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Help: Origins of Carrickfergus

DigiTrad:
CARRICKFERGUS


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Jack Hickman - Kingston, ON 03 Jan 00 - 12:22 AM
sam 03 Jan 00 - 06:16 AM
John Moulden 03 Jan 00 - 07:13 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 03 Jan 00 - 08:15 AM
banjerbob@aol.com 03 Jan 00 - 08:25 AM
John Moulden 03 Jan 00 - 11:15 AM
Peter T. 03 Jan 00 - 11:29 AM
John Moulden 03 Jan 00 - 06:08 PM
Jack Hickman - Kingston, ON 03 Jan 00 - 08:10 PM
Richard Bridge 03 Jan 00 - 08:26 PM
harpgirl 03 Jan 00 - 10:59 PM
Lonesome EJ 03 Jan 00 - 11:24 PM
John Moulden 04 Jan 00 - 05:49 AM
Neil Comer 04 Jan 00 - 05:53 PM
John in Brisbane 04 Jan 00 - 07:45 PM
Martin Ryan 06 Jan 00 - 08:52 AM
catspaw49 06 Jan 00 - 09:12 AM
John Moulden 06 Jan 00 - 02:31 PM
Neil Comer 06 Jan 00 - 02:52 PM
John Moulden 07 Jan 00 - 07:06 AM
Martin _Ryan 07 Jan 00 - 10:55 AM
John Moulden 07 Jan 00 - 04:31 PM
Mikal 07 Jan 00 - 08:12 PM
Áine 07 Jan 00 - 09:59 PM
Áine 08 Jan 00 - 10:05 AM
Peter T. 08 Jan 00 - 12:10 PM
Áine 08 Jan 00 - 12:14 PM
Susanne (skw) 08 Jan 00 - 01:52 PM
Martin _Ryan 08 Jan 00 - 06:42 PM
Martin _Ryan 08 Jan 00 - 06:45 PM
John Moulden 08 Jan 00 - 08:14 PM
Martin Ryan 09 Jan 00 - 10:35 AM
John Moulden 09 Jan 00 - 10:44 AM
Susanne (skw) 09 Jan 00 - 04:00 PM
Mikal 09 Jan 00 - 07:50 PM
Brakn 09 Jan 00 - 08:51 PM
Martin _Ryan 10 Jan 00 - 05:56 AM
John Moulden 10 Jan 00 - 09:15 AM
Philippa 10 Jan 00 - 08:12 PM
Áine 10 Jan 00 - 08:41 PM
Bruce O. 10 Jan 00 - 09:03 PM
Philippa 14 Jan 00 - 03:01 PM
John Moulden 14 Jan 00 - 03:51 PM
Bruce O. 14 Jan 00 - 05:45 PM
Áine 14 Jan 00 - 06:08 PM
Bruce O. 14 Jan 00 - 06:19 PM
14 Jan 00 - 06:38 PM
Annraoi 15 Jan 00 - 08:10 AM
John Moulden 15 Jan 00 - 11:39 AM
Annraoi 15 Jan 00 - 06:10 PM
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Subject: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Jack Hickman - Kingston, ON
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 12:22 AM

Dear Friends:

I have been asked to determine if Carrickfergus is a traditional song, or can it be attributed to anyone specific. Also does it by any chance predate 1800.

I am slowly and methodically perusing every book of appropriate folk music I can find, but in the meantime I thought if anyone had the information to hand, it might speed me on my way. I've seen more obscure questionas asked on Mudcat, and usually they get answers.

Keep the Faith.

Jack Hickman


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: sam
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 06:16 AM

I want to know the same thing. I have heard that it was done at the turn of the century( 1900) in music halls. I've heard that the song is American in origin.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: John Moulden
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 07:13 AM

The first I heard of this song was from Dominic Behan who said that he had learned it from the actor Peter O'Toole, whose favourite song it was. Dominic recorded it in the early sixties. His words differed slightly from those sung by the Clancy's whose source is surrounded by the usual creative mist. I have never since heard any version which could not be traced to either of those, nor have I ever - and I have looked at most of the manuscript, ballad sheet, popular song book or book collections of Irish songs ever made - seen it in any prior form.

