The Mountains of Mourne

Oh, Mary, this London's a wonderful sight,
With people all working by day and by night.
Sure they don't sow potatoes, nor barley, nor wheat,
But there's gangs of them digging for gold in the street.
At least when I asked them that's what I was told,
So I just took a hand at this digging for gold,
But for all that I found there I might as well be
Where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.

I believe that when writing a wish you expressed
As to know how the fine ladies in London were dressed,
Well if you'll believe me, when asked to a ball,
They don't wear no top to their dresses at all,
Oh I've seen them meself and you could not in truth,
Say that if they were bound for a ball or a bath.
Don't be starting such fashions, now, Mary mo chroi,
Where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.

by Percy French (1896)

Percy French

It may be that Percy French was Ireland's most famous songwriter, poet and entertainer. His large portfolio of songs included The Mountains of Mourne, see the panel on the left - the song has 5 verses, but only two are reproduced here.

Wreath laying at Percy French graveSong writing was just one of his gifts. Others included entertaining from the stage.

Percy became ill while performing in Glasgow and died some days later from pneumonia. He had travelled to Formby and was staying at the home of his cousin Canon Richardson of Green Lea, College Avenue on 24 January 1920, aged 65.

His grave is in St. Luke's churchyard, just a few yards in front of the main church entrance.

The Percy French Society make occasional visits to Formby where they commemorate his life with a service around his grave. St. Luke's clergy and other church members help in this.