Mudcat Café message #193388 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #2053   Message #193388
Posted By: John Moulden
11-Mar-00 - 05:58 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Fields of Athenry
Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
It's clear that the "original" "1888" version, if genuine, obviates Pete St John's claim to authorship. However, the website which has the "broad sheet words" makes it clear that these were posted in a newsgroup and that no-one involved in posting the information has actually seen the ballad sheet; I haven't, in thirty years of looking at such things in the libraries all over Ireland and in Britain. Nor is the name "Devlin" familiar to me as a Dublin ballad sheet printer. Another point is that dates are very seldom given on ballad sheets and they are difficult to date - especially not to a particular year.

Two further points - if Trevelyan was Secretary around the time of the famine - 1845-49 - his name is not likely to have been widely remembered by the writers of popular songs, or meaningful to their audience by 1888. And - the song, as purporting to originate in 1888 on a ballad sheet is couched in a style of verse and in a style of language absolutely foreign to the medium.

I'm going to check on all these details but I would be very surprised if I find anything to suggest that this posting in a newsgroup was not a hoax, or a fraudulent attempt to muddy a copyright issue.