President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins invited Irish musician Dan McCabe to perform a special rendition of the beloved Irish ballad ‘The Parting Glass’ on New Year’s Eve to close out 2020 and pay homage to those lost throughout the year.

In the video that debuted on December 31, President Higgins remarked: “As we emerge from the year of COVID, it is appropriate that we remember all of those that have departed from us during the year, and those they have left behind, and did not have the opportunity of grieving for them in the way that is so traditional and so central to Irish life.

“As a gesture to them both, and on behalf of all of us, Sabina and I are so pleased to have Dan McCabe perform ‘The Parting Glass’ as we leave this tough year behind.

“May we wish you all a year of health and fulfillment in 2021.”

McCabe’s special New Year’s Eve performance is part of the President’s ‘Samhlaíocht agus An Náisiún / Imagination and the Nation’ initiative, highlighting the powerful and transformative role of art and creativity in society.

Speaking after the debut of the performance, McCabe said on Facebook: "Bar the birth of my daughter, this was the proudest moment of my life.

"To be invited to Áras an Uachtaráin by request of the President of Ireland to sing a song dedicated to the people of Ireland is beyond anything I ever could have dreamed of.

"I’ve said it already but I don’t think I could ever say it enough, Thank you so much to each and every one of you for all the support you have shown me. It’s been a long journey for me and I still feel like I’m only getting started but everyone who has been listening and sharing my music has made this journey a real-life rollercoaster. I’m so humbled by you all!  

"Regardless, if I never sang another song I could die a happy man with this achievement and I’m eternally grateful to all of the people who have supported me the last while. I love you all!   

"Here’s to the New Year and goes without saying that 2020 was one we will never forget.

"This song is dedicated to all the people who have sadly lost their lives to Covid and to their families also.

"I’ll be filling a parting glass tonight to ring out this year and as hard as of a year as it was I will cherish all the good that’s happened."

The Parting Glass lyrics

Though sometimes varying, the lyrics of the centuries-old ballad The Parting Glass typically go as such:

Of all the money that e'er I spent

I've spent it in good company

And all the harm that ever I did

Alas it was to none but me

And all I've done for want of wit

To memory now I can't recall

So fill to me the parting glass

Good night and joy be with you all

If I had money enough to spend

And leisure to sit awhile

There is a fair maid in the town

That sorely has my heart beguiled

Her rosy cheeks and ruby lips

I own she has my heart enthralled

So fill to me the parting glass

Good night and joy be with you all

Oh, all the comrades that e'er I had

They're sorry for my going away

And all the sweethearts that e'er I had

They'd wish me one more day to stay

But since it falls unto my lot

That I should rise and you should not

I'll gently rise and softly call

Good night and joy be with you all

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