Also known as “MOLLY DURKIN” This song about the Irish emigration was made popular in the late 19th century; it is hopeful and upbeat as many of the emigrant songs of the times were, as stories of gold to be found in the streets of America were common. The reference to “many a house besides” is probably a reference to a (ahem!) “cat house”. You can listen to The Dubliner’s version of the song here.
Goodbye, Muirsheen Durkin
In the days I went courtin’, I was never tired resortin’
To the alehouse and the playhouse or many a house beside.
I told me brother Seamus I’d go off and go right famous,
And before I’d return again I’d roam the world wide.
So good-bye Muirsheen Durkin, I’m sick and tired of working,
No more I’ll dig the praties, no longer I’ll be fooled.
For as sure as me name is Carney, I’ll be off to Californey,
where instead of diggin’ praties, I’ll be diggin’ lumps of gold.
I’ve courted girls in Blarney, in Kanturk and in Killarney,
In Passage and in Queenstown, that is the Cobh of Cork.
Good-bye to all this pleasure, for I’m going to take me leisure,
And the next time you will hear from me
Will be a letter from New York.
Good-bye to all the girls at home, I’m sailing far across the foam
To try to make me fortune in far Amerikay,
For there’s gold and money plenty for the poor and gentry,
And when I come back again I never more will stray.
Notes: “Muirsheen” is an often used pet name for Maurice, Mary, or Maureen, Durkin probably being the dedicatee’s last name. This tune is often sung in the US as “Good-bye, Molly Durkin”, and the singer’s name is sometimes recorded as “Kearney”.