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The Rocks of Bawn


Come all ye loyal heroes wherever ye may be

Dont hire with any master until you know what your work might be

Dont hire with any farmer from the clear daylight of the dawn

For he will want you to be able to plough the Rocks of Bawn


My boots they are all worn and the rain comes tumbling in

My ould coat sure its threadbare now and Im leaking to the skin

But Ill rise up every morning from the clear daylight of dawn

And I know Ill never be able to plough the Rocks of Bawn


My curse attend you Sweeney you have me nearly robbed

Youre sitting by the fireside your dudeen in your gob

Youre sitting by the turf fire from the clear daylight of the dawn

And you want me to be able to plough the Rocks of Bawn.


Rise up there gallant Sweeney and give your horses hay

Give them a fine feed of oats before ye start the day

Dont feed them on ripe turnip boy Take them down to yon green lawn

And then I might be able to plough the Rocks of Bawn.


I wish that Patrick Sarsfield would write to me in time

And place me in some regiment all in my youth and prime

I would fight for Irelands glory from the clear daylight of the dawn

And I never would return again plough the Rocks of Bawn


And if Im not enlisted Ill sail across the sea

To the broad fields of Americay or some far country

Where Ill learn to rise up early from the clear daylight of the dawn

And I never would return again to plough the Rocks of Bawn

Bruce got this song from a Kerry singer called Noel Scanlon who lived in Liverpool in the 1960s. The English folklorist A.L.Lloyd in notes to the 1960s Joe Heaney album 'Irish Songs in Gaelic and English' said of The Rocks of Bawn: "In 1652, Oliver Cromwell subdued Ireland, a process that often recurred in history before and since. Many Catholic landholders were dispossessed and forced to take their families and belongings beyond the Shannon, to the hard country of Connaught. While English and Scottish Protestant newcomers settled on the lusher vacated farms, the dispossessed Irish hacked out a thin living among the rocks, bogs, salt water and seaweed of the barren west coast. In the ensuing centuries, to many a farm-hand even the British Army offered better prospects than the stony plough-defying soil of Mayo, Galway and Clare. The lament of the Connaught ploughman has become one of the most popular of all Irish folk songs, seemingly within the last few years."

Sam Henry in 'Songs of the People' (1923-39) comments that it took two years searching to obtain the words and that Pat Magill, the famous author, told him that he heard the song in Strabane Fair where it was sold as a broadside. Henry also tells us that Bawn or Bawnboy is in Co. Cavan. In Dominic Behan's 'Ireland Sings' (1965) his notes on The Rocks of Bawn say that the man who wrote this song was Martin Swiney who hadn't died all that long ago.

In 1954 the BBC recorded two versions in Co. Galway from Colm Keane and Mamo Clancy and in 1968 Hugh Sheilds recorded it from John Ban Byrne (Co. Donegal) and Eddie Butcher (Co. Derry). Further south in Clare Tom Munnelly recorded Tom Lenihan singing the song in Miltown Malbay (CBE 03 'Mount Callan Garland') and in the same town Willy Clancy played it as a slow air on the pipes (CC32CD 'The Pipering of Willie Clancy Vol.1'). Probably the most well known rendition of the song comes from the Connemara singer
Joe Heaney and his version can be heard on no less than three recordings
OSSCD22, TSCD655 and CIC020.

Song transcribed by Bruce & Dot Scott

Song notes: John Howson & Tom Munnelly
































































The Tipperary Tinker


Im a wandering tinker Ive travelled my share

And Ive courted the colleens from Antrim to Clare

I was always light hearted and hadnt a care

As I sang like a lark in the morning

Till cupid came sporting one morning in May

I spied a fair colleen while going my way

As I drew along side her my heart went astray

And commenced for to thump without warning

Chorus: Skithery aye dum di dithery I dum da dum.


