Mam recited this poem at a number of talent competitons that were held between countymen’s associations – Uncle Pat was on the Wexfordmen’s Association Committee and he suggested Mam for the recitation section. She always loved this poem as she said it reminded her of Granny and her joy returning to Ireland… I think that’s why I nearly always had to hold back the tears when she said it; as well as being very nervous that she would forget the words – I was chief prompter in first row – words up my sleeve!!!!
“The Exiles Return, or Morning on the Irish coast”
D’anam chun De! but there it is—
The dawn on the hills of Ireland !
God’s angels lifting the night’s black veil
From the fair, sweet face of my sireland !
O, Ireland! isn’t grand you look—
Like a bride in her rich adornin !
With all the pent-up love of my heart
I bid you the top of the morning !
This one short hour pays lavishly back
For many a year of mourning;
I’d almost venture another flight,
There’s so much joy in returning—
Watching out for the hallowed shore,
All other attractions scornin;
O, Ireland! don’t you hear me shout?
I bid you the top o’ the morning!
O, kindly, generous Irish land,
So leal and fair and loving!
No wonder the wandering Celt should think
And dream of you in his roving.
The alien home may have gems and gold,
Shadows may never have gloomed it;
But the heart will sigh for the absent land
Where the love-light first illumed it
Ho, ho ! upon Cliodhna’s shelving strand
The surges are grandly beating,
And Kerry is pushing her headlands out
To give us the kindly greeting!
Into the shore the sea- birds fly
On pinions that know no drooping,
And out from the cliffs, with welcomes charged,
A million of waves come trooping.
For thirty Summers, a stoir mo chroidhe,
Those hills I now feast my eyes on
Ne’er met my vision save when they rose
Over memory’s dim horizon.
E’en so, ’twas grand and fair they seemed
In the landscape spread before me;
But dreams are dreams, and my eyes would open
To see a Texas’ sky still o’er me.
And doesn’t old Cobh look charming there
Watching the wild waves’ motion,
Leaning her back up against the hills,
And the tip of her toes in the ocean.
I wonder I don’t hear Shandon‘s bells—
Ah! maybe their chiming’s over,
For it’s many a year since I began
The life of a western rover.
Oh! often upon the Texas plains,
When the day and the chase were over,
My thoughts would fly o’er the weary wave,
And around this coastline hover;
And the prayer would rise that some future day-
All danger and doubting scorning—
I’d help to win for my native land
The light of young Liberty’s morning!
Now fuller and truer the shoreline shows—
Was ever a scene so splendid?
I feel the breath of the Munster breeze,
Thank God that my exile’s ended!
Old scenes, old songs, old friends again,
The vale and the cot I was born in—
O, Ireland, up from my heart of hearts
I bid you the top o’ the mornin!