A history of Ireland in 100 goodbyes

‘So I waved goodbye with a wistful eye’, and other Irish farewells

1 And all but thy government, Éire, have pleased me/Thou waterful land (Columcille’s Farewell to Ireland)

2 To hell or to Connacht

3 The Flight of the Earls

4 Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire


5 Lament for Limerick

6 - 7 Ditto for Kinsale and Kilcash

8 He gave what little wealth he had/To build a home for fools and mad/And shew’d with one satiric touch/No country wanted it so much

9 Swift has sailed into his rest/Where savage indignation/Can no longer lacerate his breast

10 Carolan’s farewell to music

11 The minstrel boy to the war has gone

12 The pipes, the pipes are calling

13 The Last Rose of Summer

14 For Ireland’s freedom/We’ll fight or die

15 Emmet’s speech from the dock

16 She is far from the land

17 In 1803, we sailed out to sea/Out from the sweet town of Derry

18 My body to Ireland, my heart to Rome, my soul to God

19 So fare thee well, sweet Liza dear

20 And likewise to Derry Town

21 – 22 And twice farewell to me comrade boys, who dwell on that sainted ground

23 Goodbye Mick

24 Goodbye Pat

25 Goodbye Kate and Mary

26 The anchor’s weighed, the gangway’s up, I’m leaving Tipperary

27 Goodbye Muirisín Durkan

28 By a lonely prison wall/I heard a young girl calling

29 Fare thee well, Enniskillen

30 Fare thee well sweet Donegal, the Rosses, and Gweedore

31 Ditto Sweet Anna Liffey, Green Valleys, and My Lovely Dinah

32 The night before Larry was stretched

33 I am stretched on your grave

34 Such is life

35 The man had killed the thing he loved/And so he had to die

36 The wallpaper and I are in a duel to the death. One of us must go.

37 They’re all gone now, and there isn’t anything more the sea can do to me

38 They lived and loved and laughed and left

39 Grace, just hold me in your arms

40 He shall not hear the bittern cry

41 I got more than one bullet I think. Tons and tons of love dearie to you and the boys and to Nell and Anna. It was a good fight anyway.

42 Yerra, they’ll never shoot me in my own county

43 Observe the sons of Ulster marching towards the Somme

44 Cast a cold eye/On life, on death/Horseman pass by

45 Commemorate me with no hero-courageous tomb/Just a canal back seat for the passer-by

46 Finnegan’s Wake (with the apostrophe)

47 Finnegans Wake (without)

48 The American Wake

49 A Painful Case

50 An Irish Airman Foresees his Death

51 For he comes, the human child/To the waters and the wild

52 – 54 Well known, alas, is the case of the poor German who was very fond of three and who made each aspect of his life a thing of triads. He went home one evening and drank three cups of tea with three lumps of sugar in each cup, cut his jugular with a razor three times and scrawled with a dying hand on a picture of his wife good-bye good-bye good-bye.

55 Krapp’s Last Tape

56 On a quiet street, where old ghosts meet, I see her walking now

57 The reason I left Mullingar

58 I’ll take you home again, Kathleen

59 And that’s the cruel reason I left old Skibbereen

60 Then the ship struck a rock/Lord, what a shock

61 And I woke in California/Many miles from Spancil Hill

62 The Blasket school of Literature

63 I’m an old woman now, with one foot in the grave and the other on its edge

64 I have done my best to set down the character of the people about me so that some record of us might live after us, for the like of us will never be again

65 So I waved goodbye with a wistful eye/And I left the girls of Tuam

66 Thousands are sailing

67 Many young men of twenty said goodbye

68 The Leaving Cert

69 The blessing of a poor old man be with you night and day

70 The blessing of a lonely man whose heart will soon be clay

71 – 73 Lament for Staker Wallace, Oliver Goldmsith, Brendan Behan

74 Heaney’s Spring Break

75 Her father didn’t like me anyway

76 Say goodbye to Madame George

77 – 80 Say goodbye goodbye goodbye goodbye to Madame George

81 Now the song is nearly over/We may never find out what it means

82 Happy Christmas your arse, I thank God it’s our last

83 Noli timere

84 Dúirt mé leat go raibh mé breoite

85 Goodnight and may your God go with you

86 We get here and the skips containing the team’s training gear are missing

87 The pitch is like a carpark

88 We had no goalkeepers for the five-a-side

89 Packie said they’d worked hard. Alan said they’d worked hard. I said: “Do you want a pat on the back for working hard – is that not why we’re here?” I did mention that they wouldn’t be too tired to play golf next day and, fair play, they dragged themselves out.”

90 “You were a crap player. You’re a crap manager.”

91 I have done the State some service.

92 The dead man was known to the gardaí

93 Slán tamaill

94 Slán go fóill

95 Slán abhaile

96 Slán go deo

97 Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord

98 Don’t let the door hit you on the way out

99 His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

100 “The Irish goodbye”