Well above is the church in which I married my Catholic wife, below is the true story of what is up over there...
Words and music Lorcan Otway
Last night I had a visitor, a dream I think but true
And if you spare a moment, I’ll share that dream with you.
An Irish shipwright’s son took me, to see his father’s pride
The famine church, Saint Brigid’s church, on New York’s lower east side.
He put my hand upon a stone, that stone is mine he said
I placed it here, so long ago, he said lifting his head,
My father placed this heavy stone between my little hands
Then helped me to lift it to the wall where it now stands.
I watched my father work each day, to make those stone walls rise
Two spires reaching for the clouds, which sailed on deep blue skies
Each stone he placed, he said a prayer, for lost ones left behind
This church to stand their faith to prove, until the end of time.
He pointed to a bearded face, high on the wall of stone
That was me Da, he said to me, here in my dear faith’s home.
It seems to me he’s watching us, as generations pray
To remind us of his loving toil, so long ago today.
He sailed away from Kerry’s shores, leaving family behind
To try and make a better way, to start an up hill climb
But as he built a new life here, each hard and pain filled day
Those distant hills of Kerry seemed to slip farther away.
Then news reached us, of wretched times, back in his native land.
Millions of Ireland’s people starved, with food so near at hand.
Out from each Irish seaport town, the starving sought to flee
While landlords loaded food to sell abroad for a ripe fee.
Sick starving, bodies broken, our families reached this shore
My father and our neighbors helped their future to restore
And raised these walls to thank our God and mark forever more
The place of their deliverance, here on this hope filled shore.
I woke up in the morning, and I still could see his pride
Reflected in his beaming face, across time’s constant tide
I wondered how in these soulless times, these wall can be torn down
These stone church walls his father built, to sell this sacred ground.