Mudcat Café message #3281842 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #16707   Message #3281842
Posted By: GUEST,Josh
30-Dec-11 - 06:13 AM
Thread Name: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
I must disagree with those who believe the author/singer wishes to cross the sea to Ballygran, to be with his love. And someone invoked Occam's razor to eliminate Kilkenny in favor of Kilmeny, assuming -- as many here have suggested -- that someone made a mistake between the two, since the names sound alike.

I too wish to invoke Occam's razor. But to my sensibility, the simplest, most direct interpretation of the verse must include NOT assuming someone made mistakes; one must first assume that the words mean what they say. Only if that leads to a blind alley should other possibilities be invoked.

To this end, then, I believe the author/singer WISHES TO BE IN Carrickfergus. Because he says "I wish I was in Carrickfergus." The confusion lies in the next line "Only for nights in Ballygran." This is NOT an expression of desire for Ballygran. Quite the opposite. He is singing: "I wish I was in Carrickfergus, If only for the nights I'm (sadly) spending in Ballygran."

I.e., the author is IN Ballygran, and wishes he could be in Carrickfergus. The other interpretation -- that he wants to be in Carrickfergus in order to ferry himself over the Ballygran -- is almost ludicrous. If he wants to be in Ballygran, he should be singing "I wish I was in Ballygran." Does he really want to be in Carrickfergus, a day's ferry ride away from his love in Ballygran? No. He is IN Ballygran, and wishes he were in Carrickfergus.

Just like the song says.

Likewise, "Kilkenny" means "Kilkenny," not Kilmeny. Kilkenny is on the same island as Carrickfergus, so it's reasonable (if far). Kilkenny is sometimes called the "Marble City." Kilkenny Marble, aka "Black Marble," has been widely exported for centuries.

And....many of the headstones in Kilkenny cemeteries are black. Have a look at the "Abbey And Church Cemetery,Inistioge,County Kilkenny,Ireland."

Hence, "There are marble stones there, as black as any ink."