I grew up in a three-storey house looking over the Wexford harbour. At night, especially a winter’s night, I loved to look out across the black water towards Wales, mesmerised by the glistening porthole lights of fishing boats in the distance. I loved to imagine the fishermen inside having tea or playing cards.

It was never my intention to emigrate or leave my large, loving family. But the first song I wrote was called “I Climb into My Boat” so that sea was beckoning even then, whether I liked it or not. This song tackles a very large subject; I have always admired Leonard Cohen for taking on subjects of biblical proportions, and telling the story concisely and economically. The only way to write a song like this is to have it come naturally, and know exactly where it is going, I personally could never fabricate it, I’m no good at fiction.

Stephen’s preparing to leave He has to go to the sea He’s been so mesmerized By glistening porthole lights Along the horizon line Imagining the life inside

Stephen believes in the blue Nothing but water and the roof Just like a burial ground Where the mourners are gone And there’s nothing around But the silence and the corpse best friend The weathered stone And the massive wild deep sky

He wants to leave while he can Otherwise he could lose his chance He knows he’s blessed with this A curious need to leave the nest Before the heart inside his chest Becomes too old to experiment

He wants to conquer his fears Counting the mounting years He wants to face the place Where nothing is but thoughtlessness A bed of sea And a roof of stars And there to be until he feels At peace with the dark

Oh darkness I know you are my friend And in the end I’ll be with you all alone I know you every night And I knew you in the womb You wait beyond the light Inside my tomb And I know I have to kiss you Before our wedding day And I know I have to kiss you Every night And I know I have to love you Before I let you go Then I’ll laugh at dark grey clouds Then I’ll see the setting sun with you And know darkness

Stephen’s preparing to leave He has to go to the sea