Posted in Posts and podcasts

The Claddagh Boatman – 1900

Supplement to the Cork Examiner 2nd April, 1900

Galway Hookers at Kinvara
Galway Hookers at Kinvara Photo: EO’D

The Claddagh Boatman

I am a Claddagh boatman bold,
And humble is my calling;
From morn to night, from dark to light,
In Galway Bay I’m trawling;
I care not for the great man’s frown,
I ask not for his pity;
My wants are few, my heart is true;
I sing a boatman’s ditty.

I have a fair and gentle wife,
Her name is Eily Holway;
With many a wile, and joke, and smile,
I won the pride of Galway.
For twenty years, ‘mid hope and fears,
With her I’ve faithful tarried;
Her heart to-night is young and light
As when we first were married.

I have a son, a gallant boy,
Unstained by spot or speckle;
He pulls and hawls,and mends the trawls,
And mind the other tackle.
His mother says the boy, like me,
Loves truth, and hates all blarney;
The neighbours swear in Galway Bay
There’s not the like of Barney.

Thank God, I have another child,
Like Eily, lithe and slender.
She clasps my knee and kisses me
With love so true and tender.
Though ‘oft will rage the howling blast
That threatens men with slaughter,
I ne’er complain of wind or rain
While I’ve my little daughter.

When Sunday brings the hour of rest,
That sweet reward of labours,
We cross the fields to early Mass,
And walk home with the neighbours.
Oh! would the rest of Erin’s sons
Were but like us united;
To swear I’m loath, but, by my oath.
Her name should not be slighted.

Jeremiah J. Dowling, M.D.



B.A., M.A.(Archaeology); Regional Tour Guide; Dip. Radio Media Tech; H.Dip. Computer Science.

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