when they're in Americay,
ALTERNATIVE LAST VERSE
Now to conclude and finish' let irishmen unite,
And together hand in hand, both morning noon and night
Let's hope they're free from danger when they are far away
And they will earn good living when they're in Americay.