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Help: Origins of Carrickfergus

DigiTrad:
CARRICKFERGUS


Related threads:
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Lyr Req: IrishSinger - Who?Kalilegus/Kilkenny/Ink (18)
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GUEST,Stewart G 09 Jul 04 - 03:05 AM
Malcolm Douglas 09 Jul 04 - 09:59 AM
Big Al Whittle 10 Jul 04 - 02:17 AM
Big Tim 10 Jul 04 - 03:02 AM
Big Al Whittle 10 Jul 04 - 04:07 AM
GUEST,Betsy 10 Jul 04 - 10:40 AM
Fergie 28 Nov 04 - 08:31 PM
Tannywheeler 28 Nov 04 - 11:35 PM
Fliss 29 Nov 04 - 04:58 PM
GUEST,Johnnyboy 29 Apr 05 - 09:44 PM
MartinRyan 17 Dec 05 - 08:21 AM
GUEST,Philippa 17 Dec 05 - 10:15 AM
ard mhacha 17 Dec 05 - 02:58 PM
JedMarum 17 Dec 05 - 03:08 PM
GUEST,Guest, Big Tim 18 Dec 05 - 01:58 PM
MartinRyan 18 Dec 05 - 04:34 PM
ard mhacha 19 Dec 05 - 05:26 AM
GUEST,Guest, Big Tim 19 Dec 05 - 08:16 AM
MartinRyan 19 Dec 05 - 12:09 PM
GUEST,tmalone@bu.edu 16 Feb 06 - 05:47 PM
Hrothgar 17 Feb 06 - 05:59 AM
Little Robyn 25 Feb 06 - 05:03 PM
MartinRyan 26 Feb 06 - 01:55 PM
GUEST,dobby 07 Mar 06 - 02:54 PM
MMario 07 Mar 06 - 02:57 PM
GUEST,Guest, Big Tim 08 Mar 06 - 03:56 AM
MartinRyan 25 Jun 06 - 01:24 PM
Effsee 25 Jun 06 - 01:56 PM
Willa 25 Jun 06 - 05:44 PM
Effsee 25 Jun 06 - 08:10 PM
GUEST,Elvis 30 Sep 06 - 10:56 PM
GUEST 30 Sep 06 - 11:05 PM
GUEST,Elvis 11 Oct 06 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,Billy Finn, Ballyshannon 21 Jun 07 - 09:06 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Jun 07 - 01:43 PM
GUEST,Mark 24 Jun 07 - 06:41 AM
GUEST,Mark 26 Jun 07 - 08:53 AM
GUEST,California Will 28 Jun 07 - 06:26 PM
GUEST,LiamA 29 Jun 07 - 06:06 AM
MartinRyan 29 Jun 07 - 07:43 AM
GUEST,Billy Finn, Ballyshannon 04 Jul 07 - 07:54 PM
MartinRyan 05 Jul 07 - 05:54 AM
GUEST,Billy Finn, Ballyshannon 10 Jul 07 - 08:42 PM
GUEST 16 Jul 07 - 08:08 AM
GUEST 06 Dec 07 - 12:02 AM
GUEST,Annessia Capps 14 Mar 08 - 12:37 PM
Big Tim 14 Mar 08 - 01:37 PM
Reiver 2 14 Mar 08 - 04:25 PM
GUEST,Annessia Capps 14 Mar 08 - 08:53 PM
GUEST,Annessia Capps 14 Mar 08 - 08:54 PM
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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: GUEST,Stewart G
Date: 09 Jul 04 - 03:05 AM

Quite an amazing thread ! I came upon it in trying to deduce connections of The Water is Wide (which I presume to be largely an American (?) adaptation and abbreviation) and the obviously Irish "Carrickfergus" >

Carrickfergus would seem then to be an amalgam of an early Gaelic melody and song with the later infiltration of English verses...)not an unusual occurrence) ....the definite wherabouts of Carrickfergus is obviously still open to conjecture (?) but from some of above posts it would seem the origins of the Gaelic song are likely from the south of Ireland rather than the north.The modern English versions have obviously travelled far and wide like many other celtic ballads)
(As a Scot, I know the Ballygrand place name has been assumed by some to be the district of Ballygrant on Isle of Islay, close to the Antrim coast but this can be seen as yet another geographical super-imposition and further corruption from the gaelic "baile cuain" )

Anyway would it be fair to speculate that the melody would perhaps precede any of lyrics in evidence and that at any rate both must be from early 18th Century ?


