You are on page 1of 24

Sliabh Luachra Lectures

Ballydesmond, Sliabh Luachra, Ireland


Friday February 6, 2015

Lecture 4
Speaker: Tim Browne
The Songs of Duhallow

Dancer
(for Sarah Curran)
Words by Donal Siodhachin
Music by Tim Browne
She dances a dance by herself,
And smiles to a face in her mind,
Longing for arms that held her
In a land thats far behind.
Away from the parents she cherished,
In sad exile far oer the sea,
Her dreams are centred in Ireland
And the things now that never can be.
She dances a dance by herself,
And smiles to a face in her mind,
Longing for arms that held her
In a land thats far behind.
When Erin was broken and bleeding
And the tyrant secure in his seat,
Her lover had raised a rebellion
That ended in loss and defeat.
And she dances a dance by herself,
She smiles to a face in her mind,
Longing for arms that held her
In a land thats far behind.
The cruel foe her Emmet had hunted
Before he was captured and tried,
But he stood by the cause he defended
And true to them both he had died.
She dances a dance by herself,
And smiles to a face in her mind,
Longing for arms that held her
In a land thats far behind.
She dances a dance by herself,
And she smiles to a face in her mind,

Longing for arms that held her


In a land thats far behind.

So, Dia daoibh, agus cad mle filte de gach inne sa sheomra. Welcome to Teach an
Fhile. I just started there with a song that I put a melody to. Its a poem that Donal
wrote some years ago, when we started off the File Dthalla, there about six or seven
years ago. So, just to mark where we are I said Id start that way.
Welcome anyway, and Ill give you an idea what Im going to do for the next hour, and
feel free to throw stuff up at me if Im getting side-tracked. So, Ill sing a few songs
that are relevant, probably five or six songs, that are relevant to Duhallow and the
greater area we are calling Duhallow. For anyone who mightnt be from the area,
Duhallow is roughly the area thats between, I suppose, the the Mullaghareirk
Mountains and the Boggaraghs, like from Rathmore-ish, I suppose, to Mallow. Thats
roughly the confines of Duhallow, but its not. . . theres several what would you call it.
. . were not aliens or strangers to our neighbours. Ill sing five or six songs anyway,
and well take a look at some of the writers of the songs over the past couple of
hundred years. This is the English language singing tradition of Duhallow Im going to
focus on.
My interest in the songs is in the historical perspective of the songs. Well tell a few
stories and Ill come back to that historical perspective of the songs later on. At the
end well hopefully sing a few songs or one song anyway together. I have a handout
here of a song and Im going to hand it out at the very end. And Pat will give a little
talk at the very end, because tonight is the last night in the four-part series that she
put together, which has been a great success, and fair play to her for doing it.
So, who are we going to talk about? John Philpot Curran, you might have heard of him;
Edward Holland, he was a barber poet, kind of contemporaneous with John Philpot
Curran. This is in the English language side of it now, but they are contemporaneous
with Eoghan Rua Silleabhin, so if you know that time, its like you know the late
1700s, or mid-1700s to the early 1800s. So, well be looking at other people like
Edward Walsh, who Fr JJ has edited in his Tragic Troubadour. Hes an authority, an
international authority, on Edward Walsh. Donal also edited Walsh, and well come
back to him. Patrick Vaughan, Bill Flynn, Dan Sheahan, Denis Lane, Dan OHorgan
theyre just some of the names Ill be bouncing off and you mightnt have, some of you
mightnt have heard of these people, so thats why Ive picked a small cross section,
because its far too complex and deep to go into the whole lot of the singing tradition,
because its going way back.
So, what they all have on common is that theyve written songs that youd still hear.
You know, you mightnt hear them every night like, but they are there. And, you know,
thats what were trying to save. And it will become more apparent, anyway.
So, this fella here, this book Stories in Song is a project that was done in 2006/2007.
It was launched in 2007 and it was funded by, part-funded by An Deis scheme of the
Irish Arts Council, and IRD Duhallow also threw up a few bob. It didnt quite cover it,
but it got it done, and this was a great start to it, because it collected stuff that had
already been published in several different publications, like Cumann Luachra and
Seanachas Duhallow, and maybe the Boherbue Millenium Magazine, and little
parochial magazines that came out over the last forty or fifty years. A lot of the time
they tend to use a page maybe, to fill up a page, someone will have an old song or an
2

old poem. Tis a great place to collect stuff - a bit like Irelands Own or that, that youd
have a kind of a song out on its own, with no knowledge of who wrote it, but people
had it, and I collected quite a few of them and put them into one dedicated collection,
as a start. Its called Volume 1. So, Ill be drawing on that. And theres quite a bit of
material. Theres about a hundred or so pieces in that collection.
So, the songs in the collection, they deal with a lot of different topics, like theres songs
there from The Land League; theres songs there loads of them from the War of
Independence; theres songs of love; theres songs of love of place; immigration; the
supernatural; satirical and political . . . some of them are very good; and well just
bounce off a couple of them, just for the flavour of it. As I said earlier, it is from the
historical perspective is what I like about them. This is my interest in singing them. It
can be a very, very informative means of trying to look at local history. History, as you
know can be written . . . tis the winner writes the history, but the bard records it
properly.
So, well just have a quick look at the words well be using, like folk song. I started
with a contemporary folk song. So well just have a quick look at those kinds of
definitions, to get us into the start of the first song, because these words come up so
often through the texts.
The earliest musical instrument we know is the human voice. Humans were imitating
animals, and beating sticks off of hollow timber, and making sounds. The earliest
records, the scholars tell us, is that this type of writing was on clay tablets called
cuneiform. The earliest form of written song dates to five thousand years ago. Theyre
known as the Mesopotamia Hurriam Songs. So there was a lot of action going on there.
It was a very advanced culture, over there in the Middle East.
Theres an Epitaph in Turkey which has words and music dated to around 200BC 100
AD. The Old Testament tells of Moses leading the chosen few from slavery, and when
they got to the other side they had a big Halleluiah, they sang a song, a hymn, of
deliverance. The New Testament has mention of singing at the Last Supper. And that
brings us on up to Pope Gregory in the Middle Ages, and the Gregorian chant, and
people singing together in choirs. And there was a lot of secrecy attached to it.
Then up to the eighteenth century I know Im jumping very fast but up to the
eighteenth century a new word came into the . . . sorry the mid-nineteenth century . .
. a word called folklore was introduced, and it kind of . . . it created a lot of different
genres, like folk music, folk dance, folk culture. That all comes under the folklore
brand, or the name folklore.
That causes difficulty when you are trying to explain it, because its very hard to say
what a folk song should have, or shouldnt have, to categorise it as a folk song. What
would be the characteristic of a folk song? Well theres many different ones: a
traditional song which would have a modern interpretation, like Bob Dylan, Planxty,
Sean Corcoran, these people, the Clancy Brothers in the 1960s. They were taking old
songs and giving them modern interpretations, which you would do, just like I did
there, and that would be classed as contemporary folk music.
But all these songs from the old time . . . a traditional folk song is usually . . . just before
I get to that, Ill just mention, theres a nice little reference here that I came across
today, from Colm Lochlainn, who was a great collector of music. He regarded himself
3

