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The Rambling Irishman

[ Roud 3572 ; Ballad Index GrHo063 ; trad.]

Andy M. Stewart sang the emigration song Ramblin' Irishman in 1997 on his Green Linnet album Donegal Rain. He noted:

The first time I heard this song was back in the Seventies, when the great Dolores Keane sang it with De Dannan. I’ve loved it (and Dolores' singing) ever since. It has a great “go” to it and is unusual amongst many emigration ballads for its emphasis on looking forward with hope to a new life in ‘Amerikay’, rather than just looking back with sadness to what was left behind.

Niall Hanna sang The Rambling Irihsman on his 2017 album Autumn Winds.


Andy M. Stewart sings Ramblin' Irishman

I am a ramblin’ Irishman, it’s Ulster I was born in,
And many’s the happy hour I spent on the banks of sweet Lough Erin.
Ah, but to live poor I could not endure like others of my station,
To Amerikay I sailed away and left this Irish nation.

Chorus (after each verse):
Right tan ta na na, tan ta na na
Right tan ta na nour an nandy
Tan ta na na, tan ta na na
Right tan ta na nour an nandy

The night before I went away, I spent it with my darlin’.
From two o’clock in the afternoon till the break of day next mornin'.
And when that we were goin' for to part, well, we linked in each other’s arms,
And you may be sure, aye, and very, very sure, it’s wounded both our charms.

The very first night I spent on board I dreamt about my Nancy,
I dreamt I held her in my arms and it’s well she pleased my fancy.
Ah, but in the morning when I awoke I found my bosom empty,
And you may be sure, aye, and very, very sure, that I lay discontented.

Ah, but when we reached the other side we were both stout and healthy,
We dropped our anchor in the bay goin' down to Philadelphy.
Let every lass link with her lad, blue jacket and white trousers,
Let every lad link with his lass, blue petticoats and white flouncers.

(repeat first verse)