Sailing Through the Sky
Tommy Sands - © Elm Grove Music

Prisons have always played a major role in Irish History. Prisoners in "The Troubles" regarded by many as a major part of the problem would also become a major part of the solution. In the ‘60s, Loyalist prisoners like Gusty Spence would campaign with Republicans to create better conditions for both and in so doing learn more about each other’s traditions and points of view.

In the 90’s British Secretary of State Mo Mowlam would visit prisoners to give assurances for moves in The Peace Process. After the Prisoner Releases many would come together from both sides and have the Street Credibility to lead a peaceful way forward in their own communities. Internment and the Hunger strikes would have a major impact all around the world.

This simple song, which has now been translated into Danish, Arabic and Hebrew, was inspired while performing in Maghagaberry prison after meeting a prisoner who described his long dreamful journeys despite being incarcerated in a small cell.


I’ll sing you a song of a lark in the morning
Sailing through the sky
Sailing forever above the Black Mountain
Sailing through the sky

Sailing sailing
Sailing through the sky
Sailing sailing
Sailing through the sky

The jailer comes round and he bids me good morning
Sailing through the sky
But already I’ve gone to the fair in Rathfriland
Sailing through the sky

Sometimes I go down to the ‘Bridge on a Saturday
Sailing through the sky
Stand in the sunshine with Wee Tarry Flanagan
Watching the girls go by

The jailer comes round to lock up in the evening
Sailing through the sky
But I’ve gone out walking with young Katie Houlihan
Sailing through the sky

Do you still miss me will you still wait for me
Sailling through the sky
Will you give me a reason to wake in the morning
Sailing through the sky