Thank you to everyone who contributed to the sale of this song (E1000 raised) and the money all went to The Knockmahon National School Ipad Fund.... I presented the iPad Air to them on December 23rd with E200 in gift cards.
Thank you to local legend Andy Kiely for keeping this song alive over the years and confirming the words for me.
The lyrics were written by an O'Brien from Bonmahon in the 1870s and later put to the air of the traditional Irish song "Spancil Hill" which was written by Michael Considine in 1873.
The first three verses of the song were taught to us in Knockmahon National School and many people have never heard the remaining 5 verses.
The Knockmahon Mines were a huge copper mining success from the 1820s to the late 1870s just outside the village of Bonmahon in Co. Waterford, Ireland. The only remains of the industry now is the Engine House pictured in Tankardstown. (Click the image to enlarge)
The song mentions a strike in the year of 1866 and the subsequent fall of the copper empire forcing most of the workers to emigrate to America. The vast majority ended up in Copper Mountain in Butte, Montana.
A brief revival in 1906 brought some of those workers back to the area but the attempts were short lived and the mines closed permanently soon thereafter.
Go raibh míle maith agat,
The Knockmahon Mines
As I strolled out one evening in the Springtime of the year
It was over the Mount Airy Cliffs my course I chanced to steer
When I overheard an Irish youth in sorrow she was cryin’
Saying, my comrade boys are now all gone far from Knockmahon Mines
I stepped up to this fair young maid, with her to have a joke,
She said keep away my dear young man, for my poor heart is broke;
When I think upon the times we had, I never can stop cryin’
As I think of all the buildings grand, that were in Knockmahon Mines.
They were in the glens of Ballyristeen, Kildwan and the big new Row.
There was Tankardstown, Bawn Ivy and likewise the Mona Ceo;
The copper that came out of them, it had a gallant shine,
And it took first prize in Swansea Town, all from Knockmahon Mines.
Oh ‘tis well I do remember now that year of sixty six,
When the mines of Knockmahon put themselves into a fix;
The very night they had the strike, the women were all cryin’,
For they drew a cloud of sorrows down upon Knockmahon Mines.
I said my pretty female, if with me you will agree,
We’ll go to Andy Skehan’s Pub and we’ll have a jolly spree;
In wedlock bands we’ll join our hands, if with me you’ll combine
And we’ll banish shame and sorrow, all from Knockmahon Mines.
My yellow locks I will cut off and come along with you,
My yellow locks I will cut off and I’ll go to America too;
With the pick and bore all in our hands, the navvys there will smile,
And we’ll come one another there, all from Knockmahon Mines.
On the night that we were leaving, with sorrow our hearts did fill,
We took one look back at our dear homes from Ballinasisla Hill;
Saying there they are Knockmahon Mines, where I spent many a day,
Now forever I must leave them for to go to America.
Then at Kilmacthomas Station , as the train it did roll in,
We kissed and hugged our loved ones, who we’d never see again;
While on board the ship at Queenstown, one thought was in our minds,
God bless our dear sad friends at home, and farewell to Knockmahon Mines.
released December 1, 2013
Anthony Mulcahy - Vocals, Guitar
Warren Malone - Additional Guitar
Recorded at Studio 76 in Brooklyn, New York
Engineered by Brandon Wilde
Photo by Mary Sue Connolly
all rights reserved