Lyrics: Hannah McKay

Hannah McKay (also known as The Pride of Artikelly)


Thomas learned verses 3,4 & 6  (and tune) from his family. In 2014 he learnt this fuller text from the Sam Henry Collection Songs of the People.  Sam Henry collected songs contributed by singers 1923-1939 to The Northern Constitution newspaper, Coleraine, Northern Ireland. Edited Gale Huntington, published 1990, University of Georgia Press.


Adieu lovely Erin of sweet delectation

Likewise to Magilligan where I did dwell

The ship bells are warning for quick emigration

I’ll bid Grania’s heroes and daughters farewell

But how can I think for to leave this grand island

Where love, peace and friendship beam bright in each eye

Where young men are merry and maids are smiling

And sympathy’s glow in each bosom is nigh?


Artikelly I leave and its rural plantation

Where the blackbird and linnet enchant every tree

My heart oftime beats with increased palpitation

As the thrushes in chorus sound sweet harmony

Where Flora’s gay mantle decks these shady bowers

And on the green pastures the lambkins do play

Where once in my childhood I gathered wild flowers

And with my young school mates I loved for to stray


On a mild summer’s evening for soft recreation

I rambled the banks where the Curley streams flow

Where young men and maids, in love’s admiration

Encircle the verge where the primroses grow

The small trout and salmon swim with delectation

As in the pleasant water, they sport and play

Yet are vanished these pleasures, my heart with vexation

Is filled with the thought of sweet Hannah M’Kay


Sweet were the hours spent in love’s conversation

With this charming young fair one to breathe the fresh air

She was the object of my adoration

My joy and my comfort, my pride and my care

Oft times I roamed from her father’s grand dwelling

And I thought by the Curley, for life to reside

My degree has expelled me to some foreign nation

Which leaves some new lover to make her his bride


Near Drumachose church where we oft made our station

Where Laura O’Donnell’s fond heart bled with love

Young Hannah still shone like the north constellation

With countenance magnetic and mild as a dove

I ardently long to make her my relation

And I fain by the Curley would make time delay

But now its streams downwards in murmurs flow, telling

That gone is the lover of Hannah M’Kay


Farewell Artikelly where I was excited

Likewise unto Newton where steam engines fly

If I could return I might well be delighted

With this pretty fair maiden to live and to die

When I sail down Lough Foyle to Columbia’s nation

I’ll think of that bower, where so oft I did stray

And heave a deep sigh for that sweet habitation

When I think of that bonny lass Hannah M’Kay