I drew alongside her she blushing with shame

And I gently inquired would she tell me her name

Begod now said she I will tell you the same

All the people I know call me Mary

But my father has got me a man in his eye

Who has plenty of land and a fortune for I

And he said that for me hed be willing to die

And his name is Alphonsus OLeary



Sure I know him myself he has land he has gold

Ah but look at the cratur hes withered and ol

And an old mans affections are often quite cold

Although hed be wed to a fairy

Ah but look at myself sure Im handsome and tall

And I know that youd love me the best of them all

So come on dont be hiding your head in your shawl

And say that youll marry me Mary



She blushed and she giggled said she youre a rogue

And her sweet lilting laughter was soft as her brogue

Says she Id give up all his gold for one pogue

From the tinker of sweet Tipperary

So together they went to a priest to be wed

And betwixt them a cross word has never been said

While the rich count their gold they count children instead

And they pray for Alphonsus Oleary



So come all you young colleens thats listens to me

Let the man that you marry be youthful and free

For although hes much gold as theres fish in the sea

An ould man is often contrary

He will say that hes right and tis you must be wrong

And worse he will get as the years roll along

So if you want to make all your life a sweet song

Go and marry a tinker called Mary



While travelling Ireland one of Bruce's favourite spots was Carrickbeg on the Waterford side of Carrick--on-Suir and it was there he heard The Tipperary Tinker sung by Patrick Galvan in Galivan's pub. This song doesn't seem to turn up anywhere else.

Song transcribed by Bruce & Dot Scott

Song notes: John Howson & Tom Munnelly










































































Streams of Bunclody


Oh where I at the moss house Where the birds do increase

By the foot of mount Lienster Or some silent place

By the streams of Bunclody Where all pleasures do meet

O and all I would ask Is one kiss from you sweet


For the streams of Bunclody They flow down so free

By the streams of Bunclody Im longing to be

A drinking strong liquor in the height of my cheer

Heres a health to Bunclody and the lass I love dear


Oh the cuckoo is a happy bird for it sings as it flies

It brings us glad tidings and yells us no lies

It sucks the young birds eggs for to make its voice clear

And the more it sings cuckoo the summer draws near.


If I were a lark Id have wings and could fly

I would fly to yon arbour where my true love does lie

I would fly to yon arbour where my true love she does lie

And upon her fond bosom contented I'd lie


If I were a clerk and could write a good hand

I would write to my true love that she might understand

That I am a young fellow all wounded in love

Once I lived in Bunclody but now I must remove.


And the reason my love slights me you may all understand

She has a great freehold and I have no land

She has a great store of riches and plenty of gold

And everything fitting a house to uphold.


So fare thee well my father and my mother adieu

My sisters and brothers farewell onto you

I am bound for Americay my fortune to try

When I think of Bunclody I am ready to die.

Another of place in Ireland where Bruce spent a lot of time busking was the Bunclody area in Co. Wexford and he learned this song from Barry Halpin's uncle, Jim Halpin, who also lived on the Waterford side of Carrick-on-Suir. Bunclody was called Newtownbarry for many years after its patron, James Barry,  Bruce got this song from a Cork singer called Denis McCarthy who was in Carrick-on-Suir at the same time as Bruce and Barry Halpin in the 1960s. McCarthy called it The Kinsale Herring which sets it in Co. Cork and although it has been recorded in just about every county in England it doesn't turn up very often in Ireland. The BBC recorded Thomas Moran singing the The Herring Song in Co. Leitrim in 1954 and Jim
Carroll and Pat MacKenzie recorded Mikeen McCarthy in Co. Kerry in 1976. The latter version can be heard on TSCD664 'My Troubles They Are But Few'. On Veteran two English versions can be heard from Gypsy singer Phoebe Smith on VT136CD 'The Yellow Handkerchief' and from Suffolk's Ted Chaplin on VTC5CD When the Wind Blows'.

