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Across the Western Sea(R. Kavana)


We sailed first from Cork to Liverpool to start us on our way

On our long voyage to that land across the Western Sea

From harsh rule and starvation in our poor native home

As Britain sold our precious food for export o’er the foam.


Chorus: We’re bound for the St. Lawrence where The Circular it said

              We’d find liberty and tolerance to earn our daily bread

               Tomorrow mornin’, wind or hale, from Liverpool away

               Out on the ocean we will sail across the Western Sea.


When we arrived on Merseyside we were frightened by the sight

We’d never seen a place this size and slept on the quayside

Rejecting lures of runners to exchange our meager wares

For floorspace in cellars where they’d  rob us of our fares.

After we had paid the fair amount we worked out every hour

To make every single penny count as our funds they were devoured

We lined up along the quay to face the ship’s inspection

We languished there beside the sea trying to avoid infection.


The night before our ship it sailed they let us stay on board

Our pipers and our fiddlers wailed – their music our reward

After so much anxious waiting we were ready to depart

We spent our last hours singing songs to break an exile’s heart.

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