Derry Girls


Chorus: See the young Derry girls running down to the quay

There’s a ship with Yankee sailors just in from the sea

They’ll give you gum and nylons and if you’re real lucky

You’ll be a GI bride and end up living in Kentucky


There’s a town way up in Ireland that’s on the river Foyle

Where’s there’s no work for the men, and the women do the toil

They slave in the factories making shirts for the navy

They get a half an hour for lunch, just potato soup and gravy


Ma worked there in Tillie’s factory, learned to make shirts

Ten hours every day, and got treated just like dirt

The horn would sound, the factory gate stayed open just till eight

If she came only a second late, it’d get slammed in her face


All the men trained greyhounds, there was nothing else to do

They raced them at the Brandywell, but mostly they would lose

They hung around street corners, waiting for the dole

Or down Stanley’s Walk by the gas yard to queue up for the coal


The lucky men that had a job worked at the quay as dockers

My da went off to Scotland to be a tatie-hoker

My sisters both had no choice but to leave school at fourteen

And run to join the factory girls, making blouses for the Queen


They say it was the worst of times in Derry in those days

Men worked across the Irish Sea to get a decent pay

And the girls escaped by marrying the sailor of their choice

And moved to Utah, Idaho, Chicago or Detroit