“Norah Magee”


"Oh Norah, dear Norah, I can't live without you... Come back to old Ireland, the land of our childhood...." The singer laments the absence of Norah, gone over the sea, and hopes she will return someday to Ireland.


Sam Henry observed that this song was "in great vogue" around 1870, but I know of no other field collections. I do find myself strongly reminded of "Barney McCoy" -- but the similarity is at a level far removed from the details of the songs.

Poverty, of course, forced many Irish to migrate to America, and not just in the nineteenth century. It's not usual for the girl to go without the boy, but it's not unknown, either. And men need the chance to sing lost love songs, too. - RBW


  • NLScotland L.C.Fol.70(86b), "Norah Magee," Poet's Box (Dundee), c. 1890


  1. SHenry H778, p. 387, "Norah Magee" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #4718
  3. BI, HHH778


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1938 (Sam Henry collection)
Found in: Ireland