Song transcribed by Bruce & Dot Scott

Song notes: John Howson & Tom Munnelly







































































Summer in Bunclody  (copyright Bruce Scott - Liverpool)


Sweet May has come Its here again the cuckoo sings at morning o

To raise all joys and dull all pain and tell us summers dawning o

My love and I by the slaney side go hand and hand together o

Where she promised she would be my bride that summer in Bunclody o


Fair June comes then and sweet July with hosts of summer flowers o

As by the slaney she and I go wandering through the bowers o

The greenwood trees are shimmering now reflected in the waters o

And proud mount Leinsters side well climb when its summer in Bunclody o


Through August and Septembers time sweet county Wexfords all aglow

We listen to the church bells chime across the blooming heather o

By the moss house to the town we will go to mass on Sunday morning o

And thank the lord for natures show and summer in Bunclody o


That summer brought us both good cheer and birds sang in the bushes o

And wasnt it a joy to hear the linnet and the thrushes o

The wedding bells rang out that day over fields where golden corn does grow

As she slipped on the band of gold that summer in Bunclody o


October came with Autumns fall as summertime was ending o

The trees all shedding russet leaves strong winds their boughs bending o

But the frost and rime of wintertime and mount Leinsters snows will all soon go

Then we will welcome April flowers and summer in Bunclody o


Sweet county Wexford I have roamed from Kilmore Quay to Gorey o

Through lovely Enniscorthy town and the golden sands of Curracloe

But the sweetest place Id rather be is strolling by the Slaney o

With my young colleen there by me when its summer in Bunclody o

Bruce wrote this song in 1999 to remind him of the good times he had in Bunclody. He came second in the All Ireland 'Newly Composed Ballads' competition with this song which is set to the air of The Flower of Magherally.

Song transcribed by Bruce & Dot Scott

Song notes: John Howson & Tom Munnelly








































































Easy and Slow

It was down by Christ church that I first met with Annie
A neat little girl and not a bit shy
She told me her father who came from Dungannon
Would see her back home in the sweet by and by

And whats it to any man whether or no
Whether Im aisy or whether Im true
If I lifted her petty coat easy and slow
And I tied up my sleeve for to buckle her shoe

We wandered down Thomas Street along by the Liffey
The night it grew cold sure the evening grew dark
Along by Kings Bridge and begod in a jiffy
My arms went around her out there in the dark.

From city to country a girl is a jewel
And well built for gripping the most of them are
But any young fellow is surely a fool
If he tries at the first time to go a bit far

So if ever you go to the town of Dungannon
You could seek til your eyeballs are empty or blind
For running or walkin for laughin or talking
A girl like Annie you never could never find


This has always been known as a Dublin song and in his book about songs from that city, the late Frank Harte says that he had heard the song for years and the first person he ever heard singing it was Dominic Behan who said that he had got some of it from Sean O' Casey and the rest from a woman in England. Frank said that whenever he asked anyone else he heard singing it what was the source, it would inevitably be traced back to Dominic and indeed Bruce first heard Behan sing it at one of the early Keele Folk Festivals.

Song transcribed by Bruce & Dot Scott

Song notes: John Howson & Tom Munnelly





































































The Herring

Ah there was an old man who came from Kinsail
Sing ava um vane sing ava olin
And he had a herring a herring for sale
Sing ava um vane sing ava olin
Sing herring for sail sing man from Kinsail
Sing ava um vane sing ava olin
Indeed I have more of my herring to sing
Sing ava um vane sing ava olin

And what do you think we made of his fins
Sing ava um vane sing ava olin
But a nice little package of needles and pins
Sing ava um vane sing ava olin
Sing herring and fins sing needles and pins
Sing ava um vane sing ava o lin
Indeed I have more of my herring to sing
Sing ava um vane sing ava o lin

And what do you think we made of his belly
Sing ava um vane sing ava o lin
But a nice little girl we called her Nellie
Sing ava um vane sing ava o lin
Sing herring and belly sing girl sing Nellie
Sing ava um vane sing ava o lin
Indeed I have more of my herring to sing
Sing ava um vane sing ava o lin.

And what do you think we made out of his back
Sing ava um vane sing ava o lin
But a fine old sailor we called him Jack
Sing ava um vane sing ava olin
Sing herring sing back sing sailor Jack
Sing ava um vane sing ava olin
Well indeed Ihave more of my herring to sing
Sing ava um vane sing ava olin

And what do you think we made of his head
Sing ava um vane sing ava o lin
The finest griddle that ever baked bread
Sing ava um vane sing ava o lin
Sing griddle sing head sing sailor sing bread
Sing ava um vane sing ava o lin
Indeed I have more of my herring to sing
Sing ava um vane sing ava o lin.

