The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #36581   Message #3596368
Posted By: GUEST,michaelr
28-Jan-14 - 06:47 PM
Thread Name: Lyr/Chords Req: Gweebarra Shore (Maggie Boyle)
I got the lyrics (and the explanatory note that follows) some time back from Maggie herself, who posts here occasionally and was kind enough to respond to my request.


Photograph, (all) faded in sepia
Look at that, there's your grandparents
And what about that crew
I'll tell you a story, and maybe some more
About Derryloughan on the Gweebarra shore

There's Maeve O'Neill, she sits in an empty house
Paper sheets piled on her mantelpiece,
Letters from her sons
All in America, gone to the war
None would come back to the Gweebarra shore.

Big Con the Jar
Called in to pay us his best regards
Said he'd just finished the Kinlochleven dam
In moleskins and corduroys off for the night
Away into Glenties to look for a fight

Twas hard enough just makin' a living
But if you were stuck, Fletcher the prophet
would fix your window pane
And tell of the wonders he'd seen the world o'er
And why he'd not fight in this war to end wars

And Annie Friel, she didn't think much of theology
She put it like this
Ah now, that's a mighty plan
But what of that Canon who says we can't dance?
Him with his toilet brought over from France!

And the music man old Johnny would come with his pots and pans
And play with a beauty to cut your heart away
And one then another would take to the fore
And sing the old songs of the Gweebarra shore

And Maeve O'Neill still sits in the empty house
Paper sheets piled high on her mantelpiece
Letters from her sons
All in America, gone to the war
Not one came back to the Gweebarra shore

In '83 I saw it all planted
With forestry, the house all grown over
Now all is sad romance
Look at the photograph, see it once more
That's Derryloughan on the Gweebarra shore.

Just a note about the characters..Con the jar represents the lads whose only employment option was to go over to Scotland and work as a navvy - in this case, on the "new" hydro-electric dam - an unbelievably brutalising place. Fletcher the Prophet was one of the numerous english army officer deserters who had found their way to the west coast of Ireland. Johnny was John Doherty, the tinker-fiddler of Donegal who became a legend in his own lifetime. Canon McFadden was universally loathed by his community for opposing any potential fun and entertainment!

Happily, since the writing of this song, Derryloughan has been re-inhabited to some extent. I spoke (recently) to the couple who now live in my grandparents old house. Plus the schoolhouse is now a family home. - MB