The Green Fields of America
The Chieftains Lyrics


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Farewell to the groves of shillelagh and the shamrock
Farewell to the girls of old Ireland all 'round
And may their hearts be as merry as ever they could wish for
As far away o'er the ocean I'm bound

My father is old and my mother's right feeble
To leave their own country, it would grieve their heart sore
Oh, the tears down their cheeks, in great floods they are rolling
To think that I must die upon some far and foreign shore

But what matter to me, where my bones they may lie buried
If in peace and contentment I can spend my life
The green fields of Amerikay, they daily are calling
It's there I'll find an end to my misery and strife

So pack up your sea stores now, consider it no longer
Ten dollars a week isn't very bad pay
With no taxes or tithe there to devour up your wages
Across on the green fields of Amerikay

The lint dams are gone and the looms are lying idle
Gone are the winders of baskets and creels
And away o'er the ocean, go journeyman cowboys
And fiddlers who play out the old mountain reels

Ah, but I mind the time when old Ireland was flourishing
And most of her tradesmen did work for good pay
Ah, but since our manufacturers have crossed the Atlantic
Well, it's now that I must follow onto Amerikay

And now to conclude and to finish my ditty
If e'er a friendless Irishman should happen my way
With the best in the house, I will greet him and welcome him
At home on the green fields of Amerikay

So pack up your sea stores now, consider it no longer
Ten dollars a week isn't very bad pay




With no taxes or tithe there to devour up your wages
Across on the green fields of Amerikay

Overall Meaning

The Chieftains’ “The Green Fields of America” is a song that depicts a story of an Irishman who has to leave his hometown for America. He bids farewell to his grove, the shamrock and the girls of old Ireland, hoping that their hearts remain merry while he goes on this journey. He acknowledges the pain that his parents would feel because they are feeble, and for them, his departure from their homeland would grieve their hearts. He knows they are shedding tears down their cheeks, in great floods, to think that he must die upon some far and foreign shore. But for him, what matters is to be at peace with himself where his bones would be buried, if he can spend his life in peace and contentment. He hears the daily calls of the green fields of Amerikay and believes he would find an end to his misery and strife.


He acknowledges the state of his country, reminiscing about a time when Ireland was flourishing and most of her tradesmen had good pay. He notes that the lint dams are gone, the looms are lying idle, and journeyman cowboys and fiddlers who played out the old mountain reels have all gone away over the ocean. He hopes that any friendless Irishman who crosses his path would be welcomed with the best in the house at home on the green fields of Amerikay. Concluding the song, the Irishman packs up his sea stores and hopes that ten dollars a week would help him live a life with no taxes or tithe to devour up his wages across the green fields of Amerikay.


Interesting facts about The Green Fields of America:


Line by Line Meaning

Farewell to the groves of shillelagh and the shamrock
Goodbye to the Irish clubs and the national symbol of Ireland


Farewell to the girls of old Ireland all 'round
Goodbye to the women of Ireland


And may their hearts be as merry as ever they could wish for
May they remain happy and content


As far away o'er the ocean I'm bound
I am leaving for America


My father is old and my mother's right feeble
My parents are elderly and frail


To leave their own country, it would grieve their heart sore
It would sadden them deeply to leave Ireland


Oh, the tears down their cheeks, in great floods they are rolling
They are crying heavily


To think that I must die upon some far and foreign shore
To consider the possibility of never returning to Ireland


But what matter to me, where my bones they may lie buried
It does not matter where I am buried


If in peace and contentment I can spend my life
As long as I can live happily and peacefully


The green fields of Amerikay, they daily are calling
America is calling to me


It's there I'll find an end to my misery and strife
I will find happiness and peace in America


So pack up your sea stores now, consider it no longer
Prepare to leave Ireland now


Ten dollars a week isn't very bad pay
The pay is not bad


With no taxes or tithe there to devour up your wages
There are no taxes or church fees to take away from my wages


Across on the green fields of Amerikay
To America I go


The lint dams are gone and the looms are lying idle
The textile industry in Ireland is no longer thriving


Gone are the winders of baskets and creels
The craftsmen who made baskets and fishing gear are gone


And away o'er the ocean, go journeyman cowboys
Cowboys are leaving Ireland for America


And fiddlers who play out the old mountain reels
Musicians who play traditional Irish music are also leaving for America


Ah, but I mind the time when old Ireland was flourishing
I remember when Ireland was prosperous


And most of her tradesmen did work for good pay
People had good-paying jobs in Ireland


Ah, but since our manufacturers have crossed the Atlantic
Since companies have moved to America


Well, it's now that I must follow onto Amerikay
It's now my turn to go to America


And now to conclude and to finish my ditty
To end my song


If e'er a friendless Irishman should happen my way
If I come across a lonely Irishman


With the best in the house, I will greet him and welcome him
I will welcome him with hospitality


At home on the green fields of Amerikay
In America, the land of opportunity




Lyrics © BMG Rights Management
Written by: KEVIN CONNEFF

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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tom canterbury


on North Amerikay

the great accapella version by kevin on tribute to their harpist

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