Projects / Household at The Maritime Festival

Folk Singing Workshop with Ruth Clinton

Friday 3rd September 2021
The American Bar, Sailortown

Household and artist Ruth Clinton, invited a small group to take part in a singing workshop in the cosy top floor of The American Bar. Ruth led the group in singing two songs; The Shipyard Slips by David Wilde (1977) and Farewell to Fiunary by Norman MacLeod (19th century). These songs explored fractured histories of place, representing the polyvocal nature of this historic Belfast area. 

This workshop coincided with the audio installation of The Shipyard Slips at Sinclair Seamen’s church, developed by Ruth Clinton, HIVE Choir and various digital participants. More here.

About Ruth Clinton

Ruth Clinton is an artist and musician living in Co. Sligo. She is co-founder of the Sacred Harp Singers in Dublin and is a member of traditional singing group Landless. Ruth also works as a collaborative duo with artist Niamh Moriarty using performance, video, sound installation and storytelling, along with a detailed research process, to convey visions of transience and resistance.

Photography by Simon Mills

The Shipyard Slips 
(David Wilde 1977)

From Belfast town I'm on my way
On a ship that was built for the tourist trade
I leave behind the land where I was born
And I won't return till my fortune is made
For I've served my time with the Island men
And I've known good times and work in plenty
But there's no work now in these troubled times
For the shipyard slips they're lying empty
Farewell to my father and my mother fair
Old age has laid its hand upon you
You've loved me well and never failed
And it's leaving your side my heart will rue.
I've promised to write when I've settled down
To ease your mind for I know you'll worry
Just think of the time when I'll return
But don't count the days for time won't hurry
I'll remember the hills and the fresh north air
I'll remember the girls with their friendly smiles
I'll think of the friends I love so dear,
And I hope my love transcends the miles.
And I'm leaving the land where I was born
But I long for the day of my returning
To a job, a home and peace of mind
For the Belfast people I'll always be yearning
Farewell to Fiunary
Written by Norman MacLeod in the 19th century about the Highland Clearances

The wind is fair, the day is fine
And swiftly, swiftly goes the time
The boat is waiting on the tide
To waft me far from Fiunary.
We must up and haste away,
We must up and haste away,
We must up and haste away,
Farewell, farewell to Fiunary.
A thousand, thousand tender ties
Wake within my mournful sighs
My heart within me almost dies
At thoughts of leaving Fiunary.
As I leave these happy vales
See them spread their flapping sails
Adieu, adieu my native dales
Farewell, farewell to Fiunary.

Thanks to our partners Daisy Chain Inc and our funders Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Belfast City Council, & Arts Council Northern Ireland.