“Farewell to Slieve Gallen”


The singer writes to warn Irishmen against emigrating to America. He arrived in the U.S. strong and ready to work, but no work was to be had. Forced into the army, he was disabled and wishes he were back in Ireland


The singer is ashamed "to think I'd backed the Stars and Stripes against the sons of Spain." I assume this is because the Spanish periodically tried to help the Irish against the English (for their own purposes, of course).

The reference to service, and being wounded, on a battleship "when the Spanish fleet was captured and sent to Ego Bay" makes little sense; the Spanish fleet was completely destroyed at Santiago, and the Americans suffered one killed and one injured. Nor can this be referred to the Battle of Manila Bay; there were no soldiers along, and, again, the Spanish fleet was destroyed; the Americans suffered eight casualties, all injuries.

Presumably the author conflated an amphibious landing with one of the many land battles, where American losses were much higher, due mostly to the complete ineptitude of the American generals and staff. - RBW

Historical references

  • Feb 15, 1898 - destruction of the U. S. S. Maine
  • Apr 19, 1898 - Although the Spanish have agreed to all American demands, including peace with the Cuban rebels, the U. S. issues a sort of preliminary declaration of war, listing U. S. goals
  • Apr 24, 1898 - Spain declares war on the U. S.; the U. S. will next day do the same, backdating it to April 21
  • May 19, 1898 - The Spanish fleet enters Santiago Bay
  • July 2, 1898 - The Spanish fleet at Santiago, acting under orders from Madrid, sails out into the teeth of the American fleet and is destroyed
  • July 10, 1898 - U. S. troops attack Santiago
  • July 17, 1898 - U. S. troops capture Santiago

Cross references


  1. SHenry H795, p. 198, "Farewell to Slieve Gallen" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Morton-Ulster 27, "Wild Slieve Gallion Braes" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Roud #2888
  4. BI, HHH795


Alternate titles: “Wild Slieve Gallon Braes”
Author: John Canavan
Earliest date: 1939 (Sam Henry collection)
Found in: Ireland