Mother Ireland; Mother Africa

from by Paul McCarthy

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I guess two years in Eritrea and Djibouti moved me. From the experience came this lyric. I was missing home but loving every minute away at the same time. Here I compare Ireland and Africa, liking them to two sisters, both with a lot in common and a lot to teach us.


Well it's nights like these when I'm all to myself
that I allow the hours to carry me to the early morn',
I can feel the beat of my heart dance to your distant tide,
and I now know who I am and from where I was bourne.

Eritrea has embraced me like a long lost prodigal son,
Djibouti has shown me that there is life upon the moon,
hyena has laughed, gazelle has leapt, baboon's flashed me his big, red arse,
Mother Africa has nurtured me like a child from her own womb.

Eire, my dear, like a child weaned from the nipple
I tore myself from your soft Connemara folds,
and not 'till I returned and left you once again
did I realise the lack of nourishment from suckling on other shores.

So as I rest in the Cradle of Humanity on Africa's great horn,
her sea of red licking my face, her exotic breath feathering my skin,
I'll not be enchanted again 'till your wild Atlantic spray
nestles me, Mother Ireland in the heather of your twelve pins.

As she cradles me to her dark bosom,
her sweet breath against my cheek,
I've thoughts only of you, Mother Ireland,
for I now Know what it is that I seek.

So let me sit by your fireside and I'll sing to you this song,
and, mother dear, tell to me your tales of yore,
of Cuchulainn and Fionn, of Oisin and of Niamh,
with the scent of burning turf colouring your every word.

And I'll tell to you stories of ancient chieftains and kings,
the Land of Punt and Lucy in the ground with Darwin,
for your sister dear Africa has bourne legends older than old,
but not one has hurled a sliotar and caught it on the fall.

And as you cradle me to your fair bosom,
your salt breath against my cheek,
don't ever let me go, Mother Ireland,
hold me dear, Mother Ireland,
here's to you, Mother Ireland,
for I've found now what it was that I seeked.

Gra mo chroi, Mother Ireland,
slan agus beannacht, Mother Africa.


from The Child Time Forgot, released May 21, 2009
Words & music by Paul McCarthy
Paul McCarthy- vocals & guitars
Richard Dunkley- bass
Wayne Waites- washboard & percussion



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