It is, as you say, a mystery. I'll give it some more attention.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 08:15 AM

If you look at the song, it seems to be similar to Waly, Waly/Water is Wide.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: banjerbob@aol.com
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 08:25 AM

I checked with my friend Stewart, who went to ireland last summer and actually played the tune on a hill overlooking the Castle Cerrikfergus (over 1000 years old). He maintains it is indeed an old tune, and he played it a lot in the pubs. FWIW


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: John Moulden
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 11:15 AM

I too could assert that this is an old tune but in the absence of evidence would not expect my assertion to be accepted. My experience of this song is as I stated it above - with the addition that Dominic Behan called it "The Kerry Boatman" and sings the first two lines - "I wish I was in Carrickfergus, In ELphin, Aoidtrim or Ballygrind,"

The Clancy's sing "Only for nights in Ballygrand" - which has never made any sense to me - and probably not to anyone else either, but who am I to quarrel with their authority?

Behan's book"Ireland Sings" (London, 1965) gives three verses of which he says, he wrote the middle one and the others he collected from Peter O'Toole.

In trying to make sense of a song and its context we can do no more than start with what we have.

The mystery as far as I am concerned has four elements - 1. Since thirty-five years of looking can find no trace of the song prior to Peter O'Toole - where could it have been up to then? 2. Is it about the County Antrim Carrickfergus: the other place names are either obscure (Aoidtrim - which is not Irish for Antrim (Aontraim) - or Ballygrind - which I cannot presently trace) but Elphin is in Roscommon) - and Kilkenny? Was the first place name originally Carrickfergus at all? 3. What about the KERRY boatman? 4. Why do I have a hunch that there is an Irish language original? - though any Irish versions are actually translations of these words?

There are currently no answers to any of these questions.

The thematic similarity to "The water is wide" is fascinating too and raises its own questions - was O'Toole the author?

This is not all suggested seriously - just a contribution to the breadth of the puzzle.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Peter T.
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 11:29 AM

The drunken ending is obviously about Peter O'Toole, whether by him or not....
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: John Moulden
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 06:08 PM

Just to add a final piece of information. The LP which contained Dominic Behan's performance was called "The Irish Rover" and was published in about 1963 by Doug Dobell from his record shop on Charing Cross Road, London and was numbered F-LEUT-2. Unfortunately I no longer have it - especially since the notes said something pithy about Peter O'Toole, Dominic Behan and drink.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Jack Hickman - Kingston, ON
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 08:10 PM

Wow, what a response. I likely won't be able to give my friend a definitive answer to her questions, I will certainly be able to give her some food for thought. Keep it up, folks, one never knows what might eventually. come out of this thread.

I do think that the suggestion of Peter O'Toole being the author of the song is really reaching. But that's what theories are all about.

Jack Hickman


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 08:26 PM

At Cambridge folk festival this used to be sung in the Guinness tent (as distinct from the beer tent) and there were many, many verses. But I cannot say which vcame first, the chicken or the egg.

Has anyone asked O'Toole?. I got the definitive answer to the puzzle of "The Gay Fusilier" by asking Pete Coe what he wrote (and one day I will get around to posting it too). HE 'fessed up.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: harpgirl
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 10:59 PM

well, it's a fiddle tune so maybe the tune came before the words...if Bruce O doesn't have some versions of it in his data base perhaps the words we sing are newer than the tune...we have talked about it a bunch before but I don't see the threads...harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 11:24 PM

I've never been sure what the line about Kilkenny means- "Down in Kilkenny it is reported
On Marble tablets as black as ink
With gold and silver, I did support her..."

Is it the epitaph of his wife he refers to, or a marriage vow, or...


