Skibbereen waltz

Also known as An Sciobairín, The Auld Skibbereen, Little Boat Harbour, Old Skibbereen.

There are 10 recordings of a tune by this name.

Skibbereen has been added to 3 tune sets.

Skibbereen has been added to 36 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Two settings

X: 1
T: Skibbereen
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
B A2 B/A/ G/A2 B | e2 d B2 G | A2~G E2 D | E4 z2 |
d e2 f g2| f e2 B d2 | e d2 B G2 |A B2 z2 z |
d e2 f g2| f e2 d/B/ d2 | e d2 B/A/ G2 |A B2 z2 B|
A2 G A2 B | e2 d B2 G | A2~G E2 D | E4 z2 |
X: 2
T: Skibbereen
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Amin
E2 | E4 D2 | E4 G2 | A4 G2 | E4 C2 | D4 C2 | A,4 A,2 |(A,4 | A,4) A2 |
A4 B2 | c4 B2 | A4 E2 | G4 A2 | E4 D2 | C4 D2 | (E6 | E4) A2 |
A4 B2 | c4 B2 | A4 E2 | G4 A2 | E4 D2 | C4 D2 | (E6 | E4) E2 |
E4 D2 | E4 G2 | A4 G2 | E4 C2 | D4 C2 | A,4 G,2 | (A,6 | A,4) |]

Six comments

Skibbereen

This reel should be played quite slow and with a lot of ornamentation I find it quite sad and haunting I love to play it here are the lyrics to it:
Oh father dear, I oft-times hear you speak of Erin’s isle
Her lofty hills, her valleys green, her mountains rude and wild
They say she is a lovely land wherein a saint might dwell
So why did you abandon her, the reason to me tell.

Oh son, I loved my native land with energy and pride
Till a blight came o’er the praties; my sheep, my cattle died
My rent and taxes went unpaid, I could not them redeem
And that’s the cruel reason why I left old Skibbereen.

Oh well do I remember that bleak December day
The landlord and the sheriff came to take us all away
They set my roof on fire with their cursed English spleen
I heaved a sigh and bade goodbye to dear 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.

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 in answer to the call
All Irish men of freedom stern will rally one and all
I’ll be the man to lead the band beneath the flag of green
And loud and clear we’ll raise the cheer, Revenge for Skibbereen!

A favorite among Irish American ‘rebel’ songsters

The Auld Skibbereen is played and sung in many an Irish bar in and around East Durham, NY on a regular basis. Many Kerry transplants love to hear it.

Calling it a reel stretches conventional nomenclature somewhat - I’d call it an air. Be that as it may, it’s a fine tune.

Yeah but an air wasn’t one of the options so I named it the 4/4 time tune which is a reel

Skibbereen, X:2

This was taken from the Irish Ballad Book (publ. Ossian). The song is so mournful - the Mother dies in the snow when the family is evicted from their cottage and they are forced to set sail for America. The last verse describes how the lad will raise the flag of green and fight for a free Ireland. Song also known as "Old Skibbereen".

Re: Skibbereen

Mark Moloney : in your version of the song words, the Mother dies on the stony ground. I learnt it from an Irish ballad book as "the snowy ground". Not surprising to anyone hearing the song, but both work, don’t they?