Spancilhill in east County Clare gives its name to this song which I first heard around 1958, sung by Robbie McMahon, who was himself from that very same neighbourhood. Robbie gave us his updated rendition during a wonderful afternoon of singing in his home a few years ago, after Mrs. Maura McMahon, in her usual manner of hospitality, served us a fine Irish meal. Robbie told my friends and me that Michael Considine from Spancilhill wrote the song. Mr. Considine was born around 1850 and immigrated to America as a young man. His intent was to bring his sweetheart to America when he had saved enough money for her passage, but, suffering from poor health, he somehow knew that his dream would never materialise. He passed away around 1873 in California, but the song found its way back to County Clare and was popularised by Robbie's singing of it.


Séamus Connolly
Boston College Libraries
Some transcriptions are based on historical source recordings. More info.

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McMahon, Robbie (vocals) and Considine, Michael (composer) , “Spancilhill,” The Séamus Connolly Collection of Irish Music, accessed July 16, 2024,