1. Spancilhill

From the recording Bent On Rambling

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No list of best-loved Irish songs would be complete without the bittersweet “Spancilhill”. Michael Considine was born around 1850 in Clare’s Spancilhill. He emigrated to Boston in 1870 and lived there for two years before moving to California. He wrote the song just before his death in 1873…


Last night, as I lay dreaming of pleasant days gone by, my mind being bent on rambling to Ireland I did fly. I stepped on board a vision and I followed with a will ’til next I came to anchor at the cross of Spancilhill.

Delighted by the novelty, enchanted by the scene – when in my early boyhood, where oft-times I have been. I thought I hear a murmur and I think I hear it still, it’s the little stream of water that flows by Spancilhill.

To amuse a passing fancy I lay down on the ground, and all my school companions had shortly gathered ’round. When we were home returning we danced with light goodwill to Martin Moynihan’s music at the cross near Spancilhill.

It being the 23rd of June, the day before the fair, when lreland’s sons and daughters and friends assembled there. The young, the old, the brave and the bold came their duty to fulfill at the parish-church at Clooney, just a mile from Spancilhill.

I went to see my neighbors to hear what they might say. The old ones they were dead and gone, the young ones turning grey. I met the tailor Quigley, he’s as bold as ever still – he used to mend my britches when I lived in Spancilhill.

I paid a flying visit to my first and only love. She’s fair as any lily and gentle as a dove. She threw her arms around me crying, Johnny, I love you still. She was Meg, the farmer’s daughter, and the pride of Spancilhill.

I held her close and kissed her as in the days of yore. She said, Johnny you’re only dreaming as many’s the time before. The cock crew in the morning, he crew both loud and shrill, and I awoke in California, many miles from Spancilhill.