And what do you think we made of his eyes
Sing ava um vane sing ava o lin
But the finest balls that ever did rise
Sing ava um vane sing ava o lin
Sing herring sing eyes sing balls sing rise
Sing ava um vane sing ava um vane
Sing ava um vane sing ava olin

Now all of you people inclined to be prude
Sing ava um vane sing ava olin
The next two verses are rather rude
Sing ava um vane sing ava olin
Sing herring sing prude sing verses sing rude
Sing ava um vane sing ava olin
Indeed I have more of my herring tosing
Sing ava um vane sing ava olin

And what do you think we made of his hole
Sing ava um vane sing ava olin
The finest bellows that ever blew coal
Sing ava um vane sing ava olin
Sing herring sing hole sing bellows sing coal
Sing ava um vane sing ava o,lin
Well indeed I have more of my herring to sing
Sing ava um vane sing ava o,lin

And what do you think we made of his bollocks
Sing ava um vane sing ava o,lin
But a radical cure for old alcoholics
Sing ava um vane sing ava o,lin
Sing herring sing bollocks sing old alcoholics
Sing ava um vane sing ava o,lin
Well indeed I,ve no more of my herring to sing


Herring Processions in Ireland were riotous cavalcades which took place in many towns and villages, usually on Easter Saturday at the end of Lent, celebrating the end of abstinence from meat and the dominance of the King of the Sea from the diet. Not surprisingly the processions were often led by butchers who had just come through a very frugal 40 days. The herrings were usually mounted on decorated poles followed by musicians and various revellers and led through the streets to an ignominious end such as being dumped back into the sea or in some cases a butcher's boy would pull a line of dozens of herrings through the streets and it was beaten by other boys until not a shred of herring remained on the rope. In spite of The Herring belonging to a popular genre such as The Cutty Wren, The Sow Took the Measles, The Derby Ram, and others, I do not think it too unlikely to conjecture that our song here had its origins in a Herring Procession.

Song transcribed by Bruce & Dot Scott

Song notes: John Howson & Tom Munnelly

































































Lowlands of Flanders  (copyright Bruce Scott - Liverpool)

On the Lowlands of Flanders there's a place they call Messines,
where the Peace Tower of Ireland stands proud and serene
to commemorate her soldiers who bravely fought and died:
now their sons and their daughters can all honour them with pride.

They sailed from old Erin, their green isle across the sea,
from the land of the Shamrock to set small nations free;
from their own divided island, where so many were oppressed,
to the Lowlands of Flanders, where so many lie at rest.

They came from every country, every corner of the world;
on the Lowlands of Flanders into battle they were hurled,
where they did their soldiers duty, as they fought beside the French
in the chaos, and the carnage, and the nightmare of the trench.

They came from every county in their troubled native land:
from the banks of the Liffey and the wide Shannon grand;
from the banks of the Lee and the Lagan they did come,
where they died in their thousands on the banks of the Somme.

There were men of all religions there who perished in that war
both Catholic and Protestant from Mother Ireland's shore:
and some, when on returning to their troubled native land,
they were shunned and forsaken, just a poor forgotten band.

Many years have now passed over since the ending of that war
the Great War to end all conflict and win peace for evermore.
Can all Irishmen from North and South agree to live in peace
in the memory of their forefathers, who died that war might cease?

On the lowlands of Flanders stands the Irish tower of peace,
to the memory of those soldiers who died that war might cease;
and their graves are there in thousands where the red poppies bloom,
where the flower of Irish manhood all went marching to their doom.

One of Bruce's own compositions which was inspired by an article in the Irish Post about a peace tower which had been built in Belguim. The tower was styled on an Irish round tower and was built from stones from all over Ireland.

