Limerick You Are My Lady, a Drinking Song

I’ve been in Ireland now for quite a while and I must admit, the atmosphere is so different than back home in the States though it took me some time to get used to it. What’s really amazing is the singing culture. Everyone here seems to know the traditional lyrics (more or less…) and singing along in the pubs is standard procedure most of the times. I even learned to play and sing Limerick You Are My Lady, a drinking song.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it home for Thanksgiving but I’ll be visiting my family and relatives over Christmas so that’ll make up for the holidays. I’ll bring a guitar that I bought here and I also learned one of the traditional Irish drinking songs that I’ll be glad to show my parents. It’s called, I believe, “Limerick You Are My Lady” so let me tell you a bit more about Limerick and this particular song (though I must say I adjusted the words slightly to make it more understandable for us Americans). My parents are doing some volunteer work for “the Irish Channel America” so I guess they’ll appreciate my (pretty amateurish) performance!

The drinking song “Limerick You Are My Lady” was written and sung by a bloke (another such great word here) named Dennis Allen who made it a number one hit in Ireland in 1979. The now still popular song stayed in the charts for over a year. Since then, “Limerick You Are My Lady” was recorded many times by as many as forty different artists.

The song is actually a classic Irish drinking song and this post will show you a little bit of Limerick’s colorful history. The city’s history goes back to the days when it was founded in 812 by Vikings from Scandinavia. Originally, Limerick was a walled city located on King’s Island (right in the Shannon River). The town is also known for its 1197 charter and in 1200, the construction of a massive castle was ordered by King John. The castle was besieged several times in the period 1600-1700.

This resulted in the well-known “Treaty of Limerick”. Practically all Catholic leaders that had suffered defeat fled abroad. Much of Limerick as we now know it was constructed during the subsequent times of prosperity under Georgian rule which, then again, abruptly ended in 1800 with the “Act of Union”.

The following depression would last almost two centuries, all the way through the Great Irish Famine which lasted from 1845 to 1849, the Irish Independence War. After WWII, neutrality emerged which eventually resulted in the huge economic boom of the 1990s that lasted until 2008. These days, Limerick is a city that boasts a growing multicultural and diverse population, great traditional Irish food, and the University of Limerick (I really must say) is world-class! The weather, on the other hand, is pretty depressing usually, so take also a look at my post on what the Irish feel are “the 10 stages of a May sunny day in Ireland.” 

I apologize for not knowing the lyrics entirely well, but this is what I understood of all that’s been sung. Here are the (slightly adjusted by me) lyrics of the drinking song “Limerick You Are My Lady”:

Limerick you are my lady
The Shannon River joyful tears that flow
Your beauty is surrounding you
But I’ll take you with me wherever I may go

When I’m waking in distant waters
And a new day brings me far from my home
Yes Limerick, you’re my finest lady
The one and only true love I’ve ever really known.

When we were children, we spent so many days in fun
In winter’s cold or summer’s finest sun
We went fishing in the streams, all fabrics of my dreams
I got enchanted by your love eyes so I really need to say.

Chorus:

Limerick you are my lady
The Shannon River joyful tears that flow
Your beauty is surrounding you
But I’ll take you with me wherever I may go

When I’m waking in distant waters
And a new day brings me far from my home
Yes Limerick, you’re my finest lady
The one and only true love I’ve ever really known.

There are differences time made for travelers going their way
While finding out about the beauty of this land
On shrines, bells ring and children play as if to say
Thank you, Lord we’re living here to feel the beauty of every day.

Chorus:

Limerick you are my lady
The Shannon River joyful tears that flow
Your beauty is surrounding you
But I’ll take you with me wherever I may go

When I’m waking in distant waters
And a new day brings me far from my home
Yes Limerick, you’re my finest lady
The one and only true love I’ve ever really known.

When I’m waking in distant waters
And a new day brings me far from my home
Yes Limerick, you’re my finest lady
The one and only true love I’ve ever really known…
The one and only true love I’ve ever really known.

I hope my parents will appreciate my amateur interpretation of something so traditional Irish when I’ll be visiting for the holidays. For now, I need to go back to my great school in hopes I’ll be admitted to the University of Limerick, (later this year) and make sure I’ll complete the coming semester in a positive way so I’ll graduate high school. So Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year to everyone from my Irish base here in Limerick!