Skibbereen – lyrics and chords

The Irish song Skibbereen tells the story of a man who has to flee from Ireland during the Great Famine after taking part in a rebellion against British rule.

Skibbereen
Wave of emigration from Ireland
Skibbereen Videos

The lyrics are in the form of a conversation between a father and son.

The chords are presented here in the key of B Minor. Use our chord converter to play the song in other keys.

Skibbereen Lyrics and chords

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Em 
Oh father dear I  
Bm 
oft-times hear you  
Em 
talk of  
F 
Erin´s 
 
 
Bm 
Isle,
 
Her lofty  
G 
scene and  
F#m 
valley 
 
 
G 
green, her  
D 
mountains 
 
 
C 
rude and  
Bm 
wild,
 
They  
G 
say it is a  
F#m 
pretty place where-
D 
in a prince might  
Bm 
dwell,
 
Then  
Em 
why did you a
Bm 
bandon it? The  
Em 
reason to me  
Bm 
tell.

My son I loved our native land with energy and pride
Until a blight came on the land and sheep and cattle died,
The rent and taxes were to pay, I could not them redeem,
And that´s the cruel reason why I left old Skibbereen.

It´s well I do remember that bleak December day,
The landlord and the sheriff came to drive us all away;
They set the roof on fire with their demon yellow spleen,
And that´s another reason why I left old Skibbereen.

Your mother too, God rest her soul, fell on the stony ground
She fainted in her anguish seeing desolation ’round
She never rose but passed away from life to immortal dream
She found a quiet grave, me boy, in dear old Skibbereen.

It´s well I do remember the year of forty-eight
When I arose with Erin´s boys to fight against the fate,
I was hunted through the mountains for a traitor to the Queen
And that´s another reason why I left old Skibbereen.

And you were only two years old and feeble was your frame
I could not leave you with my friends for you bore your father’s name
I wrapped you in my cóta mór in the dead of night unseen
I heaved a sigh and bade goodbye to dear old Skibbereen.

Oh father dear, the day will come when vengeance loud will call,
And we will rise with Erin´s boys and rally one and all,
I´ll be the man to lead the van beneath our flag of green,
And loud and high we´ll raise the cry: ‘Revenge for Skibereen´.

The lyrics to Skibbereen manage to cram in a lot of information about Ireland in a very short space of time.

The song refers to the Great Famine, tenant evictions, the 1848 Rebellion and emigration. The lyrics were written by the Skibbereen poet Patrick Carpenter and set to an old Irish melody.

Final-versionSkibbereen
Wave of emigration from Ireland
Skibbereen Videos
Lyrics and Chords

Skibbereen lyrics and chords print version

[Em]Oh father dear I [Bm]oft-times hear you [Em]talk of [F] Erin´s [Bm]Isle,
Her lofty [G]scene and [F#m]valley [G] green, her [D]mountains [C] rude and [Bm]wild,
They [G]say it is a [F#m]pretty place where-[D]in a prince might [Bm]dwell,
Then [Em]why did you a[Bm]bandon it? The [Em]reason to me [Bm]tell.

My son I loved our native land with energy and pride
Until a blight came on the land and sheep and cattle died,
The rent and taxes were to pay, I could not them redeem,
And that´s the cruel reason why I left old Skibbereen.

It´s well I do remember that bleak December day,
The landlord and the sheriff came to drive us all away;
They set the roof on fire with their demon yellow spleen,
And that´s another reason why I left old Skibbereen.

Your mother too, God rest her soul, fell on the stony ground
She fainted in her anguish seeing desolation ’round
She never rose but passed away from life to immortal dream
She found a quiet grave, me boy, in dear old Skibbereen.

It´s well I do remember the year of forty-eight
When I arose with Erin´s boys to fight against the fate,
I was hunted through the mountains for a traitor to the Queen
And that´s another reason why I left old Skibbereen.

And you were only two years old and feeble was your frame
I could not leave you with my friends for you bore your father’s name
I wrapped you in my cóta mór in the dead of night unseen
I heaved a sigh and bade goodbye to dear old Skibbereen.

Oh father dear, the day will come when vengeance loud will call,
And we will rise with Erin´s boys and rally one and all,
I´ll be the man to lead the van beneath our flag of green,
And loud and high we´ll raise the cry: ‘Revenge for Skibereen´.

Final-versionSkibbereen
Wave of emigration from Ireland
Skibbereen Videos
Lyrics and Chords

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