as a ballad monger. In 1965, this is what he said about the ballad, and its an
interesting little . . . He says, the ballad, an authentic reflex of the Irish spirit, in Gaelic
or English, has come into its own. Organisations like An ige, Mintr na Tre, the ICA,
Macra na Firme . . . have revived these country songs with enthusiasm. Hardly a night
but some common room, club hall or public house resounds with ballads, the most
popular being those with a chorus. I have known ballads in Irish and English sung and
taken up with joy in Norway, Belgium, Holland, France and Germany at international
conferences. One might almost claim for the ballad a good share in building
International friendship. Thats a pretty strong statement there. Starting in the
twentieth century, a new form of popular folk music evolved from traditional folk
music. Many songs the people sang long ago, and which are now sung and interpreted
in modern times, are generally termed contemporary folk songs.
So, if that kind of makes sense . . . its kind of self-evident. If you hear a traditional
singer, youd know a traditional singer. Scholars agree that theres no easy way to
explain what a folk song is, in musical terms, but the common form in folk is usually,
AA BB, just like a jig. You have the first part repeated and a double second part
repeated, just like the rhythm of it. Its not always that way, but thats the general kind
of rhythm of the folk song.
Broadly speaking, traditional folk songs are regarded as meaning that the composer is
unknown and the song was handed down orally, from generation to generation.
Thats a pretty good one, that you can be nearly sure . . . thats called the oral tradition,
by most people, and some scholars would believe that writing a thing down, or
recording signing that comes from that oral tradition, dilutes it. But theres others
who would say that, by writing it down you preserve it. So thats an ongoing argument
as to what writing down does to a very, very vibrant oral tradition, that went on for
years, for centuries.
Another explanation is that a folk song undergoes an evolutionary process through its
oral transmission, and the working and reworking of a song by the community thats
what gives it its folk character. Brendan Kennelly, the Kerry poet, he put it very nicely
in one of his poems, he says, All songs are living ghosts, and long for a living voice.
And thats a very, very strong statement too. Its a lovely one, because thats exactly
what they are. They are no good unless you sing them. It is on paper, but you have to
give it, and by giving it life . . . its the same as a tune; you are inviting the magic thats
there through you; you are the conduit to provide the magic. And thats what hes
saying.
So a good way to explain what a folk song is simply would be, like, its the songs that
the people sang. They sang them because, you know, they were their songs, they were
their stories, and thats why they sang them. So thats a very good explanation.
And I have a nice one here that came from Louis Armstrong . . . he was a great
American musician . . . he was asked the question one time, Louis, what is folk music?
Satchmo, as he was called said, All music is folk music, he said I aint ever heard a
horse singing a song. Twas was well put, like!
So Im going to sing five or six songs here from . . . theyre all to do with the locality . .
. and just little pieces . . . for example the first song Im going to sing, because of St
Bridgets Day, the feast of Imbolg was just a couple of days ago, and this is a magical
4

time of the year. Tonight Im going to sing Tureengarriffe Glen that was an
engagement by the local company on the twenty-eighth of January, 1921, and its only
down the road there. That was last week. I got a lot of information from Johnny
Mahony, Lord have mercy on him. He was buried last Sunday.
So, Ive another one from the War of Independence, the Ballad of High Mill Lane. Its
an example of a song that, probably, what it recorded didnt happen at all. And theres
quite a few of those songs. Im not going to go into the subcategory of those types of
songs; we just wouldnt have time. Its interesting nonetheless.
And then we have another type of song, local anthems, songs that are very, very
unique, maybe even to a house. You might never hear them unless you were at a party
in the house. You know, a GAA club, if they won something, they probably had a
unique song. You know, Newmarket would have Up, Up Newmarket, or Sweet
Kingwilliamstown, or Kanturk, the Pride of Brogeen, or whatever. Theyre local
anthems, and they have a huge place in their community.
And then theres a few others that Ill come off of, so I think I have enough talking done
now for a minute and, as I was just saying there, the song Im going to sing is Brighidn
Bn mo Str. When I was doing this project some years ago, I was in constant touch,
many times, with Father JJ, and he was brilliant, sending me all sorts of stuff, cuttings
and photocopies from The Nation. And this song appeared in The Nation on the
eleventh of January, 1845. So Ill just give you that song first, and Im going to go over
here to sing. Its called Brighidn Bn mo Str. And its very interesting. Ill just talk a
small bit about if after, but Ill just sing it first. Theres a few different versions of this.
Its the same lyric, but the melodies are slightly different. Sean S sings it, and
theres a very famous Scottish singer called Andy Stewart, he sings it. But I didnt know
it was a song at the time, and I kind of put my own melody to it. It is very, very like
Andy Stewarts, by pure coincidence. It was two years later I found it out. This is the
way I sing it, when I sing it, and it is a love song.
Brighidn Bn m Str
Words by Edward Walsh
Music by Tim Browne
I am a wandering minstrel man
And loves my only theme
Ive strayed beside the pleasant Bann
And neath the Shannons stream
Ive piped and played to wife and maid
By Barrow, Suir and Nore
But never met a maiden yet
Like Brighidn bn mo str.
My girl hath ringlets rich and rare
By natures fingers wove
Loch Carras swan is not so fair
As is her breast of love
And when she moves in Sunday sheen
Beyond our cottage door
Id scorn the highborn Saxon queen
For Brighidn bn mo str.
It is not that thy smile is sweet

And soft thy voice of song


Its not that thou fleest to meet
My coming lone and long
But that doth rest beneath her breast
A heart of purest core
Whose pulse is known to me alone
My Brighidn bn mo str.
I am a wandering minstrel man
And loves my only theme
Ive strayed beside the pleasant Bann
And neath the Shannon stream
Ive piped and played to wife and maid
By Barrow, Suir and Nore
But never met a maiden yet
Like Brighidn bn mo str.

Ah yeah, I know exactly now what I want to say about it: it is not Brighidn Bn mo Str
at all I want to talk about; it is Mairead N Ceallaigh. Thats one of Edward Walshs
very famous songs, and when I was trying to collect material to put it into a collection,
I recorded Bernadette OShea Bernadette Collins that time, I think. No, she was
married. Bernie used to sing this song a lot. I have a field recording of it. I wont play
it now, but Ill play it after if anyone wants to hear it, because she sent me a tape of
herself singing it, and thats what we use as the notation for the song in the book.
But theres a very interesting little side line here that I found out when I was doing
this, and thats what the researching . . . if I can call it, what I did, research . . . there
was a very interesting thing in it. The story of Donal ACasca. He was one of the
OKeeffes. And he was a bandido, and he was going over to Castlemagner, doing all
sorts of raiding of cattle, and burning houses and everything. Jim Cronin of Newmarket
pointed this out to me, and he was a great help when I was putting this together. He
put me on to the writing of the late Brother Allen from Newmarket. Brother Allen was
a great scholar, and theres three little letter references here, and theyre well worth
reading out, because it puts a different slant completely on the song, and the story of
the song, that Mairead N Ceallaigh betrayed OKeeffe and he killed her. Kasky the
English used to call him, he killed her, and thats the way the song goes. And he was
got himself, like.
But according to this, that might not be the case at all. You can make up your own
mind about it. [Egmont MSS, Vol I, Part 2, Richard Beare to John Percival, 1653,
November 5, Mallow] About the twenty-first, Kasky came to Liscarroll with a party,
and drove away all Magners cattle and mine. By chance, a shot from the castle killed
one of his best horses, whereupon he set three or four houses afire, and also a rick of
furze, but the tenants saved them (p. 526).
So he was definitely a tough man, like. So this is the next letter, from Richard Beare,
Lieutenant Richard Beare, who was the landlord, or the main overseer at that time for
the Egmont estate. [1654, January 23] Col Murtagh OBryan and Col Driscoll, with all
their party are come in, and to come in they bring the heads of the rest. None stays
out but Casca, who will not as much as admit to a treaty without an Act of Oblivion
(p. 524). (I wont go into the Act of Oblivion, that was a kind of pardon at the time, of
that English Charles, that king.) He that is born to be hanged will never be drowned,
6

