A rousing song from the 19th century and referring to a town in Ireland once called Queenstown – now Cobh – which was the grand port of departure for emigrants heading to the US and Canada as late as the 1950s. This song is not an immigration song, however, but one of sailors heading out to do their duty and then returning home!
There is some suggestion that this song is of American origin and refers to the “red light district” in New York City during the Revolutionary War – then called The Holy Ground for it’s proximity to St-Paul’s Church; that the song actually is one of those that came from the early 19th century music halls in NY and popular among the Irish immigrants, thus a tradition of it being an “Irish song”. I’m not sure if this is true for the song, though, and in fact the term Holy Ground seems to be a vernacular phrase applied to favoured spots to a sailor’s mind for generations. We DO know that the song here refers to Queenstown/Cobh, but when YOU sing it, you can think of whatever you bloody well like if it inspires you!
Fare thee well my lovely Dinah a thousand times adieu
For we’re going away from the Holy Ground and the girls we all love true
We will sail the salt seas over and we’ll return for shore
To see again the girls we love and the Holy Ground once more
(Everyone shouts) “Fine girl you are!”
You’re the girl I do ado – re and still I live in hopes to see
The Holy Ground once more (Everyone shouts) “Fine girl you are!”
Oh now the storm is raging and we are far from shore
And the good old ship is tossing about and the rigging is all tore
And the secret of my mind my love you’re the girl I do ado – re
And still I live in hopes to see the Holy Ground once more
(Everyone shouts) “Fine girl you are!” ……………………….CHORUS
And now the storm is over and we are safe and well
We will go into the Griswold Inn and we’ll sit and drink like hell! Like Hell!
We will drink strong ale and porter and make the rafters roar!
And when our money is all spent we will go to sea once more
(Everyone shouts) “Fine girl you are!” ……………………………CHORUS