Back Home in Derry

Back Home in Derry

"Back Home in Derry" is an Irish rebel song written by Bobby Sands. It has been recorded by a number of artists, including Christy Moore and the Poxy Boggards.

The lyrics refer to a prison ship bound for Van Dieman's Land (now Tasmania), which was largely a penal colony. The singer tells of the hardships endured by the prisoners on the journey (and, in the last verse, once they reached the island).


In 1803 we sailed out to sea
Out from the sweet town of Derry
For Australia bound if we didn't all drown
And the marks of our fetters we carried
In the rusty iron chains we sighed for our wains
As our good women we left in sorrow
As the mainsails unfurled our curses we hurled
On the English and thoughts of tomorrow


at the mouth of the Foyle, bid farewell to the soil
as down below decks we were lying
O'Doherty screamed, woken out of a dream
by vision of bold Robert dying
the sun burnt cruel, as we dished out the gruel
Dan O'connor was down with a fever
sixty rebels today, bound for Botany bay
how many will reach their receiver

Oh Oh Oh Oh I wish I was back home in Derry
Oh Oh Oh Oh I wish I was back home in Derry


I cursed them to hell as our bow fought the swell
Our ship danced like a moth in the firelight
White horses rode high as the devil passed by
Taking souls to Hades by twilight.
Five weeks out to sea we were now forty-three
Our comrades we buried each morning.
In our own slime we were lost in a time.
Endless night without dawning.

Oh Oh Oh Oh I wish I was back home in Derry
Oh Oh Oh Oh I wish I was back home in Derry


Van Dieman's land is a hell for a man
To live out his life in slavery
Where the climate is raw and the gun makes the law
Neither wind nor rain cares for bravery
Twenty years have gone by and I've ended my bond
My comrades' ghosts walk behind me
A rebel I came and I'm still the same
On the cold winds of night you will find me

Oh Oh Oh Oh I wish I was back home in Derry
Oh Oh Oh Oh I wish I was back home in Derry
oh oh oh oh I wish i was back home in Derry

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