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The Little Thatched Cabin

[ Roud 8121 ; Henry H91 ; Ballad Index HHH091 ; trad.]

‘Big John’ Maguire (1914-2000) sang The Neatly Thatched Cabin in his home in Newtownbutler, Co. Fermanagh, on August 10, 1980 to Keith Summers. This recording was included in 1998 on the Topic anthology of working men and women in song, There Is a Man Upon the Farm (The Voice of the People Volume 20) and in 2014, as The Little Thatched Cabin, on the Musical Tradition anthology of traditional songs from around Lough Erne's shore collected by Keith Summers in 1977-1983, I Pray You Pay Attention.

Maggie Boyle sang Little Thatched Cabin in 1998 on her CD Gweebarra. She commented in her liner notes:

Dad used to sing this. Some songs are so close to home that they are impossible to sing at first, due to the urge to cry! Sentimental but true, cutting turf in Legga, near Ballinamuck, Co. Longford (my mother's home) is a dear and abiding childhood memory.

Lyrics

John Maguire sings The Little Thatched Cabin

When I remember the neatly thatched cabin
Where I first saw the light on a bright early morn
It stands on the hillside in view of yon village
And under that same roof my father was born.

Now I care not for ever through life I may wander
I don't give one farthing for palace nor hall
No home to me is as dear as the old home
I have found it to be the best home of them all.

When I grew to manhood I started life's journey
In hopes that my fortune might rise and not fall
One thing I learned and I never forgot it
Was to love the thatched cabin, best home of them all.

Now my father he's gone and my mother is likewise,
They are both laid to slumber behind yon church wall.
But I'm left here alone without sister or brother
In that neatly thatched cabin, best home of them all.

Now I care not for ever through life I may wander
I don't give one farthing for palace nor hall
No home to me is as dear as the old home
I have found it to be the best home of them all.

Maggie Boyle sings Little Thatched Cabin

It's well I remember the little thatched cabin
Where I first saw the light on a bright harvest morn
It stands on the hillside in view of the valley
It's the little thatched home where my father was born.

Chorus:
I care not wherever through life I may wander
I don't give one farthing for castle or hall
There's no place that's dearer to me than the old home
I find them to be the best homes of them all.

I ploughed in the field and I mowed in the meadow
I cut turf on the border a bright summer's day
While the lark o'er the moorland her sweet voice was calling
To make sure and drive all grief and trouble away.

(Chorus)

Farewell my dear mother and you my fond father
At last you're all sleeping behind the church wall
But I hope that some day we will all be together
And that happy we'll be in the glory of God

Oh I'm growing old and misfortune lies with me
When I think on my childhood it grieves me with pain
I would give all the gold that there is in this wide world
To be back in that little thatched cabin again.

(Chorus)