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|Music: Butterfly Kisses
Whispers - Home
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The Isle of Innisfree
|There are two famous compositions about Ireland's Isle of Innisfree, one a song,
the other a poem. The poem was written by Irish poet William Butler Yeats
(1865-1939), who spent his childhood holidays in County Sligo, where Innisfree
is located. For the rest of his life, the island held a special place in his heart.
The song was written by Irish songwriter, poet and policeman, Dick Farrelly (1916-
1990), who wrote both the music and lyrics. Bing Crosby recorded the song and
it went on to become the principal theme in the 1952 movie, "The Quiet Man."
Though both compositons speak with affection and yearning for the Isle of Innisfree,
they differ in meaning, in that Yeats was speaking specifically about the island itself.
Farrelly was speaking metaphorically. His Innisfree was intended to represent all of
Ireland, expressing the longing of an Irish immigrant for his native land.
County Sligo is located in the northern region of the Republic of Ireland. Most of the
pictures on this page are from Sligo and neighboring counties, both in the northern
area of the Republic of Ireland and in the province of Northern Ireland. -- Nancy
|In the background, the Isle of Innisfree that Yeats remembered so fondly.
|The Lake Isle of Innisfree
I will arise and go now, go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And I will live alone in the bee loud glade.
I will arise and go now, for always, night and day,
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it always in the deep heart's core.
-- William Butler Yeats
|Isle of Innisfree
I've met some folks who say that I'm a dreamer
And I've no doubt there's truth in what they say
But, sure, a body's bound to be a dreamer
When all the things he loves are far away.
And precious things are dreams unto an exile
They take him o'er the land across the sea
Especially when it happens he's an exile
From that dear lovely Isle of Innisfree.
And when the moonlight peeps across the rooftops
Of this great city, wondrous though it be,
I scarcely feel its wonder or its laughter,
I'm once again back home in Innisfree.
I wander o'er green hills through dreamy valleys
And find a peace no other land would know.
I hear the birds make music fit for angels
And watch the rivers laughing as they flow.
But dreams don't last, though dreams are not forgotten,
And soon I'm back to stern reality.
But though they pave the footways here with gold dust,
I still would choose my Isle of Innisfree.
-- Dick Farrelly
|The United States immigration station at New York's Ellis Island, opened in 1892
and the very first passenger registered there was a young Irish girl named Annie
Moore. Annie was travelling with her two younger brothers, Anthony and Phillip.
They were processed on New Year's Day, 1892, which was Annie's 15th birthday.
Annie has been memorialized in two statues, one at her port of departure,
Cohb (formerly Queenstown), Ireland and the other at Ellis Island.
|Isle Of Hope, Isle Of Tears
On the first day of January,
They opened Ellis Island and
They let the people through.
First to cross the threshold
Of that isle of hope and tears,
Was Annie Moore from Ireland,
Who was all of fifteen years.
In a little bag she carried
All her past and history,
And her dreams for a future
In the land of liberty.
And courage is the passport
When your old world disappears,
But there's no future in the past
When you're only fifteen years
When they closed down Ellis Island
In nineteen forty-three,
Seventeen million people
Had come there for sanctuary.
And in springtime, when I came here
And I stepped onto it's piers,
I thought of how it must have been
When you're only fifteen years.
Isle of hope, isle of tears,
Isle of freedom, isle of fears,
But it's not the isle you left behind.
That isle of beauty, isle of pain,
Is the isle you'll never see again.
But the isle of home is always on your mind.
The isle of home is always on your mind.
-- Brendan Graham