Mudcat Café message #2088434 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #41161   Message #2088434
Posted By: GUEST,Jim Carroll
27-Jun-07 - 02:58 PM
Thread Name: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
Back to the songs,
As far as our work was concerned, it was sometimes difficult to remember that some of the singers we were recording in West Clare were singing about incidents that had taken place in their lifetimes. A number of them would have been in their twenties at the time that the burning and looting of Miltown Malbay, Lahinch and Ennistymon by the Black and Tans took place. This included the murder of several townspeople. Several people we knew witnessed the incident on St. John's Eve when the locals of Miltown were machine-gunned by 'Tans' when they lit the traditional bonfire in the main street. We recorded a singer who knew Micho MacNamara (of Mac and Shanahan fame) who was arrested, tortured and beaten to death by Black and Tans along with his neighbour Michael Shanahan.
We recorded the story from a man who told us of how he was stopped, and searched by two 'Tans' in Miltown, and when they failed to find anything incriminating, they released him. As he was walking away they shot him, wounding him in the side of the head - he still had the scar.
The elderly lady who ran the bar in Kilshanny where we recorded a storyteller, was a nurse in Dublin in 1916 and a witness to the Easter Week Uprising.
It is often quite easy to mistake passion in singing (a commodity found in abundance in traditional singers, but alas, very rare in revival singers) with vindictiveness.
We met a fine example of this when we were recording two elderly brothers in North Clare. To put it in context, this was the time when Catholics refrained from eating meat on a Friday.
We had been welcomed into their home, sung to, fed and watered (or whiskyed) by them, and were preparing to leave when one of them sang us a lovely version of The Manchester Martyrs (which we had not come across before).
At the end of the song he launched into a diatribe about the English; how, when you saluted them on the road, they didn't salute back - he finished off by declaring "They'd eat a horse on a Friday!"
He than sat down and insisted we had another glass of whisky - which, of course, we did.
Jim Carroll