President Mary McAleese inaugurated the Peace Tower at the Peace Park in Mesen (Messines) on 11th November, 1998 in the presence of King Albert II and Queen Paola and Queen Elizabeth II. The Peace Tower is dedicated to the memory of those from the island of Ireland who fought and died in the First World War. It is erected at the site of the Messines Ridge Battlefield, the only location in that conflict where the 36th Ulster Division and the 16th Irish Division fought side by side. The Memorial not only recalls the sacrifices of those from the island of Ireland from all political and religious traditions who fought and died in the war, but also serves as a powerful symbol of reconciliation in the present day.

Song transcribed by Bruce & Dot Scott

Song notes: John Howson & Tom Munnelly










































































Bold McShane

My name 'tis McShane from the plains of Kildare
A farmer I was until the last year
Until I took a notion of pay or promotion
Went over to Scotland the harvest to shear

Rum tooral ah rum tooral addy
Rum tooral ah mush a rum tooralay

I parted with molly so blithe and so jolly
Picked up a stick for a staff in me hand
And to keep myself cheery in case a grew weary
I sang Paddy Wack as I went on me way

I arrived at Dumbarton on a fine summers evening
Me bundle and stick I held in my hand
There was some of them laughin' and some of them chaffin'
But most of them tryin' to stick Paddy away

I went up to a woman and asked her for lodgings
Said she me young man now dont look so dull
For I will tell you where you can find lodging
With the woman that lives next door to the black bull

I went up this woman and asked her for lodgings
She instantly showed me a bed in the room
And me being so weary and worn out with walking
I threw myself down on the bed in the room

But a lump of a tinker lay up in the corner
He swore upon his soul sure hed kill all 'twas there
Says I me bold tinker leave over your braggin'
For Im bold McShane from the plains o Kildare

Well he tried for to hit me a thump on the stomach
I instantly landed him one in the throat
He tumbled heels over his head in the corner
And cut all his head on a rusty oul pot

I lifted him up like a sheep he was bleeding
I swore upon me soul sure Id cut of his life
But I lifted him up and sent down for a noggin
And me and the tinker we ended the strife.

Bruce got McShane from Dublin singer Tommy Dempsey who lived in Brimingham in the 1960s. The song, which recounts his adventures in Scotland as a migrant labourer, seems quite rare although it would be surprising if such a good song had not been taken up by a broadside printer sometime. The only other collected version we know of was collected by Tom Munnelly in 1972 from John Joe Murphy, Darrynahenlish, Roslea, Co. Fermanagh.

Song transcribed by Bruce & Dot Scott

Song notes: John Howson & Tom Munnelly





































































It Was in the Month of January

It was in the month of January the hills were clad in snow
As over the hills and mountains my love and I did go
It was there I spied a pretty maid with a salt tear in her eye
She had a baby in her arms and bitterly she cried

Oh cruel was my father to bar the door on me
And cruel was my mother this dreadful crime to see
And cruel was my own true love to change his mind for gold
And cruel was that winters night that pierced my heart full cold

The taller that the pine tree grows the sweeter is the bark
The fairer that a young man speaks the falser is his heart
He will kiss you and embrace you until he thinks he has you won
Then he will go away and leave you all for some other one

So come all ye pretty fair maids a warning take by me
And never try to build your nest on top of any tree
For the roots they all shall wither and the branches all decay
And the beauties of a false young man must all soon fade away

A fine narrative song from the Northern Irish singing tradition. Herbert Hughes printed a fragmentary version of this song called The Fanaid Grove, in 'Irish Country Songs, Vol 1', and says that he knows of no other folk song composed to the same melody - a beautiful example of a modified Soh Mode", while in Joyce's 'Old Irish Folk Music and Songs' there is a fragmentary set sung by a reaper in a harvest field, containing the aromatic line: My love is as sweet as the cinnamon tree. It is a song that Co. Armagh singer Sarah Makem made her own and on the notes of the 1968 Topic LP 'Ulster Ballad singer' Sean O' Boyle writes, "This was Sarah Makem's greatest contribution to the annals of folksong. Here she treats with great sincerity of feeling one of oldest themes in traditional song - the story of a young girl betrayed and abondoned by her wealthy lover cast by cruel parents into the snow". Bruce thinks he learned it from her son Tommy Makem while in Carrick-on-Suir where he would regularly meet up with him and the Clancy Brothers. Other available recordings include Paddy Tunney on TSCD656 'Tonight I'll Make You my Bride' and Geordie Hanna on 'The Fisher's Cot'.

