The Man From Gortavehy

If you’re Irish and in Melbourne and live up the Preston way
Give a call on Johnny Tarrant it will help to make his day
And he’ll give you a huge welcome as he has a heart of gold
That great man from Gortavehy a few with two score years old.
He’s worked hard throughout Australia for fifteen long years or more
And he’s still the same John Tarrant as I knew in days of yore
He still speaks with Irish accent and he hasn’t changed one bit
And at heart he’s still a youngster with a mighty sense of wit.

He loves the songs of Slim Dusty and he knows them off by heart as well
And he sings along when Slim sings of that famous bush hotel
He himself worked in the outback and he can associate with Slim songs
And though hard work is never easy it don’t hurt you when you’re strong.
Look at him you know he’s Irish he’s got foxy Irish hair
And his boyish face unwrinkled yet to show life’s wear and tear
And his massive pair of shoulders and his arms like iron bands
He’s a hark back to the great men who made famous old Ireland.
John worked hard for his money and though the money it was high
It is hard for man to work hard under hot Australian sky
Digging tunnels out the outback where the land is wild and rough
Where the faint hearted get dismissal and the toughest find it tough.
He now owns his own house in Preston Melbourne an expensive place to buy
And the fruits of his endeavour he can sit back and enjoy
And more than a house in Preston he’s got money in the bank
And for that he has nobody no one but himself to thank.
But he’s not mean with money he is what you’d call sound bloke
And he’ll help you if you need him he will help you if you’re broke
If you’re Irish and he know you and you are looking for a lend
He will help you out of trouble if you need him he’s a friend.
Talk to him of Ballydaly and Caher’s stormy heights
And you bet ’twill make him happy he will chuckle with delight
He was raised back in that country back by Gortavehy lake
Quite a long way from Australia and a hard journey to make.
Talk to him of Tommy Tucker and the Ballydaly boys
And you’ll see a glint of laughter in his happy Irish eyes
And the Murphys and the Connors and John Regan and John Brien
And he’ll talk about the old days and the conversation will suit him fine.
And the Twomeys and the Guerins those names he can well recall
And the Lynchs and the Sullivans who for Ballydaly played football
And the Buckleys and the Reardons and Mick Horgan rest his soul
And the Rings who for Ballydaly scored many a point and goal.
Ask him about the horse Con Jack bought at Millstreet Town March Fair
From Con Sheehan of Cloghoula and you’ll laugh at this I swear
John rode that horse home bareback and galloped hard all of the way
And the poor creature felt so weary he could scarcely walk next day.
Ask him abouth his bowl playing with Jim Sullivan and some more
And the fun and sunday caper and the Killarney road bowl score
And the day the bowl rolled in Jerald’s front gate and the fuss that brought about
Ask him to tell you that one and you’ll laugh at it no doubt.
John worked hard back in Ireland where the work is not matched by pay
Cutting pine trees in State Forest and piking bales of hay
He has never had it easy and believe him when he say
That he’d earn more in one day in Australia than in Ireland in five days.
And don’t condemn to him Australia as he love that vast Country
And he love the open bushland where his spirit did feel free
there he earned all of his money earned it with his honest sweat
And that he did come to Australia never caused him to regret.
But he still loves talk of old times and the characters he knew
And he could tell a thousand stories and everyone of them be true
Of men like D Dinneen and John Joe and Johnny Murphy Claramore man
And tall Dan Healy from Inches that out and out Republican.
He’s the happiest man in Preston settled into married life
With Eileen Smith from Keady his charming Irish wife
And he does deserve to be happy as his heart’s in the right place
He’s a good man and a just man and a credit to his race.
John Tarrant will return to Ireland he has plans to settle there
And he will purchase a big farm in County Cork somewhere
And he will visit Ballydaly and the hills west of Millstreet
And re live again the old days when his old pals he will meet.

by Francis Duggan

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