Rafting Down the Rio

Come sit beside the fire, old friend,
And dream that bamboo stems
Have risen up around us
‘Mid flowers that shine like gems.
And we are back in fairyland,
And thro’ the golden haze
We’re rafting down the Rio –
In the old Jamaica days.

Oh! the old Jamaica days!
Faintly through that leafy maze
Comes the croon of Creole melodies
As down the stream one strays;
In those darkened water ways,
And we’re rafting down the Rio –
In the old Jamaica days.

In those mighty mountain ranges
What memories lie hid,
Through the stricken streets of Kingston
Stalks the ghost of Captain Kidd.
While phantom Henry Morgan
Sets Port Royal in a blaze,
As we’re rafting down the Rio –
In the old Jamaica days.

Oh! the old Jamaica days!
How we used to lie and laze,
And think of people working
As a curious kind of craze;
Wear and tear of brain and muscle
How we wondered if it pays,
As we rafted down the Rio –
In the old Jamaica days.

There’s a terror in the tree tops, and where the shadows brood,
For the wild cat and the scorpion
And the snakes are seeking food.
The alligators blink at us,
From fever-haunted bays,
And the woods knew Devil worship –
In those old Jamaica days.

Oh! the Jamaica days!
When the sun’s mid-winter rays
Have failed to pierce the fogs that fill
Our murky alley ways.
We’ll beside the fire, old friend,
And as the embers blaze,
Go rafting down the Rio –
In the old Jamaica days.

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


Early Booking Special Offer

Each whole day €50. Students €10

  • Three / Four Lectures
  • Afternoon Recital
  • Tea / Coffee / Homemade Cakes

Tickets to the talks taking place in the theatre room in Castlecoote House must be booked in advance, seating is strictly limited per event and we expect these to be fully booked well in advance so please book early to avoid disappointment

Ticket Office:

  • +353 (0)90 666 3794

Don’t miss out, Festival tickets sell out quickly!

We are very sorry to say that we can’t do refunds as they play havoc with the ticketing system. If you can’t make it, we’d rather you gave your tickets to a friend who can.

The 15th Percy French Festival

French Awakenings

19th, 20th, 21st July 2023

At Castlecoote House

Honorary President of the Festival, the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins.

Informed Social & Cultural Discussion of Ireland Today.

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The Percy French Festival 2023 acknowledges the major support of Excel Industries, Dublin; Whyte’s; CastleAcre; C&F Quadrant Ltd; Davies Group; Hidden Ireland.

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