is how he concluded that communiqu from Richard Beare to John Percival. The
Percivals were the family . . . they had a title . . . they lived over there where Noel
comes from. He could tell you a lot about the Egmonds.
This is the interesting one, now. [Richard Beare to John Percival, 1654, February 3]
Now that the Tories are all come in, Kasky has now done so and is said to be clear of
the murder laid to his charge, in which case he will be transported with the rest.
So, whatever happened to him after that . . . was he transported, or was he executed?
Its a nice one. So, from the song you wouldnt think that, that he might have got
away. Its just another thing that leads you into that type of historical outlook.
Right, Im back on track again, now. John Philpot Curran is the next one Im going to
have a look at, because when we finish this session I have a little handout here . . . and
he wrote some great songs. Im trying to make a point here, and Im a bit slow about
it, but Ill get to it. The song is called The Deserters Lamentation. I have a broadsheet
copy of it that I got, but not a physical copy. It is a song thats still sung. Ive heard it
in Newmarket several times. Why its a very interesting look is that its sung to the
very popular air of Phreab san l. Do you know that air, Phreab san l? Most of you
know it, yes?
So, its very interesting. Padraic Colum, in his Anthology of Irish Verse, published in
1920, wrote: This poem (hes talking about The Deserters Lamentation; it will
become a bit clearer to you when you see the words of it, but well leave it go to the
end, because its a nice little parting song) marks the first departure in Anglo-Irish
poetry from the traditional Irish forms towards the Gaelic forms.
When the likes of Curran, who was a musician, and he was raised bilingually, and he
was a great musician . . . Thomas Moore seemingly got a melody from him . . . Curran
lost a child and he used to play the cello, and he used to play out the window to her
grave, and Thomas Moore seemingly picked up on the melody, and tis one of Currans
melodies. He was an accomplished musician because Petrie collected him, from his
son, and Ill get to that as well because its interesting. But Padraic Colum says, this
poem marks the first departure in Anglo-Irish poetry from the traditional Irish forms
towards the Gaelic forms.
So, John Philpot Curran, he was 1750 1817, thats roughly the time, and theres
complete . . . with who I mentioned earlier, Edward Holland, the barber poet. Was this
the start of barber shop singing, or what? It mightnt have been, but he was writing
poetry about the French Revolution and stuff like that. Im not going to go into that
because thats another avenue altogether, but he was doing some . . . you can imagine
going in to get your hair cut and listening to a fella who was rattling off stuff about
things, you know . . . there was no internet that time. So where was he getting his
propaganda? I dont know. Hes there and I have some information. Theres very little
information about him but he did publish, in 1792 I think it was, there was a work
published, and the only information I have about him and some of his . . . I have a
number of his pieces, I sourced it to a JCHAS volume, 1904 I think it is, Im not quite
sure, Id have to check the reference, but a guy wrote an article about him at that time,
and thats about the only thing I could ever find on him. Theres a few people have
heard of him but hes like one of those . . . well keep chasing after him, youd never
know. We might be able to find the book and see if theres anything in there. But
7

thats the kind of time frame, as I said, contemporaneous with Eoghan Rua
Silleabhin. Stark contrast, which there still is, between the eastern and western side
of the barony. This is whats happening over here, and the Gaelic tradition is still here
on this side of it.
The next thing Im going to do, Im going to sing a song, because at least I can do that,
some way. And the next song Im going to sing is The Bold Thady Quill. Oh, you might
say, Thats a Muskerry song. It is a Muskerry song, of course, but if youre going to
categorise songs by that way, it kind of . . . these are popular songs of the locality. The
Bold Thady Quill is an amazing song, and this is the example Im using about the
historical perspective, because the great works that come out, you know the Seanchas
Duhallows and those Cumann Luachras, those little magazines that people make
available, they are amazing records of local history and local goings on, and when I
came across this Bold Thady Quill, I think it was the 1993 edition of the Seanchas
Duhallow, and there was a man called James Chisman, he was an academic from
America, and he was over in UCC and he got friends with John Murphy. There was an
article printed in the Seanchas and it gave the background, the backdrop, to The Bold
Thady Quill.
The Bold Thady Quill, everyone regards it as a singing song, you know, or a drinking
song, drinking black porter as fast as youll fill, etc, etc, and everyone knew it that
way. And it became extremely popular in the 1930s and the 1940s, probably because
Sean Siochin was the head of the GAA, and he was a good man to drink a pint, Id
say, and sing a song, and he used to sing it. And then shortly after that Niall Tobins
father recorded a version of it in Irish. And maybe ten years later then, Waltons came
out with a kind of altered version.
So The Bold Thady was a song that was changing . . . Chisholm reckoned it was written
around 1888, because its a song of the Land League. So Ive jumped from Edward
Walsh now up to the Land League. Im trying to bring it up. I started contemporary,
went back to the start of when English language songs are coming into the tradition,
and working back up. Jaysus, it took me a while! I thought Id be there a bit quicker!
But what harm. So look, if you know bits of this song . . . theres different ways of
interpreting it. I like to think he was lampooning Thady Quill, but I have a great story
that differs a bit from the normal way that people think the song is about. I got it from
Con Tarrant, in Banteer, who was just buried a couple of months ago, so this is a nice
way to keep him alive, or at least a memory anyway. Con had a great story, and Ill tell
you after singing the song, because it differs very much to . . . you could actually get it
out of the song, but thats what songs do, you know? Everyone gets a different
interpretation. But it does record some very, very nice information, and Ill sing the
song first and Ill just go a small bit into the historical perspective of it. And then Ill
sing a few more songs after that.
So, if youd like to sing along with it. This version of it has three or four verses that
youd never kind of hear really. Theres a few people sing them. Im probably the only
one that sings the whole lot of it, but there is other people that do it. Up to that article
by Chisholm, The Bold Thady Quill was two or three verses maybe, or four verses if you
add the extra verse . . . God I never heard that one before! And this one has nine, or
eight, I think! And it tells a great story, because after the Cork Exhibition, he heads off
for Kerry, and he gets into desperate trouble altogether in Kerry; he gets jail and
everything, but . . . he was a tough man.
8

The Bold Thady Quill


Words by Johnny Tom Gleeson
Ye maids of Duhallow thatre anxious for courting
A word of advice sure I will give unto ye
Proceed to Banteer to the athletic racing
And hand in your names to the bold committee
Ah but do not commence any sketch of your programme
Til the carriage you notice coming over the hill
For flying through the valleys and hills of Kilcorney
The Muskerry sportsman the bold Thady Quill.
Bold Thady is famous all over the nation
At sports and at races hes very well known
Hes the only young rake that can court all the ladies
From Bantry Bay to the County Tyrone
There is no young lady from Kerry to Coachford
That would not allow but him fast at her will
Theres a man in Duhallow, Kanturk or Kilcorney
Can bowl play or goal with the bold Thady Quill.
Bold Thady is famous in many more places
At the athletic races held out in Cloghroe
There he won the shot put without throwing off his waistcoat
All fifty-four feet of the shot did he throw
And at throwing of the weights there was a Dublin chap foremost
But the Muskerry sportsman exceeded him still
And around the arena with a wide-ranging chorus
Heres luck to our hero, the bold Thady Quill!
Chorus:
For ramblin', for rovin', for football or courtin'
For drinkin' black porter as fast as you'd fill
In all your days rovin' you'll find none so jovial
As our Muskerry sportsman, the bold Thady Quill.
At the great hurling match between Cork and Tipperary
(Twas played in the park on the banks of the Lee)
Our Gaelic young boys were afraid of being beaten
So they sent for bold Thady of Ballinagree
Well he hurled the ball right and left in their faces
And showed the Tipperary boys action and skill
And if they crossed on his lines sure he swore he would brain them
And the papers were full of the praise of Thade Quill.
At the Cork Exhibition there was a fair lady
Whose fortune exceeded a million or more
But a bad constitution had ruined her completely
And medical treatment had failed o'er and o'er
O, Mother, says she, sure I know what will heal me
And cure this disease that will certainly kill

