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black irish

long & tall tales



I am black Irish

due to a recessant gene supposedly traced back

to shipwrecked sailors from the Spanish Armada

Of my fifteen cousins, two of us can tan!

I fancy our forefather was Basque


Euskadi - the Basque name of their homeland

Philip II of Spain - the first world emperor

Armada - means "fortunate navy"

The Lizard - the southwesternmost point of England

Race built ships - Drake and Hawkins stripped the

superstructure off their ships

making them vastly superior sailing vessels

They also made it so the ship's captain was the

supreme commander at sea

Fireships - an old ship was loaded with tar and other combustibles

set ablaze and sent to ram enemy ships


The Spanish decided to go around the British Isles

and return through the open Atlantic to Spain

They had no maps and longtitude did not exist yet





I come from the shores of Euskadi

As a pilot I joined Philip’s fleet

And we sailed with the Spanish Armada

To give English the taste of defeat

To show them who’s lord of the sea


In the late 1500s the old Spanish Main

Reached around the whole world without measure

But the thorn in their side was the damn privateers

Sinking ships and stealing their treasure


A crusade against England, the Pope blessed us all

We left Lisbon in the fairest of weather

The world never saw such a fortunate navy

As the Spanish Armada together


But once in the open sea the weather turned foul

Took us weeks to catch sight of the Lizard

And our galleons and ships were no match for the Drake

Sailed his race built ships round us like a wizard


Duke Sidonia, our leader, was no seaman

He’d not spent a day ‘fore the mast

And he followed King Philip’s instructions

To the letter, as in stone it was cast


I come from the land of Euskadi

With the Basques I joined the King’s men

And we sailed with the Spanish Armada

With our galleons and thousands of men

So few of us reached home again


We were sailors and soldiers, we had captains and lords

And we never knew which was our master

Left the English at Plymouth and made for Calais

Dropped anchors, awaiting disaster


Duke Parma and his men were to meet us at sea

And an army in England we’d land

But in the night they sent fireships into our midst

We cut anchor lines and we ran


The next day they gave battle, but they never came near

Left the work to their cannon and gun

And our soldiers were useless and never could board

For the enemy’d fire then they’d run


We made for the north but a tempest blew in

Scattered us like autumn leaves

With the enemy harrying, still we went north

Round the islands to the open sea


Well I come from the land of Euskadi

And the Basques joined in by the score

Saw the wreck of the Spanish Armada

On Donegal’s murderous shore

I’ll never again go to war


Our ships were all ragged, anchors long gone

The storm threw us onto the land

The screams of the drowning men couldn’t be heard

As the mighty waves crashed on the strand


The ones who were lucky to make it to shore

Most were murdered, robbed, stripped to the skin

Those that lived walked the land seeking mercy from God

Or anyone who might take us in


In this Catholic land there’s no justice

Every man does just as he please

When I came to the home of McClancy

I thanked the Lord God on my knees


Now McClancy was no friend of the English

Put me under the care of his daughter

And she nursed me to health with such loving and care

That I never again took to water


Well I come from the land of Euskadi

And a Basque I will always be

But the wreck of the Spanish Armada

Brought me here to the arms of Colleen

And I’ll never again go to sea