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Banks of the Lee

For years I have been singing the haunting ballad The Banks of the Lee. First heard it on a Silly Wizard album years ago. Could you please tell me a little history about this beautiful song? When it may have been written and could you possibly elaborate on what it is about. Is it an Irish or a Scottish song?
Since I have only a small knowledge of Irish and Scottish history I am curious where are this man might have gone away to and why? Any other information you might want to share about the history of Banks of the Lee would be truly appreciated.


If it is the song I'm thinking of it was written by "Dominic Behan".
It tells the story of many Irish who seem to be blessed or cursed
by the dream of finding a new and better life in far off lands.
The land referred to in this song is the great prairies of Canada. I hope this is of some help.
Paddy G

Hi Lynne, Hope you're still singing this wonderful song. It was definitely written by Domenic Behan - it's in his song book. My best friend and musical partner, Paddy George Connolly, of 30 years, also sang this song. He was a Corkman, who sadly passed on 2 yrs ago. Paddy learnt it from someone in Cyprus when he was in the RAF,before his move to Australia. I have a recording of him singing it in WA,1976. I also have have a letter from D. Behan giving me permission to change some verses. We changed it from a Canadian setting to an Australian one. The tune I discovered through Packie Manus Byrne (Donegal) is "Home from France" - a "borrowed" English 1st WW tune/song. Packie followed this with a tune "Dangers of Man". I would love the original words of "home" if anyone can help. I'm so pleased to hear someone else has kept beautiful song/air "The Lee" alive. Hope that's of interest. regards, Colin