The chief offenders on this score were a band called The Wolfe Tones. They were - in almost every way - the worst example of Irish balladeers. A dumb commercialised Irish National Republicanism with cod-trad arrangements and four vocalists singing in unison.
But they had one song - The Streets of New York - that is fabulously written and arranged. And it's all about the sorrow of immigration.
Here's the plot (full lyrics here, but this is a condensed version):
Fathers brother (a New York Cop) phones father in Ireland and says 'send the lad over'. Father weeps, gives son the best wishes of poor dead mother, sends son on plane to New York. While son is actually on the plane over, the Cop brother is shot and son arrives to the news that 'poor Bengy was lying in a cold city morgue'.
Son gets a tough job, then hears of fathers death. Flies back to gaze on 'the poor wasted face of my father'
"I sold up the farmyard for what it was worth
and into my bag, I put a handful of earth.
Then I boarded a train and I caught me a train
And I ended up back in the US again
Now it's twenty two years since I set foot in Dublin
My kids know to use the correct knife and fork
But I'll never forget the green fields and the rivers
As I keep law and order on the streets of New York"