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: John Moulden
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 05:49 AM

Another final addition - The LP "The Irish Rover" was on the Folklore label and was reviewed in "Sing" for October 1961 as "Dominic Behan's new record"

A question - if it is a fiddle tune, is there any evidence of a performance in that form earlier than late 1961?


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Neil Comer
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 05:53 PM

I am aware of an Irish language song of a same tune, but I can't quite remember where I heard it. The first line is 'do bhí bean uasal...' ( there was a noble woman)I'll try to get more info.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 07:45 PM

I sang this as part of a performance at the Woodford Festival in the last week. Before going on stage I racked my brain to try and remember what a Mudcateer had suggested were more sensible words for "I would support her" but could not. The main point here is that there has been a discussion here before on the lyrics - I haven't yet searched.

Also recall that I performed this as part of a series of concerts with the Fureys as the main stars. At interval I was complimented by a man in his late 60's (I guess) who was from Carrickfergus. He told me that he had grown up with the song/tune, but when I stop to think about it even a song composed in 1961 could almost qualify for that claim.

I'll be keen to see where this research leads us.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 08:52 AM

John

The only Gaelic connection I can think of is this: Sean O Sé, from Cork, used to sing a song to this air with Ceoltoiri Chuallan (Sean O Riada's seminal group). The first line was something like "Do bhí bean uasail, seal dá luath-sa..." - the opening phrase may well have been the title. I suspect its on the "O Riada sa Gaiety" album (now available on CD?. The theme was unrelated to C'fergus - and I've no idea where the words came from. May well have been written by O'Riada himself? This would have been around the early sixties. That suggests to me that one of the songs was well known at that time - and I suspect it was Carrickfergus!

I think I have always assumed that C'fergus was a stray branch of "The Water is Wide".

Regards


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: catspaw49
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 09:12 AM

Anybody try Max's new search engine on this yet? You'll find it interesting.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: John Moulden
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 02:31 PM

Thank you Martin, thant's the one - and when I think of it, I always assumed it came after Carrickfergus; but don't we always assume priority for whatever he hear first.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Neil Comer
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 02:52 PM

I knew that I had heard it somewhere before. Thanks for jogging my memory


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: John Moulden
Date: 07 Jan 00 - 07:06 AM

I've now searched, with the help of the Irish Traditional Music Archive, for references to either "Carrickfergus" or to "Do Bhí Bean Uasal" (They turned up 154 references to recordings of Carrickfergus - confusion is easy.)

In the first case - nothing appears prior to 1961. Concerning "Do bhí bean uasal" there are two significant references - an Irish language newspaper of 1905 (Iris Leabhar na Gaedhlige - spelling not guaranteed) and Donal O'Sullivan with Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin (eds) Bunting's Ancient Music of Ireland (Cork, 1983) (no 72). The notations edited date from the late 18th to early 19th century.

In neither case is the tune given the same as, nor does it bear any but occasional resemblance to, the one well known as "Carrickfergus."

The version of "Do bhí bean uasal" remembered by Neil and Martin was sung by Seán Ó Sé on a record "O'Riada sa Gaiety" (Gael Linn CEF 027) which selected a concert given by O'Riada in late 1969. The performance intermingled some of the Irish words of "Do bhí bean uasal" with some of the English words of "Carrickfergus" and used the air of Carrickfergus. These two sets of words (if those in Bunting are a guide) are not related.

Given the differences between the tunes of "Carrickfergus" and "Do bhí bean uasal" and the lack of connection between the texts, I am of the opinion (unless other evidence emerges) that their juxtaposition by Seán Ó Sé was no more than opportunism - two songs for the price of one and to a tune everyone knew.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Martin _Ryan
Date: 07 Jan 00 - 10:55 AM

Yes John - which suggests Carrickfergus is older than we have currently been able to prove!

Regards

p.s. Unless of course, theres a third....! No.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: John Moulden
Date: 07 Jan 00 - 04:31 PM

Sorry Martin, I disagree.

John


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Mikal
Date: 07 Jan 00 - 08:12 PM

My Uncle Joe used to love that song, but there are lines he sang differently. Knowing very little of the places and times, I am unsure as to the meanings.

