Annie Moore Descendent Sings “Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears”

Paul Linehan. Photo: Margaret Purcell

The 2016 Irish America Hall of Fame marked the upcoming anniversary of Annie Moore’s entrance to the United States with the first-time meeting of the descendants and relatives of Moore, the first person to pass through Ellis Island when it opened January, 1, 1892. Among the family members present was Irish tenor Paul Linehan, who closed out the evening with a final song, “Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears,” a ballad chronicling Moore’s experiences of immigration.

Moore, who was born in County Cork, was only a teenager when she passed through, became a mystery soon after immigrating. Genealogist Megan Smolenyak spent ten years researching Moore, and was the first to discover she had been misidentified several years ago. Her account of this research, including the discovery of her descendants, appears in an article in the April / May issue of Irish America.

“Folks, it is such an honor for us to be here,” Linehan said. “I just met my cousin for the first time ever and there has been a lot of talking. Very important people talked—I am not one of them, but my ancestor was Annie Moore and really it is such a big deal for our family. So thank you, thank you for welcoming her and all of the Irish Americans that came as a result. It’s been a big deal for us, so I am going to finish with this song so thank you for that.”


“Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears”

On the first day of January, 1892

They opened Ellis Island,

And they let the people through

And the first to cross the threshold of that land of hope and fears,

Was Annie Moore from Ireland,

Who was only 15 years

 

Isle of hope, isle of tears,

Isle of freedom, isle of fears

But it’s not the isle you’ve left behind,

That isle of hunger, isle of pain,

Isle you’ll never see again,

But the isle of home is always on your mind.

 

In a little bag she carried

All her dreams and history,

And her dreams for the future

In the land of liberty

And courage is the passport,

When your old world disappears

But there’s no future in the past when you are 15 years

 

Isle of hope, isle of tears,

Isle of freedom, isle of fears

But it’s not the isle you’ve left behind,

That isle of hunger, isle of pain,

Isle you’ll never see again,

But the isle of home is always on your mind. ♦

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