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Help: Origins of Carrickfergus

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CARRICKFERGUS


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John Moulden 06 Jan 00 - 02:31 PM
catspaw49 06 Jan 00 - 09:12 AM
Martin Ryan 06 Jan 00 - 08:52 AM
John in Brisbane 04 Jan 00 - 07:45 PM
Neil Comer 04 Jan 00 - 05:53 PM
John Moulden 04 Jan 00 - 05:49 AM
Lonesome EJ 03 Jan 00 - 11:24 PM
harpgirl 03 Jan 00 - 10:59 PM
Richard Bridge 03 Jan 00 - 08:26 PM
Jack Hickman - Kingston, ON 03 Jan 00 - 08:10 PM
John Moulden 03 Jan 00 - 06:08 PM
Peter T. 03 Jan 00 - 11:29 AM
John Moulden 03 Jan 00 - 11:15 AM
banjerbob@aol.com 03 Jan 00 - 08:25 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 03 Jan 00 - 08:15 AM
John Moulden 03 Jan 00 - 07:13 AM
sam 03 Jan 00 - 06:16 AM
Jack Hickman - Kingston, ON 03 Jan 00 - 12:22 AM
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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: John Moulden
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 02:31 PM

Thank you Martin, thant's the one - and when I think of it, I always assumed it came after Carrickfergus; but don't we always assume priority for whatever he hear first.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: catspaw49
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 09:12 AM

Anybody try Max's new search engine on this yet? You'll find it interesting.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 08:52 AM

John

The only Gaelic connection I can think of is this: Sean O Sé, from Cork, used to sing a song to this air with Ceoltoiri Chuallan (Sean O Riada's seminal group). The first line was something like "Do bhí bean uasail, seal dá luath-sa..." - the opening phrase may well have been the title. I suspect its on the "O Riada sa Gaiety" album (now available on CD?. The theme was unrelated to C'fergus - and I've no idea where the words came from. May well have been written by O'Riada himself? This would have been around the early sixties. That suggests to me that one of the songs was well known at that time - and I suspect it was Carrickfergus!

I think I have always assumed that C'fergus was a stray branch of "The Water is Wide".

Regards


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 07:45 PM

I sang this as part of a performance at the Woodford Festival in the last week. Before going on stage I racked my brain to try and remember what a Mudcateer had suggested were more sensible words for "I would support her" but could not. The main point here is that there has been a discussion here before on the lyrics - I haven't yet searched.

Also recall that I performed this as part of a series of concerts with the Fureys as the main stars. At interval I was complimented by a man in his late 60's (I guess) who was from Carrickfergus. He told me that he had grown up with the song/tune, but when I stop to think about it even a song composed in 1961 could almost qualify for that claim.

I'll be keen to see where this research leads us.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Neil Comer
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 05:53 PM

I am aware of an Irish language song of a same tune, but I can't quite remember where I heard it. The first line is 'do bhí bean uasal...' ( there was a noble woman)I'll try to get more info.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: John Moulden
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 05:49 AM

Another final addition - The LP "The Irish Rover" was on the Folklore label and was reviewed in "Sing" for October 1961 as "Dominic Behan's new record"

A question - if it is a fiddle tune, is there any evidence of a performance in that form earlier than late 1961?


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 11:24 PM

I've never been sure what the line about Kilkenny means- "Down in Kilkenny it is reported
On Marble tablets as black as ink
With gold and silver, I did support her..."

Is it the epitaph of his wife he refers to, or a marriage vow, or...


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: harpgirl
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 10:59 PM

well, it's a fiddle tune so maybe the tune came before the words...if Bruce O doesn't have some versions of it in his data base perhaps the words we sing are newer than the tune...we have talked about it a bunch before but I don't see the threads...harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 08:26 PM

At Cambridge folk festival this used to be sung in the Guinness tent (as distinct from the beer tent) and there were many, many verses. But I cannot say which vcame first, the chicken or the egg.

