The shores of sweet Benone, song

Eddie Butcher, singing in English
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Ah, kind friends, I’m just come here tonight to sing to all of you
About this place, likewise my love, she lives down near the sea;
She was born in Magilligan with its mountains bold and grand
And the first place that I saw my love it was down upon the Strand.
Through Benevenagh Rock so lofty where the ravens build their nest
I ofttimes took her for a stroll and clasped her to my breast
And just as we’re returning after walking the whole day
Near to sweet Duncrun I pressed her hand and this to her did say,

We will never leave Magilligan, my Mary dear and I
For if we leave Magilligan I’m sure we both would die;
We will comfort one and other while there remains a stone
In that pretty little cottage on the shores of sweet Benone.


On a holiday up to the Bower I took my own astore,
We cut our names out on the bark as lovers done before;
When looking the big red glass the sun was all aglow,
Then turning to the other we beheld the winter snow.
We then retired out to the bench the fresh breeze to inhale
To take a glance from off its heights of Nature’s lovely vale
Which extended far beneath us inbounded by the sea,
I then sat down to rest a while, took Mary on my knee.

Oh, we’ll never leave such scenery, my Mary dear and I &c.

I strayed last Sunday evening with my love to sweet Downhill,
I took her gently by the hand when passing the Limekiln;
We jogged along but sadly until we came in sight
Of  Neilans’s we took a drop for to make our spirits light.
Poor darling she being temperate she drank nought but ginger wine
But I drank something harder for to rouse this heart of mine
And as our thirsty throats were damp we then went out to sea
And startled by the swelling waves I couldn’t help but say,

Oh, we’ll never leave Magilligan &c.

On a holiday down to the Point I took my own wee pet,
The scenes we saw struck us that much I never will forget;
We saw a large and mighty ship as she swiftly glided on
With thousands of fair daughters and sons with hearts so strong;
And as they waved their handkerchiefs the tears from their eyes did fall,
They were parting with Magilligan and heading Donegal.
We both knelt down upon the Strand and prayed most fervently
For God to guide that mighty ship across the deep blue sea.

We will never sail away like that, my Mary dear and I,
For if we would leave Magilligan &.


The author is said to have been ‘Constable Fennell of the Royal Irish Constabulary, Bellarena’ and to have made the song for a concert towards the turn of the century – Henry in notes to A. Benone, ‘river foot’, looks out to sea half-way along Magilligan Strand; there the courting couple of the verses are happily installed in wedlock in the refrain. The song provides a detailed survey of Magilligan scenery (see Map), passing from mountain walks (v. 1–2) to the sands and cliffs of Downhill (3) and thence to the western extremity of the Strand (4), where the conventional theme of attachment to home is reinforced by the view of an emigrant liner.