Give over your doctors and medical treatment


Sure, I'd rather one squeeze of the bold Thady Quill.
Chorus:
For ramblin', for rovin', for football or courtin'
For drinkin' black porter as fast as you'd fill
In all your days rovin' you'll find none so jovial
As our Muskerry sportsman, the bold Thady Quill.
On his rambles through Kerry his story was painful
He witnessed quite plainly the flames of that day
The evictions of Hussey near Sneem in Kenmare
And he challenged Lord Clare in the town of Tralee
Well he loaded his rifle, and he swore that bejaysus
Right through their brains he would lodge the contents
If they dared to continue their savage outrages
Those fat-bellied bears that were raising the rent.
In the year eighty-one before Parnell was taken
Thade was outrageously breaking the peace
He was bound up in chains for two years in Kilmainham
With six months hard labour for beatin' police
But in spite of coercion he's still agitating
The blood of his brains he's quite willing to spill
For to gain for old Ireland entire separation
Till tis achieved theres no peace for Thade Quill.
There was an old prophecy came to light lately
Stating quite plainly that Thade would be seen
In Parliament pleading the rights of old Ireland
With Parnell our Chairman in fair College Green
And the green harp of Tara thats silent for ages
Once more would awaken us lively and shrill
And sing for triumphant old Ireland the nation
Long Live the Land League and the bold Thady Quill!
Chorus:
For ramblin', for rovin', for football or courtin'
For drinkin' black porter as fast as you'd fill
In all your days rovin' you'll find none so jovial
As our Muskerry sportsman, the bold Thady Quill.

Question: Where is he buried Tim?


TB: Im not sure. Is he buried out in Rylane? I dont know. But there was a plaque put
up to him in the 1970s up in Rylane, and Sean ORiada unveiled it, and he said, Not
only is it the national anthem of Cork, he said, it should be the national anthem of
Ireland.
But this is a good example of the historical perspective that I was trying to articulate
there earlier. The evictions of Hussey in Sneem near Kenmare so whos this dude
Hussey? Hussey turns out to be Samuel J Hussey, an amazing dude altogether. He
devised a system of collecting rent, and he was very good at it, so he got an awful lot
of people evicted and he used to continually arm himself. But luckily he wrote a book;
10

its called Reminiscences of an Irish Land Agent, and some of it is very funny. He gives
a great picture, especially from the perspective of the landlord. You know, sometimes
we dont tend to look at those spaces. I read that book some years ago, and I was very
interested in one particular person mentioned in the book, Malcolm Richard Leeson
Marshall, who was his sub-agent. Hes on my Deed, his name is on my Deed, the Deed
of my house. So you can do little tracings, these songs take you there . . . But Hussey
was fire-bombed out of Castleisland by the Moonlighters, and thats why he was armed
all the time, because they used to take shots at him. And there was a very funny story
told about the parish priest back there, I dont know was it from Cordal, Im not exactly
sure, but he was giving his sermon one day, anyway, and he was giving out about drink.
And he was saying, like, you know, It is drink that is making ye fight, and it is drink
thats making ye sick, and its drink thats making you lose your work and not getting
up for work, and all your social problems, and even the drink he says, is making ye
taking shots, yere taking shots at the landlord. And its that demon drink he says,
thats making ye miss!
And thats in the book! That was actually Hussey writing about himself. But you can
imagine, if you read that book, its a text book in the library, you have to kind of go up
for it, and its a good read. But you can imagine him with a lovely little glass of brandy
in front of a fire over in London, with a nice dinner jacket and smoking a Havana, and
he quoting his memoirs about Paddy. But, interestingly about Hussey, and Ill finish
with the historical perspective here, he starts his book by saying Cis is the Irish word
for Hussey, and he claimed his right to be where he was because his ancestors, I think
it was under Henry II, he gave them Daingean U Cis, the Steadfastness of the
Husseys. So Samuel Hussey was tracing his lineage back to the time that Henry II gave
his ancestors a good skelp of one of the most beautiful peninsulas you could ever
imagine to see anywhere. Thats the historical perspective, that kind of thing, where
a song would lead you . . . You wouldnt be thinking when youre saying, for rambling,
for roving and drinking and that, you wouldnt be too worried about what Samuel
Hussey was doing.
So, what am I going to do now? Ah Jaysus, its says Conclusion its too early for that!
Will someone remind me when Im supposed to finish? Alright, Ill sing Tureegarriffe
Glen; that will be the next one. Tureengarriffe Glen is just down the road here, for
anyone that isnt from the area, and it was an engagement by the local Company on
28th January, 1921. The weather was very bad. The words are good, it kind of explains
the scene. Im sure Fr John J covered it I missed your talk John J, sorry about that, I
was trying to earn a few bob and I didnt make it and I missed the other one as well,
and Im sorry about that, but thats what happens in the summer-time.
There was an engagement back the road, a successful ambush, they made away with
a car and an amount of ammunition and what have you. And Johnny OMahony, who
was just buried last week, told me that it was written by a man called Denis Lane of
Glaunalacca, Ballydesmond, who wrote a lot of other songs, and hopefully we might
get around to them, someone might them, or we might be able to access some of them
in time, because I have quite a few songs got since I did this project, nine or ten years
ago, so I might be able to revise into volume 2, if theres . . . when you get opportunities
like this it might jog someones memory, they might have an old song in a biscuit box.
I got a beauty there about a month ago. You know, like that. Theyre there and theyre
just ghosts that need to be given the chance to get life in a song. And again, remind
me when Im supposed to wind up, because I could lose the run of myself.
11

(To Fr John J: I think it was in your book that I got this. Was it in Kisekam versus The
Empire? Yes.)
Thats what I was saying earlier on, that theres a lot of books, like John Js books over
the years, The Tragic Troubador, Where Araglen So Gently Flows and Kiskeam versus
the Empire, fantastic works, and I relied heavily on other peoples scholarship to put
them into this collection. But by doing so Im singing them in many different places . .
. I was up in Letterfrack a couple of years ago, and this guy came over with a whiskey
and a pint, and into my ear he said, would you give us . . . Now it wasnt
Tureengarriffe Glen at all he said, he didnt know how to pronounce it, but I knew what
he meant and he was delighted.
(Fr John J: a local tradition is that Con Finucane was the first person to sing it, Marian
Finucanes uncle.)
Well thats nice to know. I wasnt aware of that. You see, doing this kind of event you
get a cumulative knowledge, I suppose, and the more we can find out about things the
better chance we have of . . . Theyre no good if you dont sing them. But this is one
that you would hear sung. I heard a woman singing this at a session one night years
ago. I heard it a few times, but I havent heard it by anyone else since. Thats probably
because Im not in the places where youd hear it sung.

Tureengarriffe Glen
Words by Denis Lane
On the twenty-eight of January the wind blew cold and shrill
Those volunteers assembled in a place called Dalys Glen
They took up their positions mongst the heather furze and stone
And captured six staff officers and Major General Holmes.
The evening sun was beaming as those lorries came in sight
The hearts of all those rebel boys were beating with delight
They little dreamt of cowardice as those Crossley cars sped in
Hands up me boys Sean Moylans cries went echoing through the glen.
Those hirelings showed resistance and opened heavy fire
Without effect they feared their doom, to escape was their desire
The steady aim and quick exchange proved death was near them then
And manys a wound each hireling found in Tureengarriffe Glen.
After twenty minutes fighting fierce those hirelings showed despair
Theyd been thro France and Flanders they had wished to show no fear
They had gained distinguished medals they were shrewd and daring men
But could not compare with those rebel boys in Tureengarriffe Glen.
At last they should surrender which grieved them much to do
They gave up their full equipment and their ammunition too
They had to part their Crossley cars soon manned by gallant men
Who with hand grenades and rifles left Tureengarriffe Glen.
Holmes poor condition it was a ghastly sight
This one of cruel Britannias sons would scarcely last till night

12

(First aid was quickly rendered to him and all his men)
And for medical aid they were conveyed from Tureengarriffe Glen.
Heres to the Second Battalion and its fearless fighting squad
Truer and nobler hearted men Old Ireland never had
Along Blackwaters valley, those proud and daring men
Neer proved their power and valour as in Tureengarriffe Glen.

