Joe Jencks

When the Moon Rises Over Skibbereen (4:47)

By the banks of the Ilen, the Abbeystrowry graves

10,000 nameless lay

Their faces forgotten, their stories remain

To speak of unbearable pain

Their voices rise up as the wind breaks the silence

The trees all bear witness to shame

A blight comes from nature, starvation from politics

Through history, it’s always the same

When the moon rises over Skibbereen

The most melancholy moon I have seen

Do you think she remembers the sorrow she’s seen

When the moon rises over Skibbereen

Eighteen and forty-five, potatoes first failed

But the people knew hard times before

So they pawned their belongings for food to survive

By late 1846, they were barely alive

Too weak from the fever and hunger and thirst

To properly bury their dead

They were left by the roadside or dropped in the dirt

With hardly a prayer even said

Who takes the blame, for a failure so grand

There’s plenty of guilty to go ‘round

By the time it was known, how bad it would get

Thousands were laid in the ground, in the ground

Some say the workhouse and others the crown

Some say the landlord’s to blame

But by the next world or the new world

Three million were gone, and a county was forever changed

Now the land and her people are thriving today

But there’s a weight on the hills and the glens

And it’s left to the living to remember the famine

And swear to it, never again
© 2019 & 2022, Joe Jencks, Turtle Bear Music ASCAP