The Mountains of Mourne

Wid the people here workin’ by day and by night:
They don’t sow potatoes, not barley, nor wheat,
But there’s gangs o’ them diggin’ for gold in the street-
At least, when I axed them, that’s what I was told,

So I just took a hand at this diggin’ for gold,
But for all that I found there, I might as well be
Where the Mountains o’ Mourne sweep down to the sea.
I believe that, when writin’, a wish you expressed
As to how the fine ladies in London were dressed.

Well, if you’ll believe me, when axed to a ball,
They don’t wear a top to their dresses at all!
Oh, I’ve seen them meself, an you could not, in thrath,
Say if they were bound for a ball or a bath-

Don’t be startin’ them fashions now, Mary Machree,
Where the Mountains o’Mourne sweep down to the sea.
I seen England’s King from the top of a ‘bus-
I never knew him, though he means to know us:

And thoughby the Saxon we once were oppressed,
Still, I cheered – God forgive me – I cheered w d the rest.
And now that he’s visited Eirn’s green shore,
We’ll be much better friends than we’ve been he e- tofore,

When we’ve got all we want, we’re as quiet as can be
Where the Mountains o’ Mourne sweep down to the sea.
You remember young Peter O’Loughlin, of course-
Well, here he is now at the head o’ the Force.

I met hin to-day, I was crossin’ the Strand,
And he stopped the whole street wid wan wave of his hand:
And there we stood talking of days that are gone,
While the whole population of London looked on;

But for all the great powers, he’s wishful like me,
To be back where dark Mourne sweeps down to the sea.
There’s beautiful girls here – oh, never mind!
With beautiful shapes Nature never designed,

And lovely complexions, all roses and crame,
But O;Loughlin remarked wid regard to the same:
“That if at theose roses you venture to sip,
The colour might all come away on your lip,”

So I’ll wait for the wild rose that’s waitin’ for me –
Where the Mountains o’ Mourne sweep down to the sea.

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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