“Lovely Ann”


The singer's friends take him to Belfast to sail to America on the Union and leave Ann behind. The ship hits a rock off Rathlin in a storm. All passengers reach shore in boats. He decides to stay home with Ann rather than try to sail to America again.


Bourke in _Shipwrecks of the Irish Coast_ v2, p. 17 lists this as an 1822 wreck without further details; his source is Tommy Cecil, _The Harsh Winds of Rathlin_. Leyden has details from the _News Letter_ and notes that "many of the details in the song contradict those reported in the _News Letter_." - BS

Historical references

  • May 26, 1822 - The _Union_ out of Belfast, bound for St Andrews, New Brunswick, is wrecked on Rathlin Island. The passengers were rescued and returned to Belfast (source: Leyden).


  • Bodleian, Johnson Ballads 5, "Lovely Ann ("When I was young and in my prime"), T. Batchelar (London), 1828-1832; also Harding B 11(2221), Harding B 11(2222), "Lovely Ann"; Harding B 11(4087), "Lovely Anne"
  • Murray, Mu23-y1:032, "Lovely Ann," James Lindsay Junr(Glasgow), 19C


  1. Leyden 34, "Lovely Ann" (1 text)
  2. Logan, pp. 56-58, "Lament for the Loss of the Ship Union" (1 text)
  3. Roud #5804
  4. BI, Leyd034


Alternate titles: “The Loss of the Ship Union”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1826 (chapbook by James Smyth, Belfast, according to Leyden)