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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
weerover Lyr Req: Flowery Nolan's Bride (2) RE: Lyr Req: Flowery Nolan's Bride 04 May 20

Is this it, Joe:
Flowery Nolan (Roud 16693)   Mikeen McCarthy
Oh he lived upon the *Stokestown Road,
Convening to *Arphin,
A man called Flowery Nolan,
A terror to all men,
He reached the age of seventy one,
He thought himself it was time,
For to go and get a missus,
His wedding 'twould be no crime.

Oh the news it quickly spread around
How Flowery wished to wed
Oh several maids came offer to him
And from them all he fled
Except one young fair maid,
Her fortune ‘twas rather high,
So he took and he married this young fair maid
To be his wedded wife.

Oh the wedding it lasted two nights and one day
'Til one night going in to bed,
Oh, Flowery turned all to his wife
And these are the words he said;
"You think you are my wedded wife
But I'll tell you you're not,
Oh you are only but my serving maid
And better is your lot."

"Oh there is two beds in my bedroom
And take the one to the right,
I've lived all alone for seventy one
And I'll lie alone tonight."

Oh when Mrs Nolan heard those words
She thought her husband queer,
Oh, packing up her belongings
From him she went away.
She tramped the road to her father's house,
'Tis there she did remain,
And then all the men in the Stokestown Road
Wouldn’t get her back again.

Now then, all ye pretty young fair maids,
A warning take by me,
Never marry an old man
Or sorry you will be,
Never marry an old man
‘Til you’re fed up of your life,
Or then you'll be coming home again
Like Flowery Nolan's wife.
Spoken: He was an old bachelor, he was… for years and he used be always talking about getting married, but it never… when 'twould be in his mind to get married, he'd never bother about it again, he said he'd wait 'til next year and next year and it goes on that way until he was seventy one year of age.
So bejay, that farmers around anyway, told him that 'twould be no harm to get a wife, to have someone to look after him like. So he advertised in the paper anyway, for the wife, so ‘twas more of a joke than anything else with all the lads around the parish of course, more blaggarding than anything else that time.
So bejay, a lot of the girls came around pulling his leg that time, letting on they were going to marry him and all that and bejay, this one meant it. Out of all her joking ‘tis she got the dirty turn out.
[* Stokestown: Strokestown, Co Roscommon; * Arphin: Elphin; Co Roscommon]
Arranged or ‘made’ marriages were very much an accepted part of rural life in Ireland up to comparatively recent times. In 1940, American researchers, Conrad M Arensberg and Solon T Kimball, stated that this form of marriage, known as matchmaking, was regarded as ‘the only respectable method of marriage and inheritance’.
The distribution of wealth and property was not the only reason for ‘made matches’ as they were called. Women from poor households which were unable to support the whole family would readily marry older farmers looking for a housekeeper, or maybe widowers with young children to care for.
Echoes of these arranged marriages are still to be found in Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare, where there is an annual matchmaking festival, although nowadays this is largely for the benefit of the tourists. This song seems to have survived only among Travellers.

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