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 09 Jul 04 - 09:59 AM

I can't add anything useful on Carrickfergus, but there have been quite a few discussions here concerning The Water is Wide; probably the most comprehensive is Water Is Wide - First American Version.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Jul 04 - 02:17 AM

probably I should remain silent with all this scholasticism(not even sure if thats a word!) in this thread.

However if I may pass on my own observations.

A couple of years ago I saw the Clancys do this on video. they prefaced it with an Irish poem, and it made their reading of it very clear. Afterwards I e-mailed Liam and he gave me the poem which was from the penguin Book of Irish poetry.

The song is about a drunkard who has been robbed of his capacity to act - go and see his love - maybe she's across the water - but more probably the gulf is because of what the drink has done to him. the marble stones black as ink are his future headstone. Togeteher the poem and the song was as stark and and intense as anything Robert Johnson achieved (and I love the work of RJ).

The Clancys were often accused of minstrelsy and offering a shobizzed up view of Irish music. But their reading of that particular song was a masterpiece of theatre.

Like millions of others I used to watch Val Doonican every week on his tv show sing this song and I used to think he probably fancied himself in his fancy pullover - a handsome rover from town to town....

Like I say a pleb's eye view....


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Big Tim
Date: 10 Jul 04 - 03:02 AM

Fair comment, wld. What was the name of the poem?


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Jul 04 - 04:07 AM

ah sorry big tim , you got rifling through me drawers, but I can't find that e-mail from Liam, and its on the last computer.

Maybe a Clancy's fan out there knows of which I speak.......it would be an impertinence to ask Liam again I suppose.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: GUEST,Betsy
Date: 10 Jul 04 - 10:40 AM

After all the wonderful effort everyone seems to have (enjoyably) expended on researching and sharing this thread - I hope this will give a different dimension to the matter and a wry smile may ( or may not ) be in order
I got this after a session last week from an English person who plays Irish Pipes :-

"When we were playing Carrickfergus I was trying to explain that (in my traditional version) there should be no rhythm on the accompaniment. Slow airs have long improvised pauses on the pipes. In versions like Van Morrison's of course there is no problem. I fear I may not have explained this very well since, when I am playing the pipes, it is hard to be diplomatic!"

I have been playing, accompanying and singing this song since I learned it ( I thought ) from the Clancy Brothers green book +/- 1965 and I was accompanying him on guitar using finger style at which I am competent - having played for many years now.
I am also one of those wierdos who never bought records, tapes or C.D.'s so have little knowledge of Mr.Morrisons efforts and I felt a bit Pee'd-off at this rebuff - in fact I thought it was quite rude.

As I said a different slant on the thread ........


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Fergie
Date: 28 Nov 04 - 08:31 PM

"And in Kilkenny it is recorded on marble stones there as black as ink".
In Kilkenny you will find a very dark grade of limestone that when polished takes on the appearance of black marble. Most of the older buildings are constructed from this limestone and many are dressed and inscribed, it was also favoured as material for making tombstones.

Fergus


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Tannywheeler
Date: 28 Nov 04 - 11:35 PM

I always thought of the line as:

"To ferry me over, my love and I..."    Only from hearing the Clancy's version, not from looking it up.    Tw


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Fliss
Date: 29 Nov 04 - 04:58 PM

A irish musician friend of mine Gerry Fox says he wrote the following verse after a drinking session with Brendan Behan and Peter O'Toole.

My childhood days bring back sad reflection
Of happy times spent so long ago
My boyhood friends and my own relations
Have all passed on like melting snow
But I spend my days in endless roaming
Soft is the grass and my bed is free
Oh to be home now in Carrickfergus
On the long road down to the salty sea

Gerry is in his 70s and was in an irish group in the 50s & 60s. He plays fiddle and was an All Ireland CHampion in his youth.

Ill ask him about it when I next see him at a session.

slan
fliss


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: GUEST,Johnnyboy
Date: 29 Apr 05 - 09:44 PM


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: MartinRyan
Date: 17 Dec 05 - 08:21 AM

Nicholas Carolan, Director of the Irish Traditional Music Archive presents a TV show of archive material on Irish Music, mostly from early TV programs. Last night he played a clip of Sean O'Se singing Carrickfergus (outdoors, accompanied by a 5-row button accordion, but that's another story!) in 1983. He (Nicholas) remarked that while the words could be traced to a Cork broadside called "The Young Sick Lover", mentioned above, he could find out nothing about the tune! O'Se sang with Sean O'Riada's Ceoltoiri Cualann and Nicholas strongly suspected that O'Riada had written the tune, some time n the 1960's.
Interesting.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 17 Dec 05 - 10:15 AM

the verse alleged to be by Gerry Fox is my favourite but is least frequently sung, perhaps because it is a recent addition


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: ard mhacha
Date: 17 Dec 05 - 02:58 PM

Martin, I never miss this programme, Carolan come up with some great footage, Sean O`Se could have had a better accompianist.

