Back in 1847, in the bitterest of winters,
when disease, death and starvation
drove the people from their homes
as they left their smoky cabins
they were looking for salvation.
There was no one on the mountains
but the starving and the ghosts.
So to the iron towns of Durham
came the dispossessed of Ireland
Empty collier boats from ‘Haven
brought them to the English shore
from Armagh and Louth and Cavan
with their bundles and their babies
from Tyrone and County Monaghan
and from many places more
And there they dug and cleaned the ironstone,
made the coke and filled the furnace
at Consett, Felling, Jarrow,
Stockton, Hartlepool, Tow Law,
Witton Park and then Port Clarence,
well, where ever mem made iron,
the Irish they were busy,
did their part and sometimes more.
But these people were so foreign
they caused problems for the English
had their own priests and religion,
incense,candlesticks and more
they prayed in Latin, some spoke Gaelic,
you could hardly gresp their English
and they worked hard for low wages,
god, what brought them to our door?
Well nowadays we’re English,
but maybe still a little Irish
and our neighbours might be Polish,
Congolese, or from Darfur,
but in these days of drought and famine,
persecution, ethnic cleansing,
let’s remember how we came here
when the stranger’s at our door.
This is the first public outing for my whistle! 21/3/2014