The close of an Irish day, song

Eddie Butcher, singing in English
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Oh, tonight in fancy come and take a trip across the sea
And meet your own companions in the land where you long to be;
For it’s stamped upon our memories are the things we used to know
And so just tonight we’ll revel on the thoughts of long ago.

Through little lanes and meadows green we’ll take a trip once more
And meet the laughing boys and girls that we met in days of yore;
For the rivers, roads and moonlight nights have the same old charm still
And the whistler on a summer’s eve comes rambling o’er the hill.

We will take a walk through yon green groves with our young hearts light and gay,
With the golden rays of the setting sun at the close of an Irish day,
For the music fills the hills around re-echo clear and true
As down the path we wander ’mid the fragrant scented dew.

– Oh, don’t you recall, sweetheart of mine, the place where I met you
On a rosy birr [?] of happiness where love’s young dreams came true?
The air was filled with love’s sweet song as I promised to be thine
And then you forever pledged your vow that you would be always mine.

I will never forget when we set sail to cross o’er the ocean blue,
As I stood on deck and watched the mountains swiftly fade from view;
At the last glimpse of old Erin sure our hearts went up in prayer,
Oh, it is God forbid we would e’er forget our dear little isle so fair.

But if ever I return again back to my native shore
And meet those laughing boys and girls that we met in the days of yore
It is there I will settle down for life oh nevermore to stray
While the golden rays of the setting sun makes the close of an Irish day.

[transcription: Lisa Shields]


This recent song in traditional style has been sung all over Ireland, evidently supported by the popular press, though I have noticed only one printed text. In 1961 Charlie sang three of the printed verses while Eddie sang all five together with a sixth which he was already singing in 1954 and which in 1966 and again in 1969 he identified as his own composition. This verse brings the poet’s sentimental musing to a pleasant and less abrupt conclusion. Its imagined picture of a homecoming answers an emotional need in much the same way as the extra text added by Eddie to ‘Carrowclare’ (no 13).