The mountains of Mourne, song

Frankie Nash & Stephanie Nash
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The mountains of Mourne, song (Oh Mary this London's a wonderful sight ...)

William Percy French (1854–1920) of Co. Roscommon wrote the lyrics to this song around 1896 on a postcard that he then sent to music-hall composer William Houston Collison. The song tells the story of an Irishman working away from home in London, recounting both the strange things he sees and his longing to be home.

Newfoundland song scholar Anna Kearney Guigné writes: “The song’s mass appeal may be attributed more to modern media than tradition. The song was popularized by the Australian tenor Peter Dawson (1882–1961)” (2016:274). Dawson’s recordings apparently were in circulation in at least some Newfoundland localities. 

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Frankie Nash’s passing, his granddaughter, Stephanie Nash, used a field recording of Frankie singing “The Mountains of Mourne” in his kitchen as the basis of her version of the song. Her version, recorded in 2016, overdubs the original field recording.


With thanks to Stephanie Nash for granting permission to include her recording.