Three Leaves of Shamrock
DESCRIPTION: The singer, about to leave Ireland, meets a poor girl who bids him take a message to her brother Ned: "Three leaves of shamrock... 'Take these to my brother, for I have no other. And these are the shamrock from his dear old mother's grave.'"
AUTHOR: James McGuire (according to Wehman)
EARLIEST DATE: 1889: Harding's publication date per Wehman [see note re American Memory]; 1890 (Wehman's Collection of Songs No. 25); c.1880? (see note re Shoemaker)
KEYWORDS: death mourning burial mother brother sister emigration separation Ireland
FOUND IN: US(SE) Ireland
REFERENCES (6 citations):
BrownII 135, "Three Leaves of Shamrock" (1 text plus mention of 4 more)
BrownSchinhanIV 135, "Three Leaves of Shamrock" (1 excerpt, 1 tune)
OCroinin-Cronin 185, "Three Leaves of Shamrock" (3 texts)
ADDITIONAL: Hyland's Mammoth Hibernian Songster (Chicago; J.S. Hyland & Co,1901), p. 41, "Mollie Darling" (1 text)
Henry W Shoemaker, North Pennsylvania Minstrelsy (Almeda: Almeda Tribune Company, 1919 ("Digitized by Internet Archive") #22 p. 65, "Three Leaves of Shamrock") (1 text)
Wehman's [Universal Songster] Collection of Songs No. 25 (New York, n.d. [but No. 24 says "the next number of this book will be ready January 2, 1890"], digitized by Internet Archive), p. 3, "Three Leaves of Shamrock" (1 text)
ST BrII135 (Full)
Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers, "Leaving Dear Old Ireland" (Columbia 15425-D, 1929; on CPoole03)
The North Carolina Ramblers and Roy Harvey, "Three Leaves of Shamrock" (Paramount, unissued, 1927)
NOTES [215 words]: Shoemaker : "Northern Pennsylvania. Popular in lumber and railroad construction camps forty years ago."
OCroinin-Cronin has John Moulden informing him that Poole's recording was very popular [I assume in Ireland] in the 1920s.
LOC American Memory has a picture of the cover of "Three Leaves of Shamrock... as sung by Tho's J Farron. 1889" published by Harding's Music Office [Historic American Sheet Music, "Three Leaves of Shamrock," Music #3, Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library]. No text is printed but the "as sung by" and Shoemaker's statement put 1889 as an early date in question.
The "American" versions -- Poole, Shoemaker, Hyland, BrownII -- are slightly different from the Irish versions reported by OCroinin-Cronin -- Cronin's song, Delaney's Irish Song Book No.1, 2, and a Nicholson broadside. For example, the Irish versions all have -- in the chorus -- "Take them to Phelim, then kindly tell him" while the American versions are all close to "Take them to my brother, for I have no one other." It's not the difference that surprises me, but the agreement by side of the Atlantic. Even if Poole was popular in Ireland he apparently was not Cronin's source.
OCroinin-Cronin's Irish references are all later than Harding and Wehman. - BS
Last updated in version 3.2
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.