Kilkelly Ireland

Peter Jones

Kilkelly Ireland 1860, my dear and loving son John
You good friend the schoolmaster Pat McNamara
So kind to write these words down
And your brothers have all gone to find work in England
The house is so lonely and sad
The crop of potatoes is sorely effected
The third to a half of them bad
And your sister Bridget and Patrick O’Donald
Are going to be married in June
Mother says not to work on the railroad
Bs sure to come on home soon

Kilkelly Ireland 1870, my dear and loving son John
Hello to your missus and to your four children
And may they grow healthy and strong
And Michael has got in a wee bit of trouble
I suppose that he never will learn
Because of the dampness, there’s no turf to speak of
And so we have nothing to burn
And Bridget she’s happy to name the child for them
Although she has six of her own
You say you’ve found work but you don’t say what kind
When will you come on home

Kilkelly Ireland 1880, Dear Michael and John my sons
I’m Sorry to give you the very sad news
That your dear old mother passed on
And we buried her down at the church in Kilkelly
Your brothers and Bridget were there
You don’t have to worry, she died very peaceful
Remember her in your prayers
And it’s good to hear that Michael’s returning
With money he’s sure to buy land
The crops have all failed and people are selling
For any price that they can

Kilkelly Ireland 1890 my dear and loving son John
I suppose that I must be close on to eighty
It’s thirty years since you’ve gone
And Because of all the money you sent me
I’m still living out on my own
Michael has built himself a fine house
And Bridget daughters have grown
And thank you for sending the family picture
Such lovely young women and men
They say that you might even come for a visit
What a joy to see you again

Kilkelly Ireland 1892, my dear brother John
I’m sorry I didn’t write sooner to tell you
The dear old father has gone
He was living with Bridget, they say he was cheerful
And happy right up to the end
I wish you had seen him play with the grandchildren
Of Pat McNamara your friend
And we buried him down alongside of mother
Down at Kilkelly churchyard
He was a strong and a feisty old man
Considering his life was so hard
And it’s funny the way he kept asking about you
He called for you at the end
Why don’t you think about coming to visit?
We’d all love to see you again

This song is based on some letters that were found in an attic in the US.