“Castle Gardens (I)”


The singer, "convicted and... forced to go," leaves Ireland for America. He yearns for Ireland "where the dear little shamrock grows." He would return for his sweetheart, but she dies (of grief?) and is buried by the singer's father


Meredith and Anderson connect this with "Covent Gardens" (properly "The Apprentice Boy," Laws M12), but the plot (at least of their first version), although it has some similarities, is distinct. - RBW

Both Tunney-SongsThunder and Meredith/Anderson pp. 149-150 have the singer "evicted" by a landlord for owed back rent, rather than "convicted" as in Meredith/Anderson p. 54. While Meredith/Anderson p. 54 might lead you to believe that it is the singer's sweetheart that died and was buried by his father's side, Meredith/Anderson pp. 149-150 hints and Tunney-SongsThunder confirms that it is the singer's mother that died and was so buried.

Tunney-SongsThunder includes the lines .".. the wind is blowing fair Full sail for Castlegarden"; in both Meredith/Anderson versions the line is "We're/I'm bound for Castle Gardens...." Castle Garden, before and again "Castle Clinton" at The Battery in New York, was entry point for immigrants between 1845 and 1890 [see, for example, "Castle Garden, New York" transcribed from _The Illustrated American_ of March 1, 1890 at Norway-Heritage site]. One problem with using "Castle Garden" for dating is that the name may have remained synonymous with "entry point for New York" long after the building became the New York Aquarium. In my own family I heard about "Kesselgarten" sixty years after it closed although my grandfather arrived in New York in 1903.

For a similar Castle Garden(s) reference see the notes to "Good bye Mursheen Durkin." - BS

Cross references


  1. Tunney-SongsThunder, pp. 81-82, "Where the Green Shamrock Grows" (1 text)
  2. Meredith/Anderson, pp. 54, 149-150, "Castle Gardens" (1 text plus a fragment, 1 tune)
  3. Roud #16061
  4. BI, MA054


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1954
Found in: Australia