The Roving Irish Race

In cruel days, by devious ways,
When ostracised and banned,
When Penal Laws gave them good cause,
To leave their native land,
Then for good or ill, from vale and hill
From town and country place,
They went in bands to foreign lands,
The roving Irish race.

They trecked the trail, they hoisted sail,
From Sudan to Newfoundland,
By land and sea they went gallantly,
From Durban to Rio Grande,
In a thirsting quest they hit the West,
To the North with its frozen face,
With no fear or doubt they headed South,
The roving Irish race.

And wher’er they went, their strength they lent,
To native craft and art,
Many rose to fame and their names remain,
In the field where they played their part,
Kelly, O’Brien, Meagher and Ryan,
Barry, McTigure and Grace,
And Kennedy to-day in the U.S.A.,
Marks the roving Irish race.

And to do or dare came the men of prayer,
With their awe-inspiring zeal,
In their noble role for the human soul,
They brought the Lord’s appeal,
Though climates harsh, over jungle marsh,
To each Godless distant place,
They alone, remote, made the whole world note,
The roving Irish race.

Down the flight of years, and in varied spheres,
Through ill-fortune and through fame,
In the peach and strife of this passing life,
They have staked an honoured claim.
And if late or soon men reach the moon,
When they conquer outer space,
If the chance is fair then they’ll take the air,
The roving Irish race.

William O’Donnell

©2013 The estate of William O’Donnell (Chiswick)

The above has been put to music, please see attachment below.

Roving Irish with music 001