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Origins: The Welshmen of Tirawley

GUEST,weerover 19 Aug 19 - 04:54 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 19 Aug 19 - 05:41 AM
GUEST,Starship 19 Aug 19 - 09:14 AM
GUEST,Billtkd 19 Aug 19 - 11:55 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 19 Aug 19 - 01:17 PM
GUEST 21 Aug 19 - 04:08 PM
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Subject: Origins: The Welshmen of Tirawley
From: GUEST,weerover
Date: 19 Aug 19 - 04:54 AM

My brother has asked if I know anything about the history behind this song. I don't, but am sure that somone on this forum will.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Welshmen of Tirawley
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 19 Aug 19 - 05:41 AM

There's some background here: Barrett Irish History. Search for famous dispute to get to the right place to start reading (it's about 2/3 way down the 3rd paragraph longer than five lines or so).

Many copies of the poem are available online.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Welshmen of Tirawley
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 19 Aug 19 - 09:14 AM

Here's the pertinent paragraph from Mick's link:

The Barretts were also heard from in the famous dispute in the “Welshmen of Tirawley”. In this dispute,the Barrett family had a steward that went to collect Taxes from the Lynott family. The steward was rumored to have “taken a maid” and the Lynott family killed him and dumped his body in a well near Carncastle. The Barrett family was enraged and gave the Lynott men the choice of loosing their eyes or their manhood. The Lynotts chose their eyes and the Barretts removed them. The Barretts then tested their blindness by making them cross over stepstones at Cloghan an Dallas” The Lynotts then planned revenge for 15 years and trained up a young man (Teoboid Mael Bourke) as their foster son to kill the Barretts. The young man made his stand at the stream of Carnasack, but was killed by the Barretts in the process. The Barretts gave the the true parents (The Bourkes) eighteen quarters of land as recompense. The Barretts, Lynotts and the Bourkes were the main families that settled in the Doolough area of County Mayo in that time. In 1380, the Barrett family had gained control over the area of Erris, which is located in Mayo .


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Welshmen of Tirawley
From: GUEST,Billtkd
Date: 19 Aug 19 - 11:55 AM

Thanks. (I'm weerover's brother.) I got some of the Barrett/Lynott story elsewhere but it was surprisingly hard to find. Samuel Ferguson wrote the poem 'The Vengeance of the Welshmen of Tirawley' in the 19th century. David McWilliams wrote his version of the same story, 'Blind Men's Steping Stones', around 1972 but both versions had one survivor, Emon Lynott. McWillaims' wording was ambiguous but he was happy to make Emon (if he really existed) the hero because he was actually a MacWilliams.
McWillliams had a penchant for obscure references. His best known song, 'Days of Pearly Spencer', is supposedly about a homeless man but there are other opinions and I could find nothing about Pearly Spencer either.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Welshmen of Tirawley
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 19 Aug 19 - 01:17 PM

There a wikipedia article on Days Of Pearly Spencer, with some background. Most pertinent: McWilliams said he had written the song about a homeless man encountered in Ballymena. Some of those close to McWilliams, however, claimed he was writing about two ladies from his hometown

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Welshmen of Tirawley
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Aug 19 - 04:08 PM

The former always seemed more plausible, given the line "where's that stubble on your chin". McWilliams himself never said. And can't now.

Bill


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