“The Flower of Sweet Strabane”


(The singer recalls meeting "Martha, the Flower of Sweet Strabane.") If he were King of Ireland, he would wish nothing better than her hand; she is the fairest girl he has seen. But she rejects him; he sails to America to start a new life


According to Sam Henry, this was composed in the 1840s -- it could hardly be much earlier given its current contents. Henry was of the opinion that it fell into two families, the first including the introductory verse about meeting Martha, the second beginning with the stanza about being King of Ireland. - RBW

McBride: "[John] McGettigan would have been responsible for its popularity as he recorded it on a record and was therefore taken back from America by returned emigrants in the 1930's and 40's."

The date and master id (GB-5416-1/2) for Hayward's record is provided by Bill Dean-Myatt, MPhil. compiler of the Scottish National Discography. - BS


  • Margaret Barry, "The Flower of Sweet Strabane" (on IRMBarry-Fairs)
  • McBride 32, "The Flower of Street Strabane" (1 text, 1 tune)


  1. SHenry H224a, pp. 390-391, "The Flower of Sweet Strabane" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Tunney-SongsThunder, pp. 58-59, "Martha, the Flower of Sweet Strabane" (1 text)
  4. ADDITIONAL: Richard Hayward, Ireland Calling (Glasgow,n.d.), p. 9, "The Flower of Sweet Strabane" (text, music and reference to Decca F-3374 recorded Dec 31, 1932)
  5. Roud #2745
  6. BI, HHH224a


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1911 (Grieg); the notes in IRMBarry-Fairs says it was published in a Derry newspaper in 1909
Found in: Ireland