He maintained that "Carrickfergus" refereed to the castle on the coast near Belfast. So the line he used was "I wish I was in Carrickfergus, Antrim, Dunluce, or the Belfast plain."

His other line that he sang differently was "And in Killkenny, she is recorded; on a marble stone there, as black as ink." He maintained the song to revere a lost love, now dead.

As to the age of the song, he claimed it was written by an Irish immigrant, in Gaelic, but fairly recently, say in the early 1900's. He claimed the English words were common in the Army among Irish/American soldiers.

However, Uncle Joe told a lot of stories, and this may not be true either.

Mikal (Now I have this song in my head...)


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Áine
Date: 07 Jan 00 - 09:59 PM

In 'Love Songs of The Irish' selected and edited by James N. Healey, Mercier Press, 1977, Mr. Healey has this to say about the song 'Carrigfergus' (his spelling) '... this song is ... of uncertain origin, and, in the various forms in which it is heard, incomplete. Nevertheless the effect of sadness comes over well -- from the air and an interesting obscurity in the words.' He gives the air as being 'traditional'.

-- Áine


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Áine
Date: 08 Jan 00 - 10:05 AM

Good morning, everyone! I did a search on the IRTRAD-L archives and came up with some interesting (in my humble opinion) stuff. This question of the origin of this song is beginning to make me a little 'batty'. I hope we can find an acceptable answer soon. -- Áine

IRTRAD-L archives -- January 1998 (#795) [Two ABC formats]

IRTRAD-L archives -- January 1998 (#824) [Discusses Carrickfergus and The Dargle]

IRTRAD-L archives -- January 1998 (#825) [another version of the tune in ABC]


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Peter T.
Date: 08 Jan 00 - 12:10 PM

Um, Aine, if you expect to be relieved of your battiness by a resolution of the origins of almost any Irish song, you are already too far gone to be helped....
top of the mornin' to you, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Áine
Date: 08 Jan 00 - 12:14 PM

Aren't you the clever article, Peter! Don't I know that there are as many opinions about where an Irish song comes from than birds in the sky! Notice that I said 'acceptable answer' -- I know too well that we'll never come up with a 'final' one -- and isn't that a large part of the fun in it!

-- Áine


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 08 Jan 00 - 01:52 PM

This is a very interesting thread. Twenty years ago, a German 'authority' on the Irish language and Irish songs assured her readers, in the magazine 'Folk Michel', that it was a macaronic song whose meaning got lost if you left out the Irish verses. John's research gave me second thoughts about the extent of her expertise … - Susanne


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Martin _Ryan
Date: 08 Jan 00 - 06:42 PM

John

Disagree about what? Apart perhaps from Mikal's comments above, we're still no further back than about 1960.It would probably halp if we separated tune and words but we're still not getting very far.

Regards

p.s. Now I'll go and look up Aine's IRTRAD links!


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Martin _Ryan
Date: 08 Jan 00 - 06:45 PM

I'm afraid I'm no wiser - do either of the tunes resemble the one we're discussing?

Regards


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: John Moulden
Date: 08 Jan 00 - 08:14 PM

My disagreement with Martin is on account of his saying that the evidence I cite regarding "Do bhí bean uasal" suggests that Carrickfergus is older than we have been able to prove. I'm agnostic in this area.

To clarify the material in the Irtrad-l archives. The first two references are to a tune, a dance tune known in various forms as "The Lady of the Lake" "The small pin cushion" or "Haste to the Wedding" - it is also associated with a Manx song, sometimes (however, unlikely this may seem) attributed to the French General Thurot called "The Capture of Carrickfergus" - thus the tune is also known by the name Carrickfergus. However, on playing over the version in Eloise Hubbard Linnscott's "Folk Songs of Old New England (DoverPublications Inc, New York, 1993) (pages 87-88) it proves to be a version of the Dance/Song Tune "Haste to the Wedding" and has no connection with "I wish I was in Carrickfergus.

