The Holy Ground

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For other uses, see Holy Ground.

The Holy Ground is a local place name in the town of Cobh, County Cork, on the southern coast of Ireland. The song "The Holy Ground" (see below) is named after this area. The name is ironic, the piece of ground known as the Holy Ground was the town's red-light district in the 19th century when the town, then known as Queenstown, was a major stopping point for ships crossing the Atlantic and had a large throughput of seafarers.[citation needed] There were plans to build a new yachting marina on the foreshore in front of the Holy Ground, but this is now uncertain.

"The Holy Ground" is a traditional Irish folk song, performed by The Clancy Brothers, The Dubliners, The Jolly Rogers, the Poxy Boggards, the Brobdingnagian Bards, Mary Black, Pete Seeger, The Tossers, and Beatnik Turtle, among others.

John Loesberg[1] points out that although the song is now closely associated with Cobh in Co Cork, it probably originated in Wales where it was known as Old Swansea Town Once More, or sometimes as The Lass of Swansea Town.

Robert Gogan[2] describes how the song was a sea shanty sung by sailors as a mental diversion as they carried out various tasks at sea such as raising the anchor.

Lyrics (traditional)[edit]

Fare thee well, my lovely Dinah, a thousand times adieu.
We are bound away from the Holy Ground and the girls we love so true.
We'll sail the salt seas over and we'll return once more,
And still I live in hope to see the Holy Ground once more.

(chorus)
(Shouted) Fine girl you are!
(Sung) You're the girl that I adore. And still I live in hope to see the Holy Ground once more.
(Shouted) Fine girl you are!

Now when we're out a-sailing and you are far behind
Fine letters will I write to you with the secrets of my mind,
The secrets of my mind, my girl, you're the girl that I adore,
And still I live in hope to see the Holy Ground once more.

[chorus]

Oh now the storm is raging and we are far from shore;
The poor old ship she's sinking fast and the riggings they are tore.
The night is dark and dreary, we can scarcely see the moon,
But still I live in hope to see the Holy Ground once more.

[chorus]

It's now the storm is over and we are safe on shore
We'll drink a toast to the Holy Ground and the girls that we adore.
We'll drink strong ale and porter and we'll make the taproom roar,
And when our money is all spent we'll go to sea once more.

[chorus]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Folksongs & Ballads Popular in Ireland, Vol 2, Pub Ossian,Cork, 1980
  2. ^ 50 Great Irish Drinking Songs, Music Ireland, 2005

External links[edit]