Westering Home

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WESTERING HOME AKA and see: "Trasna na dTonnta," "Eilean Mo Chridhe" (Isle of My Heart). Scottish (originally), Irish; Air, Slow March (6/8 time) and Waltz (3/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Martin): AB (Tubridy). A Scottish chestnut, also popular in Ireland where it appears in a County Donegal Irish Gaelic air (also in a slide version in 12/8 time) as "Trasna na dTonnta," attributed to Tomás Tóibín in Amhránleabhar Ógra Éireann. Many believe the melody of "Westering Home" is a derivative of "Trasna na dTonnta". However, the chorus of the melody is also said to be based on Harold Boulton's (1859–1935) 1895 Scottish song "Bonnie Strathyre," set to a traditional air he called "Taymouth." Speeded up and in jig time it also resembles “Muckin' o' Geordie's Byre.” The song "Westering Home" is by Hugh S. Roberton [1] (1874–1952) who wrote it around 1921, and has words that go:

Hugh S. Roberton

Tell me o' lands o' the Orient gay,
Sing o' the riches and joys o' Cathay
Man! But it's grand to awaken each day
And find yourself nearer to Isla.

Chorus:
For we're Westering home wi' a song in the air
Light in me heart an' it's goodbye to care
Laughter o' love and a welcomin' there
Isle o' me heart, me own land.

Wha' are the folks like the folks o' the west?
Canty an' couthy an' kind to the best
There I would lay me and there I would rest
At home wi' my ain folks at Isla.

Vera Lynn recorded a song called "Travelling Home" that was similar enough to "Westering Home" to result in a 1960 lawsuit on behalf of Roberton's estate. During the trial several pipers testified that the tune was traditional and in circulation as "an old Highland air" at least by the beginning of the 20th century, but the question of antiquity has never been adequately determined.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Norris (Glendaruel Collection of Bagpipe Music), 1951; p. 17. Martin (Traditional Scottish Fiddling), 2002; p. 40. Tubridy (Irish Traditional Music, vol. 1), 1999; p. 1.

Recorded sources: Beltona Bel BL-2497 (78 RPM), “Jim Cameron’s Scottish Dance Band" (1949). Philips NBE-11057(EP), Brian Rooney – “Godfather.”

See also listing at:
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [2]
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recordings Index [3]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [4]
Hear the Corries' version on youtube.com

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