The third reference is the air we would all recognise as Carrickfergus but it has no information about source or origin and takes our inquiry no further.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 09 Jan 00 - 10:35 AM

John

I share your agnosticism, overall. I remain puzzled - but then - so do you!

Regards

p.s. Happy new year!


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: John Moulden
Date: 09 Jan 00 - 10:44 AM

Yes, and to you and Josie. Will you be in Wexford at the beginning of February?

You're right about my being puzzled - I can discover nothing earlier than Dominic and any indication which might lead to an earlier origin either for words or music looks spurious. Further, I'm ready to bet that the Clancy Bros got it from D and that everybody else's version derives from them - including the rash of additional verses which have appeared.

Incidentally (watch the tangent) Dominic Behan sang, on the same 1961 record "The Irish Rover" a song which he called "McAldine's Fusileers" and which began "As down the glen came McAldine's men .." What are the odds that this is the first appearance of this song too?


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 09 Jan 00 - 04:00 PM

John - I thought it was certain Dominic had written McAlpine's Fusiliers? The Dubliners even credit it to him in their songbook. (Sorry about thread creep - should we start a new thread on this?) - Susanne


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Mikal
Date: 09 Jan 00 - 07:50 PM

Okay, sorry I was a bit vague in my post. Uncle Joe said he had heard it sung in Gaelic in the army during WWII, in the 40's. The tune was not quite the same though.

My father's tapes, (he did not sing, but left family history for us on cassette before he died, has him singing a snippet of the Gaelic, but his ability to carry a tune is highly suspect. I cannot tell from the tape if he is singing the tune "Carrickfergus" or "The Old Rugged Cross"! (Hey, the old guy had no voice to speak of!)

A quick "ask around" of the family found no one who currently knew the words Uncle Joe sang in Gaelic, and only a few of the older ones and I remembered him singing it at all. However, the two lines I posted are correct to his version.

Another myth we may never track down. Hmmmmm…

Mikal


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Brakn
Date: 09 Jan 00 - 08:51 PM

Re McAlpine's Fusiliers
I do that song and a couple of years ago someone stopped me when I said that it was written by Dominic Behan. This person maintained that it was written by a navi, who had been working in England, called Darkie McClafferty and that Dominic Behan had wrongly taken the credit.

Mick Bracken


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Martin _Ryan
Date: 10 Jan 00 - 05:56 AM

John

I've just had a look at "Ireland Sings" - I'd never noticed the song before. Behan's notes seem to suggest that he wrote the second verse of his 3 verse set, having collected the others from O'Toole. It's not like him to be so generous in his acknowledgement of sources! In fact it would rather ironic if DID write it and were not recognised for it.
That second verse mentions "Bredeen Vesey" as the poet's love. This looks like a nod to "Bridín Béasach" , a Raftery poem of which Mrs. Costelloe collected a long version as a song (JIFSS XVi, 56).
So - where did O'Toole get it?

Regards


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: John Moulden
Date: 10 Jan 00 - 09:15 AM

Martin, this time I am in agreement with all that you say - Peter O'Toole is still alive, I think - could he be asked?

I'm sorry to have started the herring about McAlpine's Fusiliers. There is a curiosity in the Dubliner's acknowledgement of Dominic Behan - it is said to be copyright by Essex Music - This is the company which published "Irish Sings" - but McA is not in that book, nor in Dominic's other songbook "The Singing Irish" which was published in 1967 by Scott Solomon, London. Did Dominic publish other books - individual songs were in 101 Scottish Songs and in the second Rebel's Ceili Song Book - but I've been aware of no other songbooks by him.

I'm going to transfer this query to a separate thread so that we may benefit from the knowledge of those who have not been following this one.


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Subject: Lyr Add: CARRICKFERGUS (Irish+English)
From: Philippa
Date: 10 Jan 00 - 08:12 PM

I have words to an Irish language/ macaronic Carrickfergus. Can we get further information Ó Riada's input to the song as recorded by Seán Ó Sé? I've long imagined that there was an older Irish song and that somewhere along the line (well before Ó Riada) someone who had heard a version of Waly, Waly / the Water is Wide grafted in English verses to the tune.