Song transcribed by Bruce & Dot Scott

Song notes: John Howson & Tom Munnelly


































































The Deck of the Baltimore

Come listen to my story now and my story I will tell
Concerning Jack McCarthy who in Liverpool did dwell
Down by the northern docks one day he happened for to stray
And on the deck of a western ocean boat he stowed himself away

And sailing down the river for New York we were bound
The Irish lad was stowed away far from his native land
This Irish boy was stowed away far from his native shore
On the deck of a western ocean boat called the city of Baltimore

And early every morning the first mate stood them to
And early every morning twas thus he addressed the crew
Where is that Irish vagabond that lately stowed away
Well here I am cried McCarthy and what do you mean I pray

Tis true I am an Irish man and that Ill not deny
Before I will stand under I will fight until I die
If youre a man of courage now its me youll stand before
And Ill fight you all along the deck of the city Baltimore

Well the first mate being a cowardly dog before him hed not stand
He called upon the 2nd mate to come and give him a hand
He said Ill not be flouted by any Irish son of a whore
Ill cause your blood to drip along the deck of the Baltimore

Well the second mate he quickly came to the 1st mates relief
But McCarthy grabbed a handspike and made them both retreat
His Irish blood began to boil and with a mad lions roar
He quickly laid them senseless on the deck of the Baltimore

Now the captain being a Scotsman McDonald was his name
On seeing what this young man done and towards him he came
He shook his hand and took him aft saying of you Ill ask no more
Youre the bravest man that ever trod on the deck of the Baltimore.

Well soon the voyage was over and they landed in New York
By the lady of sweet liberty McCarthy he found work
And now he runs an alehouse where the sailors come ashore
N,ere regretting the day he stowed away on the deck of the Baltimore

Another from Peter Scott's pub in Liverpool where Noel Scanlon would be asked to sing The Deck of the Baltimore. The song, which tells of the adventures of an Irish man who stows away on a ship in the Liverpool docks seems to be rare. This story of an Irishman who is taunted by others who live to regret it is a recurring theme in Irish folksong; Erin Go Brgh possibly being the most popular song in the genre. This song is much rarer, being particularly favoured in the maritime states of North America. It is also known as The City of Baltimore and Bold McCarthy. Joseph Ranson collected a fine version in Wexford in 1948 from Mary White of Ballyhack. The last verse was added by Bruce who was asked by American singer Bob Milner to contibrute to a session at Sidmouth Folk Festival on songs of emigration, the only criterion being that all the songs should start in Liverpool and finish in New York. The story of The Deck of the Baltimore was thus completed!

Song transcribed by Bruce & Dot Scott

Song notes: John Howson & Tom Munnelly




















































































My Liverpool Rose  (copyright Bruce Scott - Liverpool)

Theres a girl I adore by the Mersey shore with her lovely eyes of brown
And her long dark hair Ive a feeling rare Shes the rose of Liverpool town
When I first did vow on Everton Brow That wed never ever part
And I swore on my life Id make her my wife for she surely stole my heart

Oh we often strolled where the waters rolled along by the Mersey shore
And in calm or gale oer the waters sail to the one eyed town next door
Birkenhead was grand and New Brighton strand enchanting for to see
Then home again oer the Mersey Main to the only town for me

Down Paradise Street fish and chips wed eat then stroll along the old Park Lane
Dance away the nights 'neath Locarnos lights or the Graftons hall of fame
Home by Gregson's Well where the midnight bell for Christmas mass did ring
Those were times of joy for a girl and boy and our hearts were on the wing

Oft I would rove Parnassus grove in muse to find a phrase
her heart and mine for to entwine in cupids fondest praise
no hosts of golden daffodils sweet rosemary or thyme
could leave in shade my Mersey maid my own sweet rose so fine.

