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John Moulden Origins: Sweet Connlough Bay? / ...Carnlough Bay (22) RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Connlough Bay 12 Aug 00


I have never seen a set of the north Irish version which cannot be traced to Colm O'Lochlainn's printing. This is interesting since Sam Henry, who collected many songs in the area, did not find the song. Colm O'Lochlainn learned it from Cathal O'Byrne c 1913 and, as Bruce says, attributes it to the poet McKay.

The only other references to McKay (so far as I can discover) are in Jack McBride: Traveller in the Glens (Belfast, 1979). McBride knew Alex McKie (as his book spells it and which is how McKay is pronounced in the north of Ireland and I think in Sctoland) and credits him with a song called "The drowning of young Montgomery" McBride also remembered him living at a place called Dunmaul near Garron Point and being forced to leave his cottage because of a large boulder which dropped off the cliffs and perched itself on his roof. My guess is that this would have been in the twenties or thirties and that McKay would have been in his seventies.

McBride says that McKie claimed to have been in the "Horse Police" in Belfast and that his favourite saying was "Huh! the poet was a boy in he's young days." He is also credited with writing a song called the Peridot about a coaster which was lost.

Curiously McBride does not mention Sweet Carnloch Bay.


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