My Song Book

Back Home in Derry

  • (Gordon Lightfoot / Bobby Sands)

    In eighteen-o-three we sailed out to sea

    Out from the sweet town of Derry

    For Australia bound, if we didn’t all drown

    The marks of our fetters we carried

    In our rusty iron chains we cried for our weans

    Our good women we left in sorrow

    As the main sails unfurled, our curses we hurled

    On the English and thoughts of tomorrow

    At the mouth of the Foyle, bade farewell to the soil

    As down below decks we were lying

    O’Doherty screamed, woken out of a dream

    By a vision of bold Robert dying

    The sun burnt cruel as we dished out the gruel

    Dan O’Conner was down with a fever

    Sixty rebels today, bound for Botany Bay

    How many will reach their receiver

    Oh oh oh oh oh I wish I was back home in Derry

    Oh oh oh oh oh I wish I was back home in Derry

    I cursed them to hell as our bow fought the swell

    Our ship danced like a moth in the firelight

    White horses rode high as the devil passed by

    Taking souls to Hades by twilight

    Five weeks out to sea, we were now forty-three

    We buried our comrades each morning

    In our own slime we were lost in the time

    Endless night without dawning

    Oh oh oh oh oh I wish I was back home in Derry

    Oh oh oh oh oh I wish I was back home in Derry

    Van Diemen’s Land is a hell for a man

    To end out his whole life in slavery

    Where the climate is raw and a gun makes the law

    Neither wind nor rain care for bravery

    Twenty years have gone by, I have ended my bond

    My comrades’ ghosts walk beside me

    A rebel I came, I’m still the same

    On the cold winds of night you will find me

    Oh oh oh oh oh I wish I was back home in Derry

    Oh oh oh oh oh I wish I was back home in Derry

    As sung by Christy Moore

    Tune: The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

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