The Ellan Vannin Tragedy

from by Michael Kelly

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about

This song tells the story of the shipwreck of the SS Ellan
Vannin on December the third in 1909. Captained by
James Teare of Douglas, a seaman of 18 years experience,
the ship set out in what began as untroubled waters but
steadily grew into storm force 11 winds and 20-foot
waves. Of the twenty-one crew and fifteen passengers,
none survived the wreck. This version of the song is one
that I learned from a father/daughter fiddler and flutist duo
a number of years back, and is short by a verse from the
full version penned by Hughie Jones of 'Spinners' fame. For
completeness and in respect to Hughie, I include the last
verse here, though it doesn't appear in the version that I sing.

You Manxmen now remember,
The third day of the month December
Of a terrible storm in Nineteen Nine
Ellan Vannin sailed for the very last time

lyrics

Snaefell, Tynwald, Ben My Chree
Fourteen ships have sailed the sea
Proudly bearing a Manx name
But there's one will never again
Oh Ellan Vannin, of the Isle of Man Company
Oh Ellan Vannin, lost in the Irish Sea

At one a.m. in Ramsey bay
Captain Teare was heard to say
"Our contract said deliver the mail
in this rough weather we must not fail"
Oh Ellan Vannin, of the Isle of Man Company
Oh Ellan Vannin, lost in the Irish Sea

Ocean liners sheltered from the storm
Ellan Vannin on the waves was borne
Her hold was full and battened down
As she sailed towards far Liverpool Town
Oh Ellan Vannin, of the Isle of Man Company
Oh Ellan Vannin, lost in the Irish Sea

With a crew of twenty-one Manx men
Her passengers, Liverpool businessmen
Farewell to Mona's Isle, farewell
This little ship was bound for hell
Oh Ellan Vannin, of the Isle of Man Company
Oh Ellan Vannin, lost in the Irish Sea

Less than a mile from the Bar lightship
By a mighty wave Ellan Vannin was hit
She sank in the waters of Liverpool Bay
There she lies until this day
Oh Ellan Vannin, of the Isle of Man Company
Oh Ellan Vannin, lost in the Irish Sea

credits

from Fields of the North, released February 1, 2003
Guitar, Vocals - Michael Kelly
Cello - Christina Zaenker
Backup Vocals - Cassandra Chowdhury
Melody, Lyrics - Hughie Jones, used with permission

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Michael Kelly Vancouver, British Columbia

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