Although I have been to many a session, I never ever heard the song until around the late 1960s.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: JedMarum
Date: 17 Dec 05 - 03:08 PM

Great stuff!

I love the song ... sing it frequently. It always surprises me when a boisterous, busy, rousing crowded pub reuests the song, and sings along. Music hath charm ...

"the Water is Wide" reference certainly places no demands on these two song be related though, in my opinion. Many songs use whole phrases from one another without there being a need for direct relation. Water is Wide tells a wholly different story, even though the passing thought of a wide gulf between you and your home/love may be commonly expressed in both songs.

Thanks to all for their research and thoughts on this great song.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: GUEST,Guest, Big Tim
Date: 18 Dec 05 - 01:58 PM

A small aside, is Nicholas Carolan related to Professor Carolan who was murdered by the Black and Tans in 1920?


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: MartinRyan
Date: 18 Dec 05 - 04:34 PM

Big Tim

Dunno - where was the Professor from?

Regards


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: ard mhacha
Date: 19 Dec 05 - 05:26 AM

Nicholas Carolan the presenter of, Come west along the road, is from County Louth.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: GUEST,Guest, Big Tim
Date: 19 Dec 05 - 08:16 AM

Martin: dunno where from originally but he was living in Drumconrda Road, Dublin in 1920. His house was being used as a safe house by Sean Treacy and Dan Breen. It was raided; two Tans killed, Treacy and Breen escaped; Tans killed Prof Carolan in retaliation.
(I visited the house recently: now owned by a religious order).

I don't know at which Uni he was a Prof, or what his subject was.

PS something more relevant: I have a copy of "Young Sick Lover" ballad sheet. The posting of it by John Moulden is absolutely accurate (as you would expect).


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: MartinRyan
Date: 19 Dec 05 - 12:09 PM

Ard Mhaca

I know Nicholas well - and will ask if there's a connection, when I get a chance.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: GUEST,tmalone@bu.edu
Date: 16 Feb 06 - 05:47 PM

Thanks for the background of this great tune.

I am researching a variant of the tune in American Shape-note tunebooks.

Does anyone hear C'fergus in the below tune? It is noted in 1850's.

PARTING FRIENDS (the author says he learned the air from his mother)

http://www.pilgrimproduction.org/sacredharp/rockymt1996/music/29.mp3

or this one It is noted in 1844.

FULFILLMENT
http://www.pilgrimproduction.org/sacredharp/maquoketa/music/21.mp3


I also have one more from 1805.

i would love your thoughts and feedback on the possible relationship of these tunes.

All the Best,

Tom Malone
Boston University
www.SingIngalls.org
tmalone@bu.edu


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Hrothgar
Date: 17 Feb 06 - 05:59 AM

Been reminded recently of this verse (sung as a second verse), fromthe singing of Theo Bosch in the 1960s:

I lay me down here beside the waer,
Alone I'll rest me in my grief and woe
And if there's no-one who will assist me
Throughout this country I alone will go.
I'll go a-roving all through this nation
Through Meath and Connaught and County Down
Through Clare and Mayo to the County Wexford
Ah, but I'm weary now, so I'll lay me dowm

Now, in Kilkenny ...... etc.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Little Robyn
Date: 25 Feb 06 - 05:03 PM

Did MartinRyan ever contact Nicholas? Any answer yet?
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: MartinRyan
Date: 26 Feb 06 - 01:55 PM

Not yet! Haven't been in touch with him lately - but will do so at some stage
Regards


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: GUEST,dobby
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 02:54 PM

Balllygrand is on the isle of islay, which would explain the nights in ballygrand and not ballygran ( LIMERICK). Ballygrand is directly north of Northern Ireland...i would swim over...
I GET a bit confused about the gender of the composer...in one moment he/she is saying ..i would find me a handsome boatman to ferry me over...then says my boyhood friends...also.. a handsome rover from town to town.....also then come all ye young men and lay me down.? was he gay? a tart? tomboy? curiousity. ps I am from Carrickfergus and singin it this saturday night...carolyn dobbin


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: MMario
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 02:57 PM

"handsome" is obselete synonym for "handy"

the "come all ye young men and lay me down" is (I'm told) a reference to pallbearers and burial


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: GUEST,Guest, Big Tim
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 03:56 AM

There's a Ballygrant on Islay, not Ballygrand.

