A Mackerel Song – one more grip of life

I came across this song on the internet some years ago. I have tried to find it since with a view to piecing together where it might of come from but without any luck.

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I like the idea of the mackerel coming into the bay being that one more grip at life. It would make a good name for a book.

And it is easy to forget that under the surface of the land there are any number of old graves hidden away. Drive through some of the back roads of the Mizen and there will be a sign that will take you to an old graveyard, stones hardly there and collapsing back into the green grass.

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There’s mackerel in the bay, my lads
There’s mackerel in the bay;
Get out your boats and hoist your sails,
And let us haste away.
There’s bread upon the waters, lads,
There’s food for wean and wife,
There’s mackerel in the bay, my lads,
And one more grip of life.
 
The herring’s gone for good, my lads;
We ploughed the sea lang syne
Whene’er upon the moonlit nights
We saw the silvery shine.
We rushed towards the cobles, lads,
When herring came our way;
But now they’re gone for good, my lads;
But mackerel’s in the bay.
 
We trimmed the salmon nets, my lads
And darned, and wove, and spun,
Whenever, in the summer moons,
There seemed a goodly run;
But salmon don’t come near us, lads,
Until the season’s past.
There’s mackerel in the bay, my lads;
Let’s go and make a cast.
 
The white fish were our joy, my lads,
Whene’er the winter came;
We hauled them in hand over hand,
And then made off for home.
But now they’ve got the trawler, lads,
And cables are laid by;
But mackerel’s in the bay, my lads;
Let’s have another try.
 
The fisher’s life is hard, my lads,
Between the wind and sea;
But what! We’ve chose the fisher’s life –
Jack, Tom, and you, and me.
The fish that were our living, lads,
Are driven far way;
But mackerel’s in the bay my lads
There’s mackerel in the bay.
 
There’s bread upon the waters, lads,
There’s food for wean and wife,
There’s mackerel in the bay, my lads,
And one more grip of life.
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