John M: our mutual friend Annraoi has a copy of Ó Muirthile, "An t-Amhrán Macarónach". It probably gives a date for its source of the text. And like O'Toole, Ó Muirthile himself could be contacted in case he has information.

Incidentally, the photocopy I was given of the macaronic text is titled "Carrickfergus" (not "Do bhí...") and the title is followed by a question in brackets, "Cé a chum?", meaning "who composed it?" This version is barely macaronic; it only has English in the last of the 4 verses. It's a love song, but the lyrics don't mention Carrickfergus or Kilkenny or a boatman. Places mentioned include Munster, County Clare and Howth (Beann Éadair)

Do bhí bean uasal seal dá lua liom,
's chuir sí suas díom fóraíl ghéar;
Do ghabhas lastuas di sna bailte móra
Mar go dtug sí svae ['sway'] léi os comhair an tsaoil.
Ach dá bhfaighinnse a ceann siúd faoi áirsí an teampaill,
Do bheinn gan amhras ar m'ábhar féin;
Ach anois táim tinn lag 's gan fáil ar leigheas agam.
Is go mbeidh mo mhuintir ag gol im' dhéidh.

Do shiúlaíos Éire is an Mhumhain le chéile
Is cois Beann Éadair ag lorg mná,
Is ní fhaca éinne ar fhaid an méid sin
Do dhein mé phléasáil ach mo Mhalaí Bán.
Mná na hÉireann do chur le chéile
Is nach mór an t-aeraíocht dom san a rá;
'Sé dúirt gach éinne a chonaic mo spéirbhean.
Go dtug sí svae léi ó Chontae an Chláir.

Tá an ghrian ag imeacht is tá an teas ag tréigean
Is an tart ní féidir liom féin do chlaoi,
Mar go bhfuil an geall orm ó Shamhain go Féabhraí
Is ní bheidh sí reidh liom go dtí Lá Mhichíl;
Ach geallaim féin daoibh nach mar gheall ar an méid sin
A d'iontaíos féinig i gcoinne na dí,
Ach mar gheall ar mo chéad searc a dhein mé thréigean -
Chuaigh sí ag bailiú déirce dá clann iníon.

Agus táim tinn breoite is mo chos dheas leonta
Ó ghabh an ógbhean úd tharam isteach;
D'iarras póigín uair nó dhó uirthi,
For I'd long to roam with my own sweetheart.
For I'm tired of drinking and I'm seldom sober!
I'm a constant rover from town to town!
But now I'm dying and my days are over -
Come Malaí, a stóirín, and lay me down!


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Áine
Date: 10 Jan 00 - 08:41 PM

A Phlippa, a chara,

Why don't you try translating those last few lines to Irish? The words fit the Carraigfergus tune to a 'T' -- and wouldn't it be wonderful to replace what has been lost?

-- Áine

P.S. My 'C' drive crashed about a week ago and I've lost your email address. Could you send it to me again, please? And by the way, a chuisle, your pictures were beautiful -- and the party looked like it was a lot of fun! - Á.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Bruce O.
Date: 10 Jan 00 - 09:03 PM

Those English lines in the 4th verse are in a song that A. L. Lloyd in Folk Song in England lists in his index as "The Water is Wide", although he neglects to give a title to the song on the page where to song is given. It's another conglomeration, and the verse in question belongs more properly to a song usually called "I'm a rover".

What is the age of the Gaelic text that Philippa gives? No documentation usually means there's real no basis for claiming any old origin for the song. John Moulden still has by far the most facts that I can see, and I've found that's almost always the case. Few can compete with him when it comes to history of Irish Songs.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Philippa
Date: 14 Jan 00 - 03:01 PM

No, "Do bhí bean uasal" isn't published in Ó Muirthile, "An t-Amhrán Macarónach". Which leaves us back to questioning someone like Seán Ó Sé, Rachel Ní Riada, Peadar Ó Riada, Tomás Ó Canainn (he wrote a book about Sean Ó Riada) about the Irish language song.

