“Well I’ve traveled far through these great lands from the east onto the west
But of all the islands I have seen I love my own the best
And if ever I return again there is one place I will go
It will be to lovely Leitrim where the Shannon waters flow.”
The above verse is from the song “Lovely Leitrim” which was composed by a Leitrim exile in New York, Phil Fitzpatrick. The song is about a Leitrim exile in America, dreaming about his “Lovely Leitrim” and his desire to see his native land again.
County Leitrim was first hit by the recession caused by the mechanisation of linen weaving in the 1830s and its 155,000 residents were ravaged by the Great Famine and the population dropped to 112,000 by 1851. The population subsequently continued to decrease due to emigration.