As she stood by my side and became my bride in St Francis old church hall
Down Langsdale Street where we did meet she did my heart enthral
For she is my love and my turtle dove and as long as the Mersey flows
She will be my queen sweet Polly dear and forever my Liverpool rose

Bruce's own song for his wife Dot whom he usually calls 'Polly', written some twenty five years ago as a Valentine's present after she complained that he had never wrote a song for her. The air he used is Mo Cailin Deas (My Lovely Girl).

Song transcribed by Bruce & Dot Scott

Song notes: John Howson & Tom Munnelly










































































On the Deck of Patrick Lynchs Boat


On the deck of Patrick lynchs boat

I lay in mournfull plight

Through the weeping all the weary day

And lamenting through the night

Were it not for want and poverty

From my people forth I go

By the blessed sun 'tis royally

I would sing thy praise Mayo

When I dwelt at home in plenty

And my gold did much abound

In the company of fair young maids

The Spanish ale went around tis a sad sad change

From those gay days

That now Im forced to go

I must leave my bones in Santa Cruz

Far from my sweet Mayo

They are altered girls in Irrull now

Tis proud they are grown and high

With their hair bags

And their top knots

They pass their buachailles by

Ah but little now I heed their airs

For God would have it so

I must sail away

From Erins Isle

And leave my own Mayo

Tis to my grief that Patrick Lochlainn

Is not earl in Irrul still

Or that Brian Duff no longer rules

As lord upon the hill

Or that Colonel Hugh McGrady

Should be lying cold and low

And me sailing swiftly sailing

From the County of Mayo.

Yet another song that Bruce got from Noel Scanlon. It is usually called The County of Mayo or The Mayo Exile and is said to have been translated from the Irish by 17th century writer Thomas Lavelle and was put to the tune of Billy Byrne of Ballymanus by George Fox some time after 1815. Well known throughout Ireland nowadays, particularly from the singing of John Lyons, this translation of Condae Mhuigh Eo was hugely anthologised after its first appearance in the Irish Penny Journal in 1840. It is the only known poem of Belfast man Fox of whom not a lot is known. Born in 1809 and educated in Trinity Colllege, Dublin, he was a friend of the executed rebel, Robert Emmet. He emigrated to America at the height of the Famine, in 1847 and he is believed to have died in New Guinea sometime around 1880.

Song transcribed by Bruce & Dot Scott

Song notes: John Howson & Tom Munnelly

















































































She Moved Through the Fair

My young love said to me my mother wont mind
And my father wont slight you for your lack of kind
Then she moved away from me and this she did say
It will not be long love 'til our wedding day

She moved away from me and she moved through the fair
And fondly I watched her move here and move there
Then she made her way homeward with one star awake
Like the swan in the evening moves over the lake

For the people were saying no two could wed
For one had a sorrow that never was said
And she made her way homeward with the goods and the gear
And that was the last time that I saw my dear

Also known as Our Wedding Day this is a popular song in Ireland and Bruce says that he just picked it up over the years. Sam Henry has five versions in 'Songs of the People' and states that the text was reworked by Padraic Colum from an 'old ballad' to a Donegal air collected by Herbert Hughes in 1909. Recordings of the song sung by traditional singers are few but do include 1950s BBC recordings of Frances McPeake in Belfast, Robert Cinnamond in Co. Antrim and Bridget Tunney in Co. Fermanagh. In recent years the singer who made the song her own was traveller Margaret Barry and her remarkable rendition can be heard on RCD1774 'I played through the fairs. Since then, many versions of the song of varying length and each more beautiful than the other have surfaced on the traditional singing circuit.

