Kilkelly Ireland, eighteen and sixty, my dear and lovin' son John Your good friend the Schoolmaster Pat McNamara, so good as to write these words down. Your brothers have all gone to find work in England, the house is so empty and sad, The crop of potatoes is sorely affected, a third to a half of them bad. And your sister Bridget and Patrick O'Donnell, are goin' to be married in June, Your mother says not to work on the railroad, and be sure to come on home soon.
Kilkelly Ireland, eighteen and seventy, my dear and lovin' son John Hello to your missus and to your four children, that they may grow healthy and strong Michael has got in a wee bit of trouble, I suppose he never will learn Because of the dampness there's no turf to speak of and now we have nothing to burn. And Bridget is happy you named the child for her, although she's got six of her own You say you've found work, but you don't say what kind, or when you'll be comin' home.
Kilkelly Ireland, eighteen and eighty, dear Michael and John my sons I'm sorry to give you the very sad news that your dear old mother has gone. We buried her down at the church in Kilkelly, your brothers and Bridget were there, You don't have to worry, she died very quickly, remember her in your prayers. And it's so good to hear that Michael's returning with money he's sure to buy land For the crop has been poor and the people are selling, for any price that they can.
Kilkelly Ireland, eighteen and ninety, my dear and lovin' son John I suppose that I must be close on eighty, it's thirty years since you've gone Because of all of the money you sent me, I'm still living' out of my own Michael has built himself a fine house, and Bridget's daughters have grown And thank you for sendin' your family picture, they're lovely young women and men You say you might even come for a visit, what a joy to see you again.
Kilkelly Ireland, eighteen and ninety two, my dear brother John, I'm sorry I didn't write sooner, to tell you that father has gone. He was living with Brigid, she said he was cheerful and healthy right down to the end And you should have seen him play with the grandchildren, of Pat McNamara your friend. And we buried him alongside of mother, down at Kilkelly churchyard He was a strong and a feisty old man, considering that life is so hard. And it's funny the way he kept talkin' about you, he called for you at the end And why don't you think about comin' to visit, we'd all love to see you again.
Also check out the text of the Kilkelly Ireland letters on the Hunt Family and Kilkelly Ireland Song section of the website