"Young men" appears to be a modern invention. The line in "Young Sick Lover" ballad sheet is "come Molly astore (love, darling) and lay me down".

I suspect that the Clancy Brothers changed the lyrics quite a bit, as they did with many other songs, and this is the basis of most versions that we hear.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: MartinRyan
Date: 25 Jun 06 - 01:24 PM

Uh oh!


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Subject: Lyr Add: CARRICKFERGUS
From: Effsee
Date: 25 Jun 06 - 01:56 PM

Since this thread popped up, I had a look in the Digitrad at the lyrics and I realised it was different from a version given to me by the late John Doonan in the early eighties. He always thought that there was something missing in the tale and his researches in Ireland had discovered two new verses(at that time). So, essentially the same as DT but now with a new verse 2:-

CARRICKFERGUS

I wish I was in Carrickfergus,
Only for nights in Ballygrant
I would swim over the deepest ocean,
Only for nights in Ballygrant,
But the sea is wide and I cannot swim over
Nor have I the wings to fly
I wish I could meet a handsome boatsman
To ferry me over, my love to find.

The night is dark, and the sky's uneasy,
The mighty ocean is tossed and wild,
When my true love, Bridget Vassey,
She crossed the ocean, left me behind.
Left me behind to count my losses,
And see my darling in every glass.
How sweet is loving, yet I am crying,
How long the dark night takes to pass.

My childhood days bring back sweet reflections
Of all those happy days of long ago,
My boyhood friends and kind relations
Have all passed on now like drifting snow.
I'll end my days an endless rover,
Soft is the grass, my bed is free.
Ah, to be back now in Carrickfergus,
On that lonesome road, down to the sea.

But in Kilkenny, it is reported,
They have marble stones there, as black as ink
With gold and silver I did support her,
But I'll sing no more 'till I get a drink.
I'm drunk today, and I'm seldom sober,
A handsome rover from town to town,
Ah, but I'm sick now, my days are numbered,
Come all you young men and lay me down.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Willa
Date: 25 Jun 06 - 05:44 PM

Effsee
I do sing the version with your second verse-it makes more sense to me that way.Do you have any more details of John Doonan's source?


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Effsee
Date: 25 Jun 06 - 08:10 PM

Willa, I'm sorry I don't have any more details of John's source, he may have told me but it was a long time ago.......and strong drink had been taken! Where did you hear it from? Maybe this should be added to the DT ?


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: GUEST,Elvis
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 10:56 PM

Absolutely fantastic this topic! Congratulations to you all!
Someone has e-mailed Loreena McKennitt asking from where she heard this song? =P


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 11:05 PM

Maybe you could take care of that for us.?


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: GUEST,Elvis
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 02:29 PM

I really tried to!
Today I received an answer, and look:

Dear Elvis,
Thank you for taking the time to send in your query regarding "Carrighfergus".   Loreena is away from the office at this time, preparing for the release of her new album next month, and so I haven't been able to discuss your query with her. I did a bit of research, though, and found this: http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=16707
Perhaps you will find something interesting in that discussion of the song.
Best regards,
Stacey.

Well, there is not an appropriated answer, but shows that this topic is really meaningfull! =)


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: GUEST,Billy Finn, Ballyshannon
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 09:06 PM

Surely Eamon De Buitlear, Sean O`Se, Paddy Molony or any of Ceoltoiri
Cualann or the Chieftains could confirm if the melody for Carrickfergus was indeed composed by Sean O`Riada.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 01:43 PM

So Elvis sends off a query arising out of this thread, and back comes the answer citing this thread as a possible place to look for the answer...

I love that - it's like something out of a story. Or a song.

The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I've seen that road before
It always leads me here...


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: GUEST,Mark
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 06:41 AM

Can't help any with the origins of the song but I've just posted a great version of Carrickfergus on youtube. I'm biased I know as he plays in a band with me, but it's really worth a listen to Robbie's beautiful voice.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUKgtUzzXUw


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: GUEST,Mark
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 08:53 AM

Sorry I took down the last youtube clip.
The audio on this version is better

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_RMKkzJoJM


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: GUEST,California Will
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 06:26 PM

Well, lads and coleens...you'll be after needin' some help with Irish history here, I see.

