The Meadowlark
A Montana Band


Sound Clip Samples at

(trad., adapted by Alice Flynn)

I'm bound for New York, to the fair land of freedom,
Farewell to the colleens of Ireland around,
May your hearts be as merry as ever I could wish them,
When far away 'cross the ocean I'm bound.

What matter to me where my bones they be buried,
If in peace and contentment I can spend my life,
Oh the green fields are growing, they daily are blooming,
It's there I will find no misery or strife.

Then pack up your sea-stores and tarry no longer,
Ten dollars a week isn't very bad pay,
With no taxes nor tithes to devour up your wages,
When you're on the green fields of Amerikay.

The sheep run unshorn and the land's gone to rushes,
The handyman's gone and the winders of creels,
Away 'cross the ocean go journeymen tailors,
And the fiddlers who played out the old mountain reels.

And I mind the time when old Ireland was flourishing,
When lots of her tradesmen could work for good pay,
But since our manufacturies have crossed the Atlantic,
It's now we must follow to Amerikay.

And now to conclude and to finish my story,
If ever friendless Irishman could chance on my way,
With the best in the house I will treat him and gladly,
At my home on the green fields of Amerikay.

This song has been recorded as Green Fields of Canada, notably by Paddy Tunney on Folk Legacy Records. When I recorded this song, it was shortly after the events of September 11. I learned the song with my own adaptations. I was thinking of how my grandfather and his family came from Ireland to New York on a ship in the 1880's. I changed the first line to: "I'm bound for New York to the fair land of freedom...".

When my great grandfather Peter Flynn decided to move his family from County Leitrim to a homestead in Minnesota, he knew they would never be able to return. In the detailed memoirs written by my great-aunt Alice Flynn Tucker regarding the emigration, she writes in part, "Peter Flynn loved Ireland with the passion of an Irish patriot, but he saw the futility of revolt and found support in the warnings of their parish priest, Father McGuire: 'Ireland has never gained anything through the shedding of blood' -- words still only too true... We went by train from Glenfarne to Belfast... In Belfast, where we stayed overnight, the hotelkeeper said he would give us the best meal that could be gotten, for it was the last one we would get in dear old Ireland. We took a train to Larne and went up the gang plank from land to vessel, the 'State of Georgia'.... The fog horn blew almost incessantly and the going was slow because of the icebergs... After eleven days on the ship, everyone was glad to see the shores of the U.S.A....We came West on an immigrant train and for a distance along the shores of Lake Erie... When he [father] met us at St. Paul, we didn't recognize him at first for he wore a full beard since he hadn't shaved since he came to Minnesota in the fall of 1880. We all cried at meeting him.... I remember the many meadowlarks and how beautifully they sang -- and there were small white flowers everywhere."