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Origins: Song 'Sweet Portaferry'

GUEST,gecko 24 Apr 19 - 12:03 AM
Johnny J 24 Apr 19 - 02:42 AM
Johnny J 24 Apr 19 - 03:10 AM
John MacKenzie 24 Apr 19 - 04:07 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 24 Apr 19 - 06:17 AM
Johnny J 24 Apr 19 - 07:37 AM
GUEST 25 Apr 19 - 06:45 AM
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Subject: Origins: Song 'Sweet Portaferry'
From: GUEST,gecko
Date: 24 Apr 19 - 12:03 AM

I'm hoping you'll be able to help with some info about this song. Perhaps the song I know as Sweet Portaferry is known by a different name but I've exhausted my usual lines of inquiry and drawn a blank. Can't find it in the DT Lyrics either.
First two lines go:

You may gaze from green mountains across the bright seas
Where wonder and pleasement are taking their ease..

After a break of many years I've recently started playing in a weekly Irish session here in Cairns and the tune to the song is played as part of an arrangement. Now, I immediately recognised the tune but could not bring either the lyrics or song title to mind - I'm claiming a Senior Moment. No-one in the session knew it as a song but I've now dug out my copy of the words from about thirty years ago and I had forgotten just how beautiful the words were. However, as I mentioned at the beginning of this message, there doesn't appear to be much online about it.

I'll try and post it here in it's entirety as I'm not familiar with 'blue clickies'

SWEET PORTAFERRY.   (F#)


You may gaze from green mountains across the bright seas

Where wonder and pleasement are taking their ease

You may search the world over from there to Japan

Transported with nature and the glory of Man

But why should men tail foreign lands to explore

When wonder and pleasement are here at the door

And who would go roving through country and town

from sweet Portaferry and the kingdom of Down


It lies in a harbour convenient and free

Where the waters of Strangford run swirling to sea

To bear on their bosom the yield of our toil

When farmer and fisherman plough lake and soil

Their bright silver comes in our nets to the strand

Our gold and our glory are planted by hand

But who would give beauty for gain or renown

And leave Portaferry and the kingdom of Down


If I were a poor man Id work on my land

Content with the beauty at every hand

But if I were a rich man my care to beguile

Id fill up my pockets and wander awhile

And what though Id wander on strange lands and seas

And think my land middling compared against these

I know when old age makes a sage of a clown

Id seek Portaferry and the kingdom of Down.


Over to you, dear mudcatter friends.
YIU
gecko


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song 'Sweet Portaferry'
From: Johnny J
Date: 24 Apr 19 - 02:42 AM

Recorded by Jane Cassidy back in 82/83.

There's another thread about it here..


/mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=57391

The tune is O'Carolan's "Fanny Power" as you may have realised.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song 'Sweet Portaferry'
From: Johnny J
Date: 24 Apr 19 - 03:10 AM

Oops. Link doesn't work for some reason.

You could try to copy and paste it from here...

https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=57391


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song 'Sweet Portaferry'
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 24 Apr 19 - 04:07 AM

Jane is on Facebook, so she can be contacted, for information. She's a very nice lady, and I'm sure she would gladly answer any queries.
I will message her, and let her know this thread is here.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song 'Sweet Portaferry'
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 24 Apr 19 - 06:17 AM

The Roud Index lists the only source as Jackie Boyce: Songs of the County Down (2004) pp.182-183 (earlier edition 1979, pp 30-31).

The only entry in the BL catalogue is the Jane Cassidy recording.

The lyrics were posted on Mudcat back in '03 : Lyr Add: Sweet Portaferry, where you will find some more information, including the tune Sweet Portaferry as noted by Bunting.

It's not clear whether the Bunting tune was for this song or not. There is another Sweet Portaferry published in Ballads Of Down (1901), published by George Francis Savage -Armstrong, which gives the air as "Sweet Portaferry". You can find Bunting's piano version of the tune here: Ancient Music Of Ireland (1840), Edward Bunting.


Another copy of the tune: Davidson's Instrumental Gems at NLS.

There are several version on youtube and elsewhere (too many too link).

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song 'Sweet Portaferry'
From: Johnny J
Date: 24 Apr 19 - 07:37 AM

I don't know if these other tunes went with the song or not.

However, Jane's version uses the Carolan tune as she states on her "Waves of Time" album sleeve..

"My brother Frank and I took these charming poetic lines-describing the beauties of our native County Down-and married the words to Carolan's "Fanny Power" "


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song 'Sweet Portaferry'
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Apr 19 - 06:45 AM

Hi there Jane Cassidy (Belfast) here. I got the words of the 3 verses of Sweet Portaferry from Colm O'Lochlainn and put it to the tune Fanny Powers. I recorded it on my first album 'Waves of Time' back in 1982 with my brother Frank. There's a live version of me singing it at a festival in Lugano on my soundcloud page if that's of any help.
Happy singing!
Jane


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