#1. Carrickfergus was the headquarters of the Scots-English army brought over to "pacify" the rowdy folk of Ulster and elsewhere, ya see.
#2. Kilkenny was the place where the Statutes of Kilkenny (i.e. "But in Kilkenny, the laws are written...") originated. These statutes prohibited Irish being spoken or Irish to intermarry with English or Scots. So, a love between one and t'other would have been prohibited, no matter how much gold and silver he had to "support her."
#3. Hence, the tale is one of some poor Irish lad probably in love with an English or Scots soldier's daughter. His "childhood friends and close relations" have likely been slain or immigrated away, and also likely he may have been a "rebel" and is "on the run," a vagabond wandering with no home, and a whiskey monkey on his back. Poor lad.

Hope this helps!


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: GUEST,LiamA
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 06:06 AM

Hello all,

Interesting discussion here. As far as I can see, the title Do Bhí Bean Uasal [There Was A Lady] is from an 18th century macaronic ballad sheet, where verses in Irish (Gaelic) and English intertwine. The actual melody itself, although similar to "The Water is Wode" is not older than the 1960's. But the words themselves, in the Irish version are quite old.
"Do bhí bean uasal" is recorded as one of the best early examples of macaronic ballads in Ireland. Ó Riadas compilation includes this song (Ó Riada sa Gaiety) and it is a fine example of the Irish traditional music revival that occured from the 1960's onwards with the development of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: MartinRyan
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 07:43 AM

LiamA

Neatly summarised! The balladsheet is usually titled "The Young Sick Lover", as mentioned earlier. How confident are you about the 1960's origins of the tune? I'm inclined to agree but am open to persuasion either way!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: GUEST,Billy Finn, Ballyshannon
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 07:54 PM

So, I repeat, could people like Sean O Se, Eamon De Buitlear, Paddy Molony or O`Riada biographer Tomas O Canainn confirm if the melody for Carrickfergus was composed by Sean O`Riada? On the sleeve notes of the updated version of the 1969 album O Riada sa Gaiety, O `Riada is named as composer of the melody of the Carrickfergus. So, could somebody come forward and clear up the mystery? Nicholas Carolan is fairly sure that O`Riada composed the melody in the 1960`s.
Billy Finn


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: MartinRyan
Date: 05 Jul 07 - 05:54 AM

I would happily take Nicholas's word for it!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: GUEST,Billy Finn, Ballyshannon
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 08:42 PM

The sleeve note on Do bhi bean uasal (There was a lady) also known as Carrickfergus on O Riada sa Gaiety reads as follows
`Track 8 melody composed by Sean O`Riada ; inspiration taken from a traditional tune`.
So, somebody has definitely decided that O`Riada composed the melody.
Was the `traditional tune` mentioned in the blurb The Waters are Wide? This song does sound like a simpler version of the Carrickfergus air.
Billy Finn


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jul 07 - 08:08 AM

My final thoughts on the matter.
In this thread, we learn that Dominic Behan sang a version of Carrickfergus called The Kerry Boatman in 1963 and this featured on his LP The Irish Rover.
Well, if the 1963 version has the same melody as that which features on O` Riada sa Gaiety (1969), it is then less likely that O` Riada composed it.
Can anyone come forward to confirm if the melody on Behan`s song and the melody on the version in O`Riada sa Gaiety are one and the same?
The Irish Rover album is very difficult to locate...I haven`t heard Behan`s song.
It`s amazing that those close to O`Riada cannot clear the matter up once and for all.
Billy Finn


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Dec 07 - 12:02 AM

It is is all that I know, an Ed Reavy tribute and tune. His fiddle tune. . .

JFG


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: GUEST,Annessia Capps
Date: 14 Mar 08 - 12:37 PM

I have read a lot of the threads on this subject of Carrickfergus. The last thing I read was a thread from John Moulden, Someone named Henry, Phillipa, among other and they came up with a song called The Young Sick Lover that dated back to 1840 I believe. I am unsure if the tune is the same but words are almost exact. Everyone calls this song a love song but reading all the very many differing versions and verses I tend to feel that it is a song of love for country and wanting to go home to die. I have never found a Ballygrand while looking for it but the closest I have found is a cemetery called Bally Castle cemetery. Could the grand be a separate word describing the cemetery as being grand?


