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CarrickfergusMeaning:marble stones as black as ink

DigiTrad:
CARRICKFERGUS


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Big Tim 11 Feb 01 - 01:23 PM
Matt_R 11 Feb 01 - 01:30 PM
Sandy Paton 11 Feb 01 - 02:07 PM
Margaret V 11 Feb 01 - 02:20 PM
Matt_R 11 Feb 01 - 02:23 PM
Margaret V 11 Feb 01 - 02:24 PM
Noreen 11 Feb 01 - 03:03 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 11 Feb 01 - 06:12 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Feb 01 - 06:26 PM
Liz the Squeak 11 Feb 01 - 08:01 PM
Sandy Paton 11 Feb 01 - 08:59 PM
menzze 12 Feb 01 - 03:26 AM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 12 Feb 01 - 03:39 AM
Big Tim 12 Feb 01 - 05:22 AM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Feb 01 - 06:04 AM
menzze 12 Feb 01 - 06:26 AM
GUEST,JTT 12 Feb 01 - 07:50 AM
GUEST,Dita (at work) 12 Feb 01 - 08:37 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 12 Feb 01 - 10:01 AM
Big Tim 12 Feb 01 - 10:04 AM
Noreen 12 Feb 01 - 11:17 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 12 Feb 01 - 04:13 PM
Fergie 12 Feb 01 - 08:04 PM
GUEST,Annraoi 12 Feb 01 - 08:12 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Feb 01 - 08:13 PM
Big Tim 13 Feb 01 - 02:29 AM
GUEST,Sean McCartan 15 Apr 04 - 06:12 PM
michaelr 15 Apr 04 - 07:43 PM
Hrothgar 16 Apr 04 - 12:27 AM
Bob Bolton 16 Apr 04 - 01:50 AM
Big Tim 16 Apr 04 - 03:15 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 16 Apr 04 - 03:22 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 16 Apr 04 - 03:25 PM
GUEST,Sean McCartan 16 Apr 04 - 03:46 PM
Big Tim 17 Apr 04 - 03:21 AM
GUEST,robbie in wolverhampton 28 Nov 04 - 07:25 PM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Nov 04 - 07:42 PM
Fergie 28 Nov 04 - 08:36 PM
RobbieWilson 30 Nov 04 - 09:49 AM
Big Tim 30 Nov 04 - 10:55 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 30 Nov 04 - 03:00 PM
Rapparee 30 Nov 04 - 10:39 PM
Big Tim 01 Dec 04 - 04:00 AM
GUEST,John in Brisbane 01 Dec 04 - 07:33 PM
