Sarah Makem

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Sarah Makem (18 October 1900 – 20 April 1983) a native of Keady, County Armagh, Northern Ireland, was a traditional Irish singer. She was the wife of fiddler Peter Makem, mother of musicians Tommy Makem and Jack Makem, and grandmother of musicians Shane Makem, Conor Makem and Rory Makem. Sarah Makem and her cousin, Annie Jane Kelly, were members of the Singing Greenes of Keady.

In the 1950s, song collectors from the United States toured Ireland recording its musical heritage. Makem was visited and recorded by, among others, Diane Guggenheim Hamilton, Jean Ritchie, Peter Kennedy and Sean O'Boyle. Her rendition of "As I Roved Out" opened the BBC Radio folk music programme of the same name in the 1950s.


Note: Footnotes take you to lyrics, but not necessarily to the recordings of Sarah Makem, as many of the songs are traditional.

Makem collected, performed and/or composed, and handed down hundreds of songs including:

  • "As I Roved Out"[1]
  • "Barbara Allen"[2]
  • "Barney Mavourneen"
  • "Blow Ye Winds"[3]
  • "The Butcher Boy"[4]
  • "Caroline and her Young Sailor Bold"[5]
  • "The Cobbler"[6]
  • "The Cot in the Corner"
  • "Derry Gaol"[7]
  • "Dobbin's Flowery Vale"
  • "The Factory Girl"
  • "Farewell My Love, Remember Me"
  • "I Courted a Wee Girl"[8]
  • "John Mitchel"
  • "The Jolly Thresher"
  • "Little Beggarman"[9]
  • "Magpie's Nest"
  • "A Man in Love He Feels No Cold"
  • "Mary of Kilmore"
  • "May Morning Dew"[10]
  • "Month of January" ("The Forsaken Mother & Child")[11]
  • "On the Banks of Red Roses"
  • "Our Ship She's Ready to Bear Away"
  • "Robert Burns and his Highland Mary"
  • "A Servant Maid in her Father's Garden"
  • "Willie Reilly"
  • "The Wind That Shakes the Barley"[12]


Sarah Makem has been recorded extensively, and is included on the following recordings:

  • Ulster Ballad Singer (1967) - Sarah Makem
  • The Voice of the People: Sarah Makem: The Heart Is True (2012) - Sarah Makem
  • Field Trip (1954) - Jean Ritchie
  • The Lark in the Morning - Liam Clancy and others (1956)
  • Best of the Clancy Brothers (1994) - The Clancy Brothers
  • Sea Songs & Shanties (1994) - Various Artists
  • Traditional Songs of Ireland (1995) - Various Artists
  • Ancient Celtic Roots (1996) - Various Artists
  • Celtic Mouth Music (1997) - Various Artists
  • Irish Voices: The Best in Traditional Singing (1997) - Various Artists
  • Celtic Reflections (1998) - Various Artists
  • Celtic Voices (1999) - Various Artists
  • Who's That at My Bedroom Window (1999) - Various Artists
  • The Voice of the People, Vol. 6: Come Let Us Buy the License (1999) - Various Artists
  • The Voice of the People Vol. 8: A Story I’m Just About to Tell (1999) - Various Artists
  • The Voice of the People Vol. 17: It Fell on a Day a Bonny Summer Day (1999) - Various Artists
  • The Voice of the People: A Selection (2000) - Various Artists


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ [2][dead link]
  3. ^ [3][dead link]
  4. ^ [4][dead link]
  5. ^ "Lyrics: Caroline And Her Young Sailor Bold". Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  6. ^ [5][dead link]
  7. ^ [6][dead link]
  8. ^ "Lyrics: I Courted A Wee Girl". Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  9. ^ [7][dead link]
  10. ^ "lyrics: MAY MORNING DEW". Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  11. ^ [8][dead link]
  12. ^ [9][dead link]

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