Farewell Old Dublin

Mick Foran's poem laments the poverty and deprivation that caused emigration from Dublin in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.



Audio recording: Mick Foran reads 'Farewell Old Dublin'
Mick Foran reads his poem, 'Farewell Old Dublin'. This was recorded close to a container loading area just outside Dublin Port; the background noises are of containers being moved. ~ Date: 19 August 2021
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Oh Dublin, oh Dublin, what have you done, with your posh Georgian houses, now tenement slums!

And the cats and rats and kids in bare feet, and their poor mother and fathers with little to eat, but cold porridge from penny-dinners that you call a treat?

And hard bread with cabbage-water, that bears little taste, as feeding this to our family is a holy disgrace

And the holes in the roof, and the rain getting in, if it gets worse we’ll all have to swim,

and the wind on cold nights blowing under our doors, and windows all rattling, we can’t take any more!

Oh Dublin, oh Dublin do we have any choice, but to expect emigration, like O’Casey and Joyce.

And Becket and Behan, and the great Oscar Wilde, who had to leave Dublin their literature denied!

Oh Dublin, oh Dublin, how can it be, to deny education is the most sinful indeed!

So open your shutters and let light shine in, and give us a chance to avoid mortal sin.

Oh Dublin, oh Dublin there's no work to be got, no work on the land, no work on the Docks!

Oh Dublin, oh Dublin, what are we to do with the loss of generations that mean nothing to you, so farewell my old city, as I’m off to the boat, taking my chances in England’s “big smoke?”