The next man Im going to talk about now is a man . . . called Dan Sheahan, an icon in
Newmarket, hes very well known all over the world, by some people. I know the boys
from Newmarket would have heard of Dan Sheahan, but has anyone here ever hear of
Dan Sheahan?
(audience member: over in Queensland in Australia theres more of Dan Sheahan.)
There you go. Fair play. Hes known as Pop over there. Dan Sheahan came from
somewhere up near Meelin, I dont know exactly where, from the Barley Hill side
anyway, but I think they were from Cummer originally. There was so many different
Sheahans there and they moved around a bit, his family, his niece told me, she died
there some years ago.
He was the inspiration for the great song, The Pub Without Beer. It was a big hit for
Slim Dusty back in the 1950s. It became The Pub With No Beer. I have all that story,
its a big long story, and I was lucky to get it through Tim Barrow, via Raymond
OSullivan in Newmarket, and a lot of my material comes from Newmarket, because
its a great place that has maintained tradition down through the years. You never tire
of meeting people in Newmarket that will just . . . and this side back too, everywhere
really, its just if you get the right crowd together, and the right situation, youll pull
out all that kind of stuff thats there. It brings out the ghost and makes it living.
So Dan Sheahan, he wrote several songs. He used to write to his mother in rhyme
when he went away first. He emigrated in 1906. He became a soldier. He fought in
the War, the First World War, and . . . Im leading up now to another song, the song
Im going to sing is The Girl From Glashakeenleen . . . and he used to write to a woman.
This woman in Wales used to send food parcels to the troops. He was a gunner in the
Australian army, and he was in France during the First World War. He used to write to
this Welsh woman who used to send them food parcels. And when he got demobbed,
or when he was not fighting anymore, he was going to visit her, he said. And jeeze, he
changed his mind and came back to Newmarket, to have a bit of a holiday I suppose,
before he went back out. He was already in Australia quite a bit. He was there fifteen
years. And he had an uncle out there and he was able to . . . he had a small little farm
in New South Wales.
But after the War anyway . . . he wrote quite a bit of material, I believe, when he was
in the trenches, and sent it home, which was censored because of the nature of . . .
there was a collection of his works published in 1975, and hes held in the highest
regard in Australia because he became a sugar cane farmer and he left a great record
of the social conditions for sugar farming in Queensland in the 1920s and 30s and 40s.
And he loved drink, Id say, because he has some of the funniest songs about drink
youve ever herd, including The Pub With No Beer.

13

But the story behind that, to put the record right, because you hear all sorts of stuff
about it on the radio thats incorrect, is . . . this day in 1943 I think it was . . . I can check
all them, but look, whats a year . . . Johnny Logan, Whats Another Year? That was a
trick question. Oh, by the way, I have a little quiz. Im going to give you a question
later on, and the first correct answer up to me after the show gets a free CD and a cup
of tea. So pay attention now. But I didnt get to that yet. Its a very nice one actually.
It comes from a song its a very interesting feature of the song its called The Maid
of Sweet Rathcoole, written by a man from Kiskeam who was a teacher in Rathcoole
many years ago. But Ill get to that, because its a good one. Im just trying to give you,
as I mentioned at the start, different categories of songs. And Ive another lovely one
that Im going to do, that Im going to mention, and it comes from the Blueshirt
tradition in Duhallow, and Im going to get to that one after this maybe, if I dont get
thrown out the door!
Anyway, Dan Sheahan told the story, there was this woman called Irene Mascell. Its
a very nice story actually. Tim Barrow from Newmarket was touring over in Australia
many years ago, and he knew a small bit about Dan Sheahan, enough to know that he
was somewhere around the Ingham area of Queensland. So Tim was journeying
around, so lo and behold he got to Ingham and he went to the library, like you would,
do you know, to find out information, tis a great place to go, and who was the librarian
only Dan Sheahans daughter-in-law. So she gave him a couple of books, and Tim gave
them to Raymond when he came back. So I got a copy of it, which I photocopied, and
tis available now through the Library Service, via that photocopy. Its not the original,
but I think it was, Im not sure was it Bob Hawke, or one of the Australian Prime
Ministers, came on an official visit to Ireland some years ago, and there was a copy of
it presented to Trinity College.
So, his own work thats published, and its been revised three times, its called Songs
of the Cane Fields. Thats accessible as well. I have my own copy. When I wrote to
Dans daughter, or Dans family, they were very, very good, and I wrote to Irene
Mascell, and they gave me loads and loads of information about him, and this is why I
have the lineage of the song. And the story he gave was, his local pub was a place
called the Day Dawn Hotel. He was living twenty-five miles away from it, on his farm.
He was able to buy a sugar cane farm in Queensland with his deferred pension, and by
this stage he had married a woman from Limerick. He tried to get married when he
came back, you know that time to Newmarket, and he made a proposal to this Mary
from Glashakeenleen. And Im going to sing you that song, because its a great story,
and its a very, very popular song now. Ill get to it. But I want to tell you the story of
The Pub With No Beer first. Like, has it anything to do with Duhallow? Of course it has.
It was written by a man from Duhallow, and we should be proud of it, like, which we
are.
And he came in anyway on his horse. It was an awful hot day, in the middle of an
Australian heat wave, and his local pub, in the Day Dawn Hotel, was full of American
soldiers, who were down on R & R from . . . the Pacific that was raging that time, you
know, and the Americans were taking over islands that they still possessed, like Guam
and Saipan and places like that, so that they can point their nuclear missiles at whoever
they like. And they were starting it that time. But this is not about that. This is about
Dan Sheahan. But Dan anyway probably guessed it, so he came into town for a few
pints, and the barman, seeing gold with all these GIs, had sold all the beer. So he had
to drink gin. And then, after riding twenty-five miles in the heat wave in Northern
14