OIn one of his books, piper (engineer, singer, poet, author) Tomás Ó Canainn mentions a 1790 publication of a tune called "Carrickfergus" but the air is that of "Haste to the Wedding", not the song we know of as Carrickfergus or Do bhí bean uasal.(see John Moulden's message on this aspect of the topic)


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: John Moulden
Date: 14 Jan 00 - 03:51 PM

This is the gist of a message I will be posting in the thread on Carrick Fergus.

I mention, as does Philippa above a song about Carrickfergus to the tune "Haste to the wedding" According to Bruce O in the other thread this is "The Capture of Carrickfergus" by Thurot (a French General who did capture Carrick in 1760). There is reference to this song in Eloise Hubbard Linscott: Folksongs of Old New England in a way which led us to believe that the song was being ascribed to Thurot as author. I've just thought of a way round this (and we all should have thought of this - it is oral tradition we are discussing after all) - Instead of "The Capture of Carrickfergus" by Thurot, the song's title should be "The Capture of Carrickfergus by Thurot" - you can't say inverted commas.

I have a text of a song called "The siege of Carrickfergus" which was printed in Samuel Lover (ed) "Poems of Ireland" (Ward Lock and Co. London, 1858) - it is street balladish in style and can be sung to "Haste to the Wedding" I'll put it in the other thread.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Bruce O.
Date: 14 Jan 00 - 05:45 PM

I noted in the other thread (Feb. 1998) that Linscott's statement made no sense. I also requested, in vain, a copy of the ballad on the capture of Carrickfergus.

Quoting the 2nd edition, 1962, of Linscott's 'Folk Songs of Old New England', p. 87 (under the dance "Lady of the Lake")

'The tune "Come, Haste to the Wedding," of Gaelic origin, was introduced in the pantomime, "The Elopement," in 1767. This version is known as the Manx tune and was printed by the Percy Society in 1746. It is the basis of the Manx ballad, "the Capture of Carrickfergusby," written by Thurot in 1760.'

Garbled it remains (As in the Fiddler's Companion index on the Ceolas website)

In the Scottish Mansfield/St. Clair MS, c 1785, there are two songs directed to be sung to "Carrick Fergus", the first being "Come haste to the wedding" (or "Rural Felicity", both of which became alternative titles for the tune), and another that I've not seen, "O save ye dear Towdy, ye're welcome to Dublin". There may also be a song to it under it's "Dargle" title, one song called "The Dargle" commences "How happy are we", c 1770, but I have neither song nor tune. What confuses the matter is there's a different (9/8) tune also called "The Dargle" (in 'The Irish Fair', 1772). To further confuse matters there's a song called "The New Dargle", c 1770, that commences "Come haste to our wedding", whose song and tune I don't have. For all the names for the tune see the Irish tune index on my website.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Áine
Date: 14 Jan 00 - 06:08 PM

Dear Bruce,

When my C drive crashed recently, I lost all my bookmarks. Could you please provide a link to or the URL for your website? Thanks, Áine


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Bruce O.
Date: 14 Jan 00 - 06:19 PM

Sorry for typo above; that should have been 'by the Percy Society in 1846.'


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Subject: Lyr Add: BHI BEAN UASAL
From:
Date: 14 Jan 00 - 06:38 PM

Here is another macaronic version; this is the one sung by Seán Ó Sé on the recording "Ó Riada sa Gaiety". My source is a booklet, Amhrénleabhar Ógra Éireann, published in Dublin by Folens (8th edition, 1971)

BHI BEAN UASAL

Do bhí bean uasal seal dá lua liom,
's do chuir sí suas díomsa faraoir géar;
Do ghabhas lastuas di sna bailte móra
Ach d'fhag sí ann é os comhair an tsaoil.
Dá bhfaighinnse a ceannsa faoi áirsí an teampaill,
Do bheinnse gan amhras im 'ábhar féin;
Ach anois táim tinn lag is gan fáil ar leigheas agam.
Is beidh mo mhuintir ag gol im' dhéidh.

