Mudcat Café message #164008 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #16707   Message #164008
Posted By: John Moulden
16-Jan-00 - 08:13 PM
Thread Name: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
OK, you may all come round and see my red face - something I knew and had totally forgotten - and in consequence a lot of what I have been saying has had less foundation than it seemed. However, it does prove the worth of a forum such as this, almost invariably conducted in an atmosphere of respect and mutual exploration; each contributing and jogging hunches, aiding memory and combining clues.

Henry is responsible for my red face - he mentioned "THE YOUNG SICK LOVER" and it nagged me - a ballad sheet printed by Haly of Cork called "The young sick lover" - it's been a day long search but I find that I have a xerox of that very sheet, copied from the National Library of Ireland where it is filed in a portfolio by the key-word "Young" and my copy of it bears a note that it is largely Carrickfergus - I must be more systematic; I must be more systematic; I must be ....

It begins phonetically :

De vee ban osul, shol da lough lum
Es de chur, she souse dum forer gair,
[six more lines]

The second stanza is:

I wish I had you in Carrickfergus.
Agus ne fadde, o en nat shoon balle coun,
And I'll sail over the deepest water,
En naugh ne gra ga, agus ehe gallouh oum
The seas are deep, and I can't swim over,
No nor neither have I wings to fly,
I wish I met with some handsome boatman,
To ferry over my love and I.

[another stanza of 'phonetic' Irish]

And its Kilkenny it is supposed,
Where the marble stones are as black as ink;
With gold and silver I will support you,
But I'll sing no more 'till I get a drink;
I am always drunk, and seldom sober,
Constantly roving from town to town;
Now when I'm dead, and my days are over,
Come Molly asthore and lay me down.

[Irish stanza]

I've travelled this nation in desperation,
Through Flanders and all Germany,
And in my ranging and seranading,
My Molly's equals I could not see,
Her golden hair, and her limbs complete,
Her skin exceeds the lily fair;
It is what grieves me, that this fair one
Should take the sway from the County Clare.

[Final Irish stanza] (7 in all)

It thus appears that any criticism I may have levelled at Seán Ó Sé, Dominic Behan or Peter O'Toole was unjustified and as Henry says, given that Haly of Cork was printing around 1830 we have (with a certain amount of hindrance from me) successfully established a much firmer provenance for both Carrickfergus and the Macaronic. There are still questions - are Carrickfergus and Do bhí bean uasal really linked - do any of the macaronics bear clear relationship to one another - this is a question for Henry who is studying the matter. I'll send you a copy of the sheet.

The ones at Cambridge are not in either Bradshaw or Madden but among the series of volumes with press-marks SEL.2.93 to SEL.2.101 which are indexed in four card index drawers at the Rare Books Department. It would be worth getting them to look out the one printed by Troy of Limerick - differences are probable and will be revealing.

The text above begins to clear up the difficulty one contributor had in understanding the Kilkenny marble stones.

I'll confirm Haly's dates when I can get to a copy of the Bradshaw Index I cited above.

Sorry to be slow.