Song transcribed by Bruce & Dot Scott

Song notes: John Howson & Tom Munnelly








































































Buck St John Black Army

On the first of my downfall I barred up the door
And I straight made my way to sweet Carrick on Suir
Coming in by Peel Row it was late in the night
Going down the main street for to view the big light
Chorus: Rattling fol the diddle da rattling fal the di aye

Going down the main street for to view the big lamp
There I met an old man youd call him a tramp
I boldly stepped up to him and on to him said
Can you direct me to anyplace Id find a bed

He directed me down to a place call Cope Lane
Where a man called Buck St John kept a slumbering cave
And over the door was a bit of a board
And it neatly tied down with some marline cord

I walked up and then down till I found the ould door
I was cold wet and weary tired to be sure
When Buck St John came out and onto me said
If youd show me two coppers Id show you a bed

Then he took me inside clapped my back to the wall
And I saw I was into an old cobblers stall
Sure and there the old cobbler him mending old brogues
With his hammer and pinchers tied up in galore

He showed me upstairs and he blew out the light
And in less than five minutes I had to make fight
In less than five more now my story was worse
For the bugs came in clusters to help the black horse

All around my poor stomach there clustered an arch
As a pack of black bugs came and played the dead march
As one big drum major gave me such a nip
He was very near taking the use of my hip

I sat up in bed and demanded fair play
If I had you outside sure Id fight my own way
Ah the blind and the lame you could pity there moans
If they gave me sore sides Id give them broken bones

Now Ill come to my studies these lines Ill pen down
To any young labourer who dose come to town
To any young traveller benighted like me
On beware of Buck St John and his black army


This song is related to the The Kilkenny Louse-house and Bruce say that the gas-light that is mentioned was the first to be installed in the centre of Carrick-on-Suir and this became a place for people to visit. Carrick-on-Suir was recorded by the BBC from Christy Purcell of Belfast in 1952 and Burke's Engine (the title was mis-heard by collectors) was recorded from Tommy & Gemma McGrath in Ross, Co. Waterford and canbe heard on Topic TSCD557 'First I'm Going to Sing You a Ditty'. As The Kilkenny Louse-house, the song can be heard sung by Mary Delaney of Co. Tipperary on MTCD325-6 From Puck to Appleby and by The Dubliners on various compilation CDs. Bruce learned his version in Carrickbeg from Patrick Galvan in Galivans pub in the 1960s. Other songs on the same theme, such as Gut-'Em's Damnation Buck Fleas or The Black Rag of Hill of Hilltown will be known to some Irish singers and we are sure that visitors to Rothesay in Scotland will have some trepidation about booking into lodgings there for a night as it is the setting for the most famous of all the flea-battle songs.

Song transcribed by Bruce & Dot Scott

Song notes: John Howson & Tom Munnelly









































































My Collen by the Shore  (copyright Bruce Scott - Liverpool)

Down the old Howth Road in October
I strolled down by the strand
Strong Autumn winds from the Wicklow Hills
Rolled wild waves onto the land
Where a colleen fair did my heart ensnare
Id love her forever more
Shes from Dollymount Way down by Dublin Bay
Shes my colleen by the shore.

With her eyes so blue hair of golden hue
An angel there for me
No Greek goddess could her surpass in all reality
No poets mind the words could find
To describe her beauty more
Of that lady fine sweet lass of mine
My colleen by the shore

When the wintertime shed its frost and rime
And the wild winds blew no more
Soft April showers brought Mays green bowers
To enhance that charming shore
All around Howth Hill hear the wee birds trill
Through the green woods whistle and sing
Summertime brought joy to a girl and boy
And our hearts were on the wing.

Through those summer days I would sing her praise
With songs and poems of love
I would promise her my maiden fair
The moon and stars above
For no other girl set my mind awhirl
Ill love her for evermore
My own Irish lass mo colleen deas
My colleen by the shore

And off times Id roam across the foam
Far from the hill of howth
To foreign lands on distant strands
King fortune bid me rove
But Id give up gold and wealth untold
Just to sail the seas once more
To return to my pearl, my treasure there

One of Bruce's newly composed songs which gave him the title, for the first time, of All Ireland Champion in the category of newly composed ballads - English' (Amhrin Nua Cheaptha Bearla) at the 2004 Fleadh Cheoil na hireann in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. The air he used is Fainne Gael an Lae or The Dawning of the Day which, at a brisker pace, is often used as a marching tune.

Song transcribed by Bruce & Dot Scott

Song notes: John Howson & Tom Munnelly



































































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