Sunday, 17 July 2011


Jimmy's post about London reminded me of the song 'Missing You' by Jimmy Mac Carthy, (a song about emigration in the 1980's), and of the friends and family who have recently left for foreign shores in search of work and a better life. And of another generation, including Da, who did the same in the 1950's. There seems to be a thirty year pattern here.

In the author's own words from his book 'Ride On';

'Missing You' is a song that highlights the plight of those who left Ireland in search of work in the building trade in the mid-1980's. In my time in England, and especially when I lived in Arlington Road, Camden Town, I heard many stories of those who came to make big money, hoping to return in glory only to find themselvs at the butt end of Paddy jokes, and the suspicion engendered by the fallout from the troubles. With big wages, came big drinking; and with big drinking came destitution. I would know them at a glance, I found them everywhere and it broke my heart.

I hope with all my heart that the weather stays fair for the current wave of emigrants from this country.

I have reproduced the lyrics of 'Missing You' rather than just put up the video.
(These are the original lyrics which differ slightly from the version used by Christy Moore.)

Missing You.

In nineteen hundred and eighty six
Not much work for a chippie or swinging the pick
And you can't live on love, and on love alone
So you sail o'er the ocean, away cross the foam

To where you're a Paddy, and where you're a Mick
Not much use at all bar stacking a brick
And your mate was a spade and he carried the hod
Two old heavy horses, heavily shod

Oh I'm missing you
I'd give all for the price of the flight
Oh I'm missing you under Picadilly's neon

And who did you murder, and are you a spy?
I'm just fond of the drink helps me laugh, helps me cry
And I took to the port for a permanent high
Now I laugh a lot less, and I'll cry till I die

Now the summer is fine, but the winter's a fridge
Wrapped up in old cardboard under Charing Cross Bridge
And I'll never go home, It's because of the shame
Of a misfit's reflection in a shop window pane.

So all you young people take an advice
Before crossing the ocean you'd better think twice
Cause you can't live without love, without love alone
Here's the proof 'round the West End in the nobody zone

Oh I'm missing you
I'd give all for the price of the flight
Oh I'm missing you under Piccadilly's neon


  1. The mammy saved pennies in a jar for the last thirty years of her life just so that she could be buried back in Ireland. The oul fella's head never really left there although the rest of him had to come here to Glasgow to find his work.

    For me, McAlpine's Fusiliers by The Dubliners sums up the first time I truly understood the turmoil that both of my parents went through. Each day working away fae my own home makes me appreciate the sacrifices just that wee bit more.

  2. Young America did flourish on the backs of many and Emerald Islander, I can't imagine her great Eastern cities (New York, Boston even Chicago) without the Irish influence.
    I sometimes wonder if I would like my ashes scattered over Alba, if you are ever on holiday around Dundee and the sky is raining Talisker and Budweiser aroma(ed) ash then it might be auld Sausage with a dram or three too many....

  3. Ma granda, ma dads da, came to Scotland in the 30s to look for work. To be honest I didn't know him or much about him, only that there is a wee bit of Irish blood in this Scots boy.

  4. We owe so much to those who went before us...sad that they were often gone before we could voice that gratitude.

    I'll never understand prejudice when it comes to countries. The South here gets labeled with that so much that I was shocked when I heard one of my English ladies speak (not fondly)of Irish and Scots folks. Worked with a Japanese lady once who told me the hierarchy of Asian cultures while a friend from Spain did the same with Hispanic cultures.

    A good person is a good person...and jackasses come from many different countries. Is it any wonder that my favorite 2 ladies in the British group are the ones from Ireland and Scotland, who talk down about no one? :)

  5. i appreciate the lyric, sugar! some days it seems as if we're all going somewhere else to find work. *sigh* xoxoxox

  6. I've just lost a long rambling comment. Blast it!
    Suffice to say many an Irish lad - from time immemorial - gave their lives in the building of many a bridge and viaduct over here.

  7. so true that we each have been touched by the unimaginable hardships of those who left their beloved homeland and/or loved ones for a better life - something which i think we all do even today, but perhaps in different ways - beautifully moving lyrics - thanks so much for sharing -