The Town I Loved So Well

"The Town I Loved So Well" is a song written by Phil Coulter about his childhood in Derry, Northern Ireland. The first three verses are about the simple lifestyle he grew up with in Derry, while the final two deal with the Troubles, and lament how his placid hometown had become a major military outpost, plagued with violence. The final verse includes a message of hope for a "bright, brand new day", saying "They will not forget but their hearts are set / on tomorrow and peace once again".


While Phil Coulter had written several Top 10 pop songs in the late 1960s (including Eurovision entries Puppet on a String and Congratulations), collaborations as a producer with The Dubliners and Luke Kelly, led to him writing a number of folk songs with more "grown-up" themes[1][2] including those with a political aspect.[3] The Town I Loved So Well was written against a backdrop of the Troubles in Derry, and released in 1973 on The Dubliners Plain and Simple album, which Coulter produced.[4]


The song has been covered by Dexys, the High Kings, Pierre Bensusan, Luke Kelly, Paddy Reilly, The Dubliners and The Irish Tenors. Johnny Logan covered the song on his 2007 album, The Irish Connection. It was also covered by Nathan Carter in his 2012 album The Live Show, and Carter sang a version of it live in Letterkenny with accompaniment from Coulter himself.

Translated covers
  • Tri Yann, a Breton band also covered the song, re-titled "La Ville que J'ai Tant Aimée", with lyrics in French
  • Dafydd Iwan recorded his own translation, "Y Dref a Gerais i Cyd" (The Town I Loved So Long) with Ar Log for their album Rhwng Hwyl a Thaith (Sain, 1982)
  • Hannes Wader recorded a German version, re-titled as "Kleine Stadt"
  • Lillebjørn Nilsen translated and recorded it in Norwegian as "Byen Jeg Kjente Som Min".

See also


  1. "The songs he writes so well". Galway Advertiser. 7 February 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  2. "With Luke Kelly badgering me, I had to write grown-up songs". Irish Independent. 31 March 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  3. Luke Kelly: Prince of the City (Television documentary). Ireland: RTÉ. December 2015.
  4. "From the Music Capitals of the World - Dublin". Billboard. 15 December 1973. p. 42.
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