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Big Tim
Date: 14 Mar 08 - 01:37 PM

The Young Sick Lover is definitely an early version of Carrickfergus as I've just checked my copy of the original ballad sheet by Haly, Printer, Hanover-Street, CORK. However, it doesn't mention Ballygrand. I think that the Clancy brothers may well have invented the name. It certainly isn't an Irish townland name. Ballycastle is a well known, fair-sized town in north Antrim. I don't think that it has anything to do with Ballygrand or Carrickfergus.

The music given by Behan in his book 'Ireland Sings' looks quite different from the music for Carrickfergus, but as I can't read music I can't say for sure.

If anyone who can read music wants to PM me an email address, I will send them the music for both songs.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Reiver 2
Date: 14 Mar 08 - 04:25 PM

The notes on Carrickfurgus in "Folksongs and Ballads Popular in Ireland" (Vol.I) just say, "A very evocative old song; parts of the lyrics can be found in the folksongs of most English-speaking countries. 'The Water Is Wide' is an English/Scots version which is also known in America." This raises the question, why only English-speaking countries? Is is possible that similar lyrics or sentiments exist in the folk traditions of non-English-speaking countries?

The Joan Baez songbook has this note for "The Water is Wide." "Originally part of a long Scots ballad, 'Lord Jamie Douglas,' all that remains are these few verses which constitute the emotional core of that ballad. Most singers know it in another form as 'Waly, Waly,' by which title it was known as far back as the early 18th century. It remains one of the most beautiful and evocative of all British lyric folksongs." "Lord Jamie Douglas" is not in the Digitrad. Nor do I find it in Child's "English and Scottish Popular Ballads." Child ballad #204, is titled "Jamie Douglas," but I can't see any resemblance to Carrickfergus, The Water Is Wide or Waly,Waly. That led me to think that "Lord Jamie Douglas" and Child's "Jamie Douglas are not the same.

But hold everything!! "The Viking Book of Folk Ballads of the English-Speaking World," (Albert B Friedman, ED., Viking Press, 1956), has this notation for "Jamie Douglas": "In 1681, after eleven years of marriage, James, Marquis of Douglas, head of the great Scottish family. formally 'put aside' his wife. The ballad of 'Jamie Douglas' registers the marchioness's complaint against James Lockhart of Blackwood (in reality William Lawrie, called Blackwood), whom she accuses of having maliciously alienated her husband from her. The ballad's dramatic first-person style deserves comment, but of greater interest is the curious connection between 'Jamie Douglas' and the lyric complaint, 'Waly, Waly, But Love Be Bonny'. As many as four stanzas of the lyric have infiltrated certain versions of the ballad. Since the lyric is so much more smoothly integrated than the ballad, one deduces that this moving lament of an abandoned girl about to become a mother is the older song. Seemingly the girl's situaation was so much like that of the discarded marchioness that borrowing was inevitable."

An interesting thing here is that the "Waly, Waly" expression appears in two stanzas of Version B but not at all in Version A (which is the only version in Child's book). Version B makes no mention of Jamie Douglas or "Blackwood." (There are a few lines in the two versions that ARE the same, but only a few.) Also, the girl in Version B, although no longer "a maid" appears to be childless (in the last stanza she laments, "if my young babes were born," while in the final stanza of Version A the marchioness says, "Fare thee well, Jamie Douglas! Be kind to the three babes I've born to thee." Version A is, thus a ballad based on actual persons, while in Version B the individuals are either un-named, unknown or fictitious.

It would seem that in many instances the supposed "links" between songs are very tenuous, sometimes involving only the borrowing of a line or two of the lyric or a reference to a similar situation or expression. I'm not sure if the "borrowing" of a single line or two can properly be considered evidence for a "source" of an entire song or ballad. Anyway, I doubt if this clarifies anything about "Carrickfergus," but may be of some interest to some researchers of "original" sources. And, oh, yes - if the song is based on "Jamie Douglas" it's older even than Peter O'Toole! ;-)

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: GUEST,Annessia Capps
Date: 14 Mar 08 - 08:53 PM

I love the version sung by Oral Fallon (celtic woman) but i did not realize that there were so many questions about the song or so many differening versions and lyrics. It seems there is always someone out there trying to "make it better". Putting the music to the lyrics was a beautiful match up but I wish people would have left the lyrics alone. I have found so many differing versions it is hard to tell what the original lyrics might have been. I wonder if even the The Young Sick Lover is in its original form now that I have seen the corruption of those lyrics as well.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: GUEST,Annessia Capps
Date: 14 Mar 08 - 08:54 PM

Excuse the misspelling or "Orla" Fallon's name in the last post


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