The Old Woman Speaks

Back to Ballymilligan, it’s there that I would be,
Back to Ballymilligan beside the silver sea,
The wee white houses peeping out to greet the dawn o’ day,
The little trawlers creeping out to fish below the bay.
Oh! if I had me will again it’s there that I would be-
Back in Ballymilligan beside the silver sea.

They’ve paid me passage over – I’ve a gran’child on me knee-
An’ I’m living here in clover in the home they’ve made for me.
But it hasn’t got the charm an’ it hasn’t got the view
Of the little hillside farm that my Danny brought me to.
Oh! to feel the thrill again when he was courting me
Back in Ballymilligan beside the silver sea.

I’ve been in wanamakers, and in all the mighty stores,
That covers many acres and have forty different floors,
But it’s down to Katy Ryan I’d be trav’lin’ in me shoes,
To do me bit o’ buyin’ and to hear the neighbours’ news,
To pay the weeshy bill again, for sugar and for tea –
Back in Ballymilligan beside the silver sea.

No doubt I’d find a change in it, for time goes rollin’ on,
I fancy I’d feel strange in it, the old companions gone;
But there is one that’s sleeping there – the one that I love best,
Some day I may be creeping there to lay me down to rest.
An’ then the old grey hill again will shelter him and me—
Back in Ballymilligan beside the silver sea.

Prose, Poems & Parodies of Percy French, 1980, Helicon Limited, Dublin.


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¹ Thursday 18th July: Strictly Ticket Holders only, Closing date Friday 12th July. Tickets not available on that day.

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The 16th Percy French Festival

Our Great Disconnect

17th, 18th, 19th July 2024

At Castlecoote House

The Percy French Festival 2024 acknowledges the major support of Excel Industries; Whyte’s; CastleAcre; C&F Quadrant Ltd; Davies Group; Hidden Ireland.

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