I wish I had you in Carrickfergus
Ní fada ón áit sin go Baile Uí Chuain
Sailing over the deep blue waters
I ndiaidh mo ghrá geal is í ag ealó uaim.
For the seas are deep, love, and I can't swim over
And neither have I wings to fly,
I wish I met with a handy boatman,
Who would ferry over my love and I.

Tá an fuacht ag teacht is an teas ag tréigint
An tart ní féidir liom féin é do chlaoi,
Is go bhfuil an leabhar orm ó Shamhain go Fébur
Is ní bheidh sí reidh liom go Féil' Mhichíl;
I'm seldom drunk though I'm never sober!
A handsome rover from town to town.
But now I am dead and my days are over -
Come Molly, a stóirín, now lay me down!

Can some Mudcat correspondent look up and find out if it is the same tune as the song? I found a reference to the tune "Do bhí bean uasal" in the Bunting collection on line in the 1855 writings of Dr George Petrie , who himself is well-known for his poetic translations from Irish to English. But I gather from John Moulden that this isn't the same air as the song we are discussing.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Annraoi
Date: 15 Jan 00 - 08:10 AM

Phillipa and John, I'm back. This may - or may not - be a good thing. I've been away from Mudcat for some considerable time, but dip-sticking brought me to this thread. Phillipa is quite right, I do have a copy of ó muirthile's book and it does contain a version of "Do Bhí Bean Uasal / Carrickfergus" but he calls it "The Young Sick Lover." The text seems to be a fairly complete one having 7 eight-lined stanzas. It seems to me to be a mixture of two songs, one Irish and one English. The Irish verses contain the typical internal rhyme patterns widely used in "amhrán" poetry dating from the C17 onwards and reaching its highest form in the C18. The English verses show an effort to incorporate these patterns but in a halting and inconsistant manner. Moreover, the "Handsome boatman" is too obviously the "Water of Tyne". Also, taking the Irish alternate verses 1, 3, 5, and 7, they make a unified song of a cuckolded young man. The English interpolations - and the more I think, the more I'm convinced that that is what they are - break up this unity and may show a society in a period of linguistic change and coming increasingly under the influence of English songs. Indeed one of the English verses is a paraphrase rather than a translation of the preceding Irish verse. Ó Muirthile gives as his primary source a broadsheet in Cambridge dating from the first half of the C19,. Thus the age of the song is pushed back by a full 120 years at least from its modern re-emergence in the 1960's. Among his other sources he gives another in Cambridge, one in the British Library, The version published in "Irisleabhar na Gaedhilge" March 1905 (already mentioned by John Moulden) and in "an Lóchrann" April, 1909. I hope that this is of some interest. Annraoi


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: John Moulden
Date: 15 Jan 00 - 11:39 AM

Thank you, Henry; but does Diarmaid Ó Muirthile give a real full reference to his Cambridge original?


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Annraoi
Date: 15 Jan 00 - 06:10 PM

Unfortunately not, John. He merely says that it is to be found in the University Library as a ballad sheet published by Haly in Cork.He gives another Cambridge source,but this simply gives the printer of the sheet as John Troy, Limerick. I know nothing of ballad sheet sources, but maybe these names are of some significance to your good self. I was over doing some research in Cambridge last October and believe me, if you don't know what you're looking for, you'll spend a long time chasing your tail - that's providing you can gain access to the Library in the first place, it's not like your local Public Reading Room. However, I presume it is kept among the MSS collection and the staff in the Manuscripts Room will help if they have a definite reference. They will not instigate a cold search for you, which is reasonable. He does give the text as he found it and it is very hard to decipher, even for Irish speakers, as it was recorded in "phonetic" script based on English orthographic values. Henry


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