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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,John Moulden Lyr Req: Fields of Greenmore (75* d) RE: Lyr Req: Fields of Greenmore 19 Jul 12


I think it might be worthwhile explaining the nature of these hunts. They were conducted by local men over the local ground. Each man had his own dog, usually one, occasionally two and the hunt was conducted on foot. There was no 'master' no whippers-in and the number of people who took part was simply the number who appeared; anyone could take part, from within the district or from outside.

In the song, there are named, Owen McMahon, young Toner, and some of us would hold, 'Coyle'. In the reading that allows Coyle to be a person, he took part, with his own dog, or dogs, in the Tassagh Hunt and he and they played a significant part in the killing of a hare which the local men held in some esteem. In this case, as with the hare eulogised in several other hunt songs, The Creggan White Hare, The Hare of Kilgrain, Geordie Hanna's 'hare on yonder hill" and others, the hare is personified. Sam Hanna Bell remarks on the matter in a chapter of his 'Erin's Orange Lily'. In a similar way, horses, like Skewball or Creeping Jane are afforded voices. Here, the Granemore Hare echoes the desire of his usual human hunters that he should have stayed out of the way of Coyle and his dog(s) and thereby lived to hunt another day. Incidentally, the line 'with a pack of strange dogs' probably indicates that Coyle was not a local, the 'strange dogs' were not his but those of the men whose hunt he had (temporarily) joined. It was not unusual that men would travel to the ground of another hunt.

As I said above, there appear to be three and no more traditional versions and about the same number of versions that, because of their closeness to the area or to Northern Irish hunting practices, have more authority than others. The versions by Steeleye Span and others contain misunderstandings and mishearings that merely confuse. If we want to find out what something means to those whose experience is commemorated, we must go back to the versions closest to those people.

Unless evidence, gained hopefully by questioning people in the locality of this hunt, can be brought forward to support any other view, I do not intend to contribute again, though, for the sake af clarity, I should say that I believe any interpretation save the mundane, to be a farrago.


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