Queensland, or Mid-North Queensland, if youve ever been there, its hot . . . and then
drink gin and ride back on his horse. He said he was so dry he was spitting out sixpenny
bits. So the song that he wrote was transposed, because he used to send a lot of his
material into the newspaper. I have all that information in the book, so I wont go into
it in much more detail than that. But a singer called Graham Parsons got hold of it,
and he transposed it to suit his own local in New South Wales. And he was touring
with Slim Dusty in 1957, and Slim Dusty had a song coming out in the charts, called
Saddle Boy, and he had no B side. So Parsons gave him this song, The Pub With No
Beer, and he put it out as the B side and it sold 500,000 copies. Not one penny of
which royalty did Dan Sheahan get. Later on in time he did meet up, Slim Dusty was
playing where Dan was living that time, and he recorded two or three more of his
songs. And I think in 1975 he got official recognition for being the inspiration for The
Pub With No Beer. And its word for word. I have the two versions Dans version is
called A Pub Without Beer, a six-liner, whereas Parsons version is four. But, are they
anything to do with Duhallow? I think they are.
So, he wrote this other lovely song, called The GIrl from Glashakeenleen, and the first
time I came across that was in a book. Marie Kelliher from Newmarket got a bursary,
when she was going to UCC, to go out, and do a study on the Duhallow Diaspora in
Oregan. Ive been there myself, and some of my ancestors are buried there. I was
there seven or eight years ago. I went out to find out information, just to see it, Ive
been out there twice actually, and most of the people from this area went out there
sheep farming. There was . . . they dont know how many but probably the bones of
a thousand over the whole time. But she wrote a nice little account, a book, she wrote
a very good book actually, and she had The GIrl From Glashakeenleen. Thats where I
came across it first. A lot of people in the locality knew it like, but they didnt know it
as a song. I really liked it. When youd read it, it was very good. Dan Sheahans stuff
just jumps up off the page at you. Theyre all . . . theyre songs . . . hes writing poetry,
but theyre songs. I put a melody to it anyway, that I got . . . Timmy [OConnor] plays
a beautiful tune called Pull Down The Blinds, and I turned that around a small bit, to
make a melody for it. And lo and behold, it worked, because its played on the radio
on a regular basis and its a song now thats been given life again, you know? And I
would love to come across anyone who might have known what the original melody
was. And Id say that time, or even now, if you came across a nice poem and said,
Jeez, that would make a great song, you know, it might have been one of those. But
its a true story; it is a true story and a very nice one.
So, Ill sing it. And Id say some of you might know it at this stage. Its actually being
song as a country and western song in Gneeveguilla by a man, I met him a couple of
times, and he makes a nice job of it, and tis being sung in competition as well, and its
got two or three names now. Its known as The Glenlara Girl. I was asked one day
behind in The Why Not, not The Why Not but in The Shamrock, early one Monday
morning, Give us the Glenlara Girl! And its also known as Mary From
Glashakeenleen. But the way he had it was The GIrl From Glashakeenleen and its in
that 1975 publication of his work, because it was incorrectly assumed it was a Murphy
man that had written it. But it was known, you see, by the people out in Oregan. A lot
of them wrote great poetry and songs. They were out in the wilderness and, you know,
they brought songs with them, and they brought songs home with them, that they
wrote. But this is definitely Dan Sheahan. Theres no debating it at all. Anyway, Pull
Down the Blinds, and thanks Timmy. It was getting a totally different air when I started
it at first. The way I was going to do it was like this (sings). You know that typical air.
15

That was too common I thought and I spent a couple of nights at this anyway, and Im
still at it, so.
The Girl From Glashakeenleen
Words by Dan Sheahan
Music by Tim Browne
The heather was blooming in Cummer
The skylark was chanting a lay
From Taur with the soft breeze of summer
Came scent of the new gathered hay
Well the gardens they never looked better
And the corn and the turnips were green
Along by that road where I met her
The Girl from Glashakeenleen.
You may talk of your Hollywood beauties
Proud ladies of cinema fame
Your Sassanach maids and French cuties
She sure would put them to shame
Her skin was like snow on the Reeks
When cold winter weather is in
And the paint that she had on her cheeks
It never came out of a tin.
The ass that she drove was contrary
So slow was he lifting his feet
That I jumped on that cart beside Mary
She gave me one half of her seat
Her head it soon lay on my shoulder
We kissed, we cuddled and necked
And the plausible tale that I told her
Alas it had little effect.
Said she theres a boy in Drishane
Whos breaking his heart about me
He has fourteen good cows in his bawn
And theres grass there right up to your knees
Heve plenty of hay in the haggard
And his yard holds a good rick of turf
From porter hes never yet staggered
Sure he knows when hes taken enough.
They tell me he has no bad habits
Mum thinks that hes gentle and kind
Dad says tis a chance, I should grab it
For better I never may find
And dont you then think Id be silly
Well fit for the mad house or zoo
To go out and to boil a black billy
In the wilds of Australia with you.
The knock back twas quick and twas sudden
I felt a great pain in my heart
As against my ribs it went thudding
Sure I nearly fell out of the cart

16

Our ship by the quayside I sought her


Next morning we sailed down the Lee
And soon many miles of salt water
There rolled between Mary and me.
That ever I go to Duhallow
The chances may be one in ten
I never may walk by the Allow
Or gaze at Sliabh Luachra again
But oft when alone on the prairie
As nights shade comes down on the scene
Sure its oft times I think of young Mary
The Girl from Glashakeenleen.

So, of course thats a contemporary kind of take on it, on a song that was written, or a
poem at least, it became a song. I was singing it one night in Killarney in the Grand
Hotel, I played there for four or five years in a residency, three nights a week, and this
guy came up one night and he said, Where did you get that song, he said. And I told
him exactly where I got it. I was interested in him, and what was his interest in the
song. And he told me he was living between Kilcummin and Gneeveguilla, and he told
me that a fella that was working for a farmer back there used to come into their house,
every night, he said, for thirty-seven years, and he heard him singing that song several
times, he said. And he was under the impression that he had written it, you know.
Because at that time, I suppose, if you got a gem like that, and no one else had it, it
would be a great one to have, like. But it was very, very well known. I got a phone call
from an old lady in Kiskeam, and she heard it from America that it was out, that it was
in the charts, kind of thing. Because Ann OShea from Newmarket kept ringing County
Sound to play it, and I got a few bob from IMRO out of it!
Its an important point to make, because in the classification, if you want to go down
that road into, well say, the academia or the theory of the folk song, copyrighted music
would come right into a huge debate there, you know. If the music is copyrighted,
therefore it has a lineage on who is claiming it, and a lot of people claim traditional
stuff as their own. And I could write a book about that, no bother at all, because Ive
come across it several times. So theres a lot of unscrupulous people around and they
. . . So, pay attention now please, we are having a quiz and there is a prize! An unusual
part of a talk . . . how could you talk at a singing thing really, but I suppose you have to
mix it up. But anyway, wait till I get the song in question. Its called The Maid of Sweet
Rathcoole, and I collected it from Dan Joe OKeeffe in Rathcoole. Dan Joes a
shopkeeper and hes great, he has loads of songs. He collected . . . Bill Codys stuff, Ill
get to that. But he was a great help to me when I was putting this together. Im a bit
rusty with this, its about ten years ago when I was doing this and I nearly knew it
backwards, and Im a bit stiff. So, especially with Tureengarriffe Glen. Where are you
. . . well find him. Anyone there sing a song while Im doing this? Well have a minutes
silence. I must start learning tricks like that for this speaking thing. Im not used to it
at all. Im a pure chancer . . . and Im going blind as well, Id say, by the looks of things.
While Im doing that, Ill get this as well. Do you remember that? The Road To Song,
Sean McCarthy, His Songs, Their Music and Story? This is just a few pages from it. This
is a book that Donal ( Siodhachin) edited, a collection of Sean McCarthys songs, and
thats what Im going to talk about next, one of the songs thats in that is still being
sung, recorded all over the world, by every ballad band that comes out every year,
17

including Cosamar, its on our new album. And thats beside the point, because its
got a very, very good Duhallow connection, and well get to that. So Ill leave that out
there.
And I have this marked here, somewhere, its about the 1930s, it should be around
here somewhere . . . Am I dreaming I wonder? Im not. Where is it, at all? I tell you
what, well postpone the quiz for a minute. Well make the quiz even harder now.
These are the handouts for the last song. Were getting close to that now in a minute,
Id say, because Im kind of . . . We could take a short break. But no.
The next one, Ill do Step It Out Mary first, but before I do it Id like to . . . this is a great
example of another type of song. I mentioned earlier, there are songs about what
might not have happened, and this definitely didnt happen. Sean McCarthy was at a
fair back in Kanturk, back in the 1940s, and Im going to quote Donal here, because this
is what Donal recorded of what Sean McCarty said. And when we were young, we all
knew this around Kanturk, like. It was a hit in the charts in the 1960s, but Ill get to
that. But you know the jingle,
Step It out Mary my fine daughter,
Step it out Mary if you can,
Step It out Mary my fine daughter,
Cock your leg for the country man.