Has anyone asked O'Toole?. I got the definitive answer to the puzzle of "The Gay Fusilier" by asking Pete Coe what he wrote (and one day I will get around to posting it too). HE 'fessed up.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Jack Hickman - Kingston, ON
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 08:10 PM

Wow, what a response. I likely won't be able to give my friend a definitive answer to her questions, I will certainly be able to give her some food for thought. Keep it up, folks, one never knows what might eventually. come out of this thread.

I do think that the suggestion of Peter O'Toole being the author of the song is really reaching. But that's what theories are all about.

Jack Hickman


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: John Moulden
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 06:08 PM

Just to add a final piece of information. The LP which contained Dominic Behan's performance was called "The Irish Rover" and was published in about 1963 by Doug Dobell from his record shop on Charing Cross Road, London and was numbered F-LEUT-2. Unfortunately I no longer have it - especially since the notes said something pithy about Peter O'Toole, Dominic Behan and drink.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Peter T.
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 11:29 AM

The drunken ending is obviously about Peter O'Toole, whether by him or not....
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: John Moulden
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 11:15 AM

I too could assert that this is an old tune but in the absence of evidence would not expect my assertion to be accepted. My experience of this song is as I stated it above - with the addition that Dominic Behan called it "The Kerry Boatman" and sings the first two lines - "I wish I was in Carrickfergus, In ELphin, Aoidtrim or Ballygrind,"

The Clancy's sing "Only for nights in Ballygrand" - which has never made any sense to me - and probably not to anyone else either, but who am I to quarrel with their authority?

Behan's book"Ireland Sings" (London, 1965) gives three verses of which he says, he wrote the middle one and the others he collected from Peter O'Toole.

In trying to make sense of a song and its context we can do no more than start with what we have.

The mystery as far as I am concerned has four elements - 1. Since thirty-five years of looking can find no trace of the song prior to Peter O'Toole - where could it have been up to then? 2. Is it about the County Antrim Carrickfergus: the other place names are either obscure (Aoidtrim - which is not Irish for Antrim (Aontraim) - or Ballygrind - which I cannot presently trace) but Elphin is in Roscommon) - and Kilkenny? Was the first place name originally Carrickfergus at all? 3. What about the KERRY boatman? 4. Why do I have a hunch that there is an Irish language original? - though any Irish versions are actually translations of these words?

There are currently no answers to any of these questions.

The thematic similarity to "The water is wide" is fascinating too and raises its own questions - was O'Toole the author?

This is not all suggested seriously - just a contribution to the breadth of the puzzle.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: banjerbob@aol.com
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 08:25 AM

I checked with my friend Stewart, who went to ireland last summer and actually played the tune on a hill overlooking the Castle Cerrikfergus (over 1000 years old). He maintains it is indeed an old tune, and he played it a lot in the pubs. FWIW


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 08:15 AM

If you look at the song, it seems to be similar to Waly, Waly/Water is Wide.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: John Moulden
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 07:13 AM

The first I heard of this song was from Dominic Behan who said that he had learned it from the actor Peter O'Toole, whose favourite song it was. Dominic recorded it in the early sixties. His words differed slightly from those sung by the Clancy's whose source is surrounded by the usual creative mist. I have never since heard any version which could not be traced to either of those, nor have I ever - and I have looked at most of the manuscript, ballad sheet, popular song book or book collections of Irish songs ever made - seen it in any prior form.

It is, as you say, a mystery. I'll give it some more attention.


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Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: sam
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 06:16 AM

I want to know the same thing. I have heard that it was done at the turn of the century( 1900) in music halls. I've heard that the song is American in origin.


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Subject: Origins of Carrickfergus
From: Jack Hickman - Kingston, ON
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 12:22 AM

Dear Friends:

I have been asked to determine if Carrickfergus is a traditional song, or can it be attributed to anyone specific. Also does it by any chance predate 1800.

I am slowly and methodically perusing every book of appropriate folk music I can find, but in the meantime I thought if anyone had the information to hand, it might speed me on my way. I've seen more obscure questionas asked on Mudcat, and usually they get answers.

Keep the Faith.

Jack Hickman


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