Tony Kirwan Music


singer and songwriter

Oh Father Dear

A song for a father by his son Tony Kirwan

One day I wrote a poem for my dad – Joe. He was in a care home with dementia, and I tried to write something from my heart, as to how my father might have seen things from his perspective. Like “why am I in care, there’s nothing wrong with me ?”

After that people said to me, try to convert the poem to song. For me that would have spoiled something I held precious, so I decided to write song instead. And I came up with Lana’s song, it’s about my daughter and I was returning home from a long stay abroad. I vowed this time, that I was going home for the last time, meaning I’d stay home for good and end my hunger for travel. Then I was baited for writing more, and I came up with Oh Father Dear.

It was painfully real, with a twist of imagination of being back in olden times. For example poorer Irish emigration times, with a lifetime story in 8 verses of song. I had visited Dad earlier that day in the care home and when I went in his room, he was smiling so much and had thought I’d been away for 30 years in Chicago, when in fact I was home from Thailand 6 months. He thought I had emigrated to America 30 years ago. I was so moved that day, I went home and wrote Oh Father Dear. Every verse was painful because I tried to write a lifetime of memories, growing up in a wonderful home and family with two fantastic parents, into a song with an emigration feel and all I could think of was that Tom Cruise movie Far and Away where the young man was leaving Ireland because of troubled times and his father was trying to hold in his sadness but being strong in front of his troubled son and sending him off with a leaving of home with distress and emptiness.

Tears was shed for every verse but eventually I had a song to cherish for a lifetime, Oh Father Dear.