That was the jingle, and Sean McCarty was amazed with that jingle because what it
represented was, he was at a fair in Kanturk, when the fairs were on the street, this is
around 1948 or 49 and the children had a skipping game. And the game was that the
skipper would skip and the kids would sing that jingle. And when theyd get to the bit,
Cock your leg for the country man theyd have to lift their left leg, and if they keeled
over theyd lose the rope, but if they did it successfully they could keep the rope, and
if you were very good at it they would never lose it, you know what I mean, twas a
competitive game. And he was intrigued by it, and the melody of it, and the simplicity
of it.
And Im going to quote what he said because it is well worth it. The children in the
swaying circle took their game very seriously. All along the Kanturk streets farmers and
shopkeepers traded and argued, but the children paid no heed to them; they were too
intent on their skipping game. The rules of the skipping game were fairly simple: each
skipper took it in turn to use the skipping rope, while the others chanted the above
ditty. When it came to the last line, Cock your leg for the country man, the skipper
stopped, with the left leg cocked as high as he or she could manage, and stayed playing
until the next skipper took his or her place as I was saying.
So, Kanturk in the County Cork is a town with numerous pubs . . . He went around to
a lot of pubs that night to see if he could find any more words to it and he couldnt.
And he comes on, and he says, Indeed my own Kerry, home of strange songs and
poems, failed to supply any more than the four lines. In desperation then, in a London
building site, when again times were hard on folk singers, I composed the story of the
soldier and Mary and added to the Kanturk skipping jingle. So, like, it didnt happen.
Its a love story that was made up, but he used it as the inspiration for it, and what a
beautiful way to do it, from the kids singing in the street, playing in the street, that the
magic of that brought this beautiful song.

18

When times were a bit better for him later on, he opened a folk club called The Crubeen
and it became very, very popular. One night . . . he more or less had forgotten about
the song up to a year before it, because he wrote it on a piece of a cement bag and he
put it into his desk and thought about it a couple of years later. So he was singing it
again, and who walked into the club only Danny Doyle, and he was just after leaving
the Irish army, he was a rifleman in the Irish army, and Sean gave him the song. And
he brought it home and Noel Pearson arranged it, and it became a huge hit. And its
still being sung. Theres bands recording it every year. So, very few, you might say,
are aware of where it came from. So were claiming that. Thats a Duhallow song,
even though it was a Kerry man wrote it, but we have a connection to it. He found it
in Kanturk. Put that in your pipe and smoke it kind of stuff, you know!
He wrote some other fantastic songs too that would be popular in the area. He was
such a good songwriter: he wrote some brilliant songs about the War of Independence,
like Shanagolden and things like that. He is a wonderful writer. He had over a hundred
of his songs published, Sean McCarthy. This was a gem of a book; this is only an extract
from it, relative to the few songs that Im doing here by Sean McCarty, and its just an
edit from Donals publication. But thats a beautiful book to read if you get a chance
to read it. Its in the library now. Its hard to come by it, but tis very nice. Theres
some beautiful stuff in it. Sean McCarthy was a mighty man altogether. So Im going
to sing it. And if you know it, sing it, and if you dont, just cock your leg up, your left
leg up, when you get to that part there. Or go out and do a bit of skipping. And again,
its a contemporary take on it.

Step It Out Mary


Words by Sean McCarthy
In the village of Kilcorney lives a maiden young and fair
Her eyes they are like diamonds, she had long and golden hair
Well a countryman came riding, up to her father's gate
Mounted on a milk white stallion, he arrives at the stroke of eight.
Chorus:
Step it out Mary, my fine daughter
Step it out Mary, if you can
Step it out Mary, my fine daughter
Cock your leg to the countryman
I'm here to court your daughter, Mary of the golden hair
Ive gold and Ive got silver, Ive wealth beyond compare
Ill buy her silk and satin, a gold ring for her hand
I'll buy for her a mansion, she'll have servants to command
Chorus:
Kind sir, I love a soldier, I've pledged to him my hand
I don't want your gold nor money, I don't want your house and land
Mary's father called out loudly: "You will do as you are told
You'll marry him next Sunday and you'll wear that ring of gold"
Chorus:
In the village of Kilcorney, there's a deep stream running by

19

They found Mary there at midnight, she drowned with the soldier boy
In the cabin there is music, you can hear her father say:
"Step it out Mary my fine daughter, Sunday is your wedding day"
Chorus:

Thanks very much. So, as I was saying about this Maid of Sweet Rathcoole its . . . Oh,
before I do that, is there anyone here would like to sing a song in this part of the
business? Does anyone know Sweet Kingwilliamstown and would like to sing that, you
know, just to get an alternate and another voice? If youd like to, the opportunity is
there.
Thats another great song; I have a field recording of it, Im not going to play it now,
but if you want to hear it after I can play it for you. Its a great song called The Bog
Road Ambush, about another local engagement in Rathmore, and I recorded it off a
man that knew it, and its a beautiful melody, and its a song that I did hear sung, you
know, live, well say. Put it that way.
Would there be any chance its after disappearing out of this? Hardly, I suppose. Wait
a minute now, Ill find it alright. Oh yes, thats another one of Dan Sheahans The Red
Rum of Bundi; its a song about Bundaberg rum. Did you ever come across Bundaberg
rum? If you were ever in Australia youd be drinking it, its a very popular rum. Its
like Jamaica rum here I suppose, or Bacardi. Its strong rum, very popular in Australia,
and Id say Dan drank a lot of it. But its interesting the way he starts . . . he never lost
touch of where he was from . . . the way he starts it is very nice,
Its strange how the sons of all nations will toast
Their own native land in the booze they love most
For thirsty Sinn Finers of Erin the Green
Are partial to porter and pots of poitn
The sons of the Saxon, their tummies regale
On liquor of London, John Basss brown ale.

He was a great man to take the piss, for want of a better word.
Anyway, this man, Ned Buckley, he was known as The Bard of Duhallow. Theres books
written about him; Donal wrote about him, Aubane [Historical Society] wrote
extensively about him, and he used to write to Sean Moylan in verse. But he was a
Redmondite, and Home Ruler, and he went the full hog: he was a Blueshirt, and very
proud of it. But he was a great man to write poetry, and he won . . . there used to be
a competition in the Cork Examiner that time, youd get ten bob if you sent in your
song, and he won it several times. He even wrote a poem, or a song, about winning
the ten bob, he won it so often. But he wrote a song called The Doggy Due and it was
a parody on The Foggy Dew, the great Republican ballad that we all know and love,
and its really satirical. So he took one of the great Republican songs to get at Fianna
Fil at the time, because they were just after coming in, and the first thing that they
did, one of the first things that they did, was they doubled the price of the dog licence.
It was half a crown, and automatically it was five bob. So he wrote a song about it and
I put it on a CD there a while ago. Im not going to sing it, but Ill give you the first
verse of it. . . I have The Maid of Sweet Rathcoole here now. It took a while, probably
a record!

20

I was setting spuds on a bright May morn


When the ground was far from dry
When men and boys to drown their dogs
In squadrons passed me by
Their faces long and hay-ropes strong
As they went to the abhainn dubh
To drown them all, the long and small
On account of the Doggy Due.

But theres one verse in it thats really, really scathing, and I like it, its very nice. Its
very nice:
The licence for our Black and Tan
Was only half a crown
When work was sure and cash secure
In country and in town
Now they keep their post, the Ministers
Who have naught else to do
And each fine job, they rule five bob
Should now be the Doggy Due.

So there you go, its nothing different to whats happening today. You get the
Blueshirts in and look what they do . . . they have us all in tatters. Anyway, thats
getting too political, I suppose. But this is a nice verse:
If we had England back again
Our dogs their tails would wag
And how theyd love to bite those men
Who do so loudly brag
Of splendid things theyve done for us
When only one things true
Theyve multiplied our miseries
As they did the Doggy Due.
Well soon have our elections now
And theyll bolster the Free State
Although we have four counties less
Than Redmonds twenty-eight [thats very interesting than Redmonds twenty-eight]
But just to show our gratitude
The mildest thing to do
When theyll ask us for our vote
Is to sing The Doggy Due.

About seven or eight years ago, when Enda Kenny was going around the country,
making shapes to become the taoiseach, which he did, the Kanturk Fine Gael party
contacted me and asked me would I play a few songs, or play a few tunes, in the Alley
Bar in Kanturk, where I spent most of my time for thrity-two years, on and off, my
spare time I mean now, my drinking time like, kind of exclusively, and a great old house
it was. Ned came from back around here. But anyway, no bother. I got well paid for
it I made sure, you know. When youre a musician and a singer you have to kind of
put that behind you. Its a bit like being an undertaker, you know, you cant be that
choosy. So I sang it that day, and there was no one in the whole place knew that it
was a Blueshirt song. But I got my picture taken with him, and it took me five years to
get it. And if any of you are interested I have a little blog on my website, I call it Muses
mit der Man, and I have a little dialogue with him, and my next one is going to be about
21

this song. Im going to tell them that it is in there. You never realise that this is one of
yeer anthems there like. Its just a little satirical commentary that I do whenever I
have the time. Ive done about nine or ten of them. Im going to do another one,
because theyre going to be electioneering mad and Im going to remind them of what
they were doing in the 1930s.
The next one. Where will we go with the next one? I had it all written down here what
I was going to do, the plan, and I got there a while ago, but it said Conclusion, so I went
too many pages too quick. Are ye fed up of me yet? Will I keep going for another few
minutes? We have to play a few tunes yet, and have the tay.
I mentioned earlier on about the anthem Up, Up Newmarket. Its a great song to hear
thirty or forty people, after Newmarket winning the Duhallow Championship or the
County, or whatever, to hear young fellas even, the next generation and the next, they
all know it. And you cant get better than that. You know, that everyone has it, and
they have an identity towards that song. The same as in Sweet Kingwilliamstown or
wherever, Kanturk, The Pride of Brogeen these are anthems and you kind of strive
after those things, they keep the whole thing together, the local anthems.
So, for those that werent here at the start, I mentioned different types of songs that
were contained in this volume, and this is just a little example of a small amount of
material that comes from this area. So that was the example of satirical, political and
comical. Theres another very good one in there called The Boycott of Ben Leader, and
that was written the 1910 election was a very hotly fought election because the Irish
Parliamentary Party were . . . you know, you had the All for Ireland League and it was
a big time in history . . . The Brits had the First World War already planned, the
revolution is coming, theres things going on to get guns etc. So this was the Boycott
of Ben Leader, and he was a local man. Its a very nice one as well, but I havent heard
it sung. But seemingly around that time, theyd tell you in Newmarket, it was well
known up to about thirty or forty years ago, it was sung, And its interesting for its
historical recounting, its historical record.
So, The Maid of Sweet Rathcloole is the quiz. I collected it from Dan Joe OKeeffe and
he told me, it is still popular and in fact the version I got of it, the version he recorded
from his brother Jeremiah, who wrote great songs, he wrote some lovely modern
ballads, and they were in a band, The White Diamond. They were modern songs, and
Ive heard him singing this song. Its a very nice song. Dan Joe told me it was composed
by a man called Sean T Murch who was a native of Kiskeam. Do you know him?
Are you aware of this? This is the quiz. Its a riddle, which is a very unusual . . . well
its not that unusual, Ive known other songs where theres riddles, but this is a real
riddle:

A quadruped
A torn cloth
The Latin word for and
The first and second youll reverse
The third you will leave stand.
Behead and transpose an ivy leaf
And if you went to school youll know
The name and surname of
The Maid of Sweet Rathcoole.

22

So, her first name is very easy to get anyway. And Ill let it at that. So if anyone gets it
Ill give you a CD, for free. All you need to do to enter the competition is to put your
name on the back of a 20 note, and the first correct answer will be . . . Im only
kidding, Im only kidding!
The way he finishes though it is lovely as well:
Ive lived for years in a foreign land
And I long to see once more
The village and the Barrack Cross
And the hill at Boulamore
The faithfull friends who are dear to me
And the boys I taught in school
I now regret I ever met
That jade from sweet Rathcoole.

So, in closing, Im going to finish . . . I havent time to get into Bill Cody. Hes one of
our best. He was a great songwriter. He just recorded everything that was gallant in
the 1950s and sixties and seventies. He was the correspondent for The Corkman and
he wrote some great stuff and I was lucky to be able to source several of his songs.
And Dan Joe had it very handy for me because he kept the newspaper cuttings, with
the dates of when they were published on his page, so I was able to get it off the
microfilm easily enough, in Tralee County Library. Great songs altogether. And one of
the them was a very funny one. It is very popular at the moment and has been for the
last ten years, called The Ballad of Ned Jones Toyota. Thats what we called it for the
collection. As I mentioned earlier, Ned Jones was a publican from Meenganine that
had a pub in Kanturk, and he won a car in a raffle in Kiskeam, a Toyota 20. It was a
huge prize at that time, back in the 1970s, and the song is legend, because there are
so many characters mentioned in it. I have another one here thats like it, in that it
records so many people The Youths of Kiskeam you know that song? and its
great, it gives a very very good account of social life of the people, what they did, their
nicknames etc.
Well wind up, and this is the song were going to finish with if thats OK. Take one and
pass them round. Ive only 12, so if you could share. If you want to sing it, its to the
air of Phreab san l,
As we said earlier about this, this song was composed by John Philpot Curran, who was
the father of Sarah Curran, and I started off singing that poem that Donal made about
Sarah Curran, who was John Philpot Currans daughter, so were finishing up, two
hundred and fifty years back, with a song that Padraig Colum said marks the departure
from the . . . We started off with that . . .
Curran also wrote a very interesting poem called The Monks of the Screw, a song, and
it was collected . . . the music for it was collected by George Petrie. And its very very
good, because if you follow that, with Petrie, it shows that Curran was well up into . .
. he was a musician, and he was playing the traditional music of his own area, and the
melodies he was using were from tunes form his own place. Petrie says that he got it
from his son and he said its a version of Tim in Arrears, which is a very popular
melody. If you dont know the air, of Phreab san l, this is more or less what well do,
well just do one verse quick, and then do the whole lot. It goes:
23

If sadly thinking and spirits sinking


Could more than drinking my cares compose,

Are you OK with that? Right so, a haon, a d, a tr, and well finish it up. But before
we do that Pat is going to say a few words. Thanks very much for coming. Sorry for
all the waffle, Im not used to this. Im more comfortable sitting down playing tunes.
But thanks for the opportunity, its been a great couple of days trying to revise some
of this. I had a lot of it forgotten, in fairness, and I apologise for the mistakes and
things like that. So well have a shot at it anyway.
The Deserters Lament
Words by John Philpot Curran
Air: Traditional (Phreab san l)
If sadly thinking and spirits sinking
Could more than drinking my cares compose,
A cure from sorrow from sighs I borrow
And hope tomorrow would end my woes;
But since in wailing theres naught availing
And face unfailing will strike the blow
Then for that reason and for a season
Let us be merry before we go.
To joy a stranger, a way-worn ranger
In every danger my course Ive run
Now hope all ending and death befriending
His last aid lending my cares are done;
No more a rover or hapless lover
Those cares are over my glass runs low
Then for that reason and for a season
Let us be merry before we go.

Go raibh mle maith agaibh go lir!


References
Tim Browne: Stories in Song Vol.1 - a miscellany of Songs, Lyrics & Anecdotes from the Barony
of Duhallow
Donal Siodhachin (ed): The Road To Song, Sean McCarthy, His Songs, Their Music and Story,
Clo Dunaire/Irish & Celtic Publications

Concluding words by Patricia Herron SIodhachin

24