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Personal Choice 15

Isle of Innisfree

I've met some folks who say that I'm a dreamer

And I've no doubt there's truth in what they say

But sure a body's bound to be a dreamer

When all the things he loves are far away.

And precious things are dreams onto an exile

They take him o'er the land across the sea

Especially when it happens he's an exile

From that dear lovely Isle of Innisfree.

And when the moonlight peeps across the rooftops

Of this great city wondrous tho' it be

I scarcely feel its wonder or its laughter

I'm once again back home in Innisfree.

I wander o'er green hills thro' dreamy valleys

And find a peace no other land could know

I hear the birds make music fit for angels

And watch the rivers laughing as they flow.

And then into a humble shack I wander

My dear old home, and tenderly behold

The folks I love around the turf fire gathered

On bended knees their rosary is told.

But dreams don't last

Tho' dreams are not forgotten

And soon I'm back to stern reality

But tho' they paved the footways here with gold dust

I still would choose the Isle of Innisfree.

Richard Farrelly

The Isle of Innisfree is a song composed by Richard Farrelly (Irish songwriter, policeman and poet), who wrote both the music and lyrics. Farrelly got the inspiration for Isle of Innisfree, the song for which he is best remembered, while on a bus journey from his native Kells, County Meath to Dublin. The song was published in 1950 by the Peter Maurice Music Publishing Co. Farrelly’s Isle of Innisfree is a haunting melody with lyrics expressing the longing of an Irish emigrant for his native land. When film director John Ford heard the song, he loved it so much that he chose it as the principal theme of his film The Quiet Man. The Isle of Innisfree became a worldwide hit for Bing Crosby in 1952 and continues to feature in the repertoires of many artists.

My father had a beautiful bass/tenor voice and was often invited to sing in church. The Old Rugged Cross was a much-requested hymn. There were many occasions of Sunday evenings at home or in the home of friends around the piano when my father would always be asked to sing. Whatever the repertoire Isle of Innisfree was always included. He always seemed to have an emotional attachment to the song that I was never to learn. He left a request for it be played at the close of his funeral.


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