Dear Old Newport Town
(written by Michael Bourke)
Michael Bourke was born in Main Street, Newport in 1879 and died there in 1954. He wrote numerous ballads with various topics – hurling, emigration, local characters, etc. Among his best known are “Ned Nolan’s Ball”, “The Triple Crown”, “Toom Abu”, “The Shamrock Hurling Team”, “The Rose of Keeper Hill”, “The Maid of Lackamore”, “The Boys in Gold and Blue”, “Newport and Ahane”, Miss Fenton’s Ball”, “Martin Gleeson’s Ass”, “The Toomevara Greyhounds,” and “Dear Old Newport Town.”
The latter song became internationally acclaimed in the 1970’s when recorded by Cully man, Denis Ryan and his group “Ryan’s Fancy.
Here by the Mulcaire banks I sit mid the lovely flowers in June
The birds are singing merrily and the meadows in full bloom,
When on my boyhood days I think, the tears come rolling down,
For it’s the morning I must leave you, dear old Newport town
I grow lonely as I think of each lad and comely lass,
Who used to greet me warmly on my way to early mass;
With their winning ways and greetings as they passed me up and down,
My heart will break when my leave I’ll take of dear old Newport town.
Farewell awhile sweet Gortnanoe where I oft times chased the hare,
Through Caher hills and Carrowkeale and Cully’s mountains bare,
And sweet Clare Glens whose flowery dells I oft strolled up and down,
Must I leave those scenes and the girl I love in dear old Newport town.
Tipperary ’s hills and vales farewell, from you I now must part,
I’ll ne’er again roam Cullen’s grove, the thought near breaks my heart,
When I think of the hurling and the dance and Keeper’s summit brown,
And the days I fished in the Turnhole near dear old Newport town.
How lonely is the pigeon’s coo and sad the blackbird’s lay
And loud and high the thrush’s song on a long bright summer’s day,
I’ll sit down and cry my fill where the flood comes rushing down,
And dashes ‘neath the ivy bridge in dear old Newport town.
Adieu, adieu sweet Newport town, once more I’ll say adieu,
Where many’s the pleasant day I spent with comrades loyal and true;
And if God spares me I’ll return to where the Mulcaire waters flow
And when I die my bones will lie in dear old Ballymackeogh.