1. black irish

From the recording Long & Tall Tales

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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

Here is a link to Captain Cuellar's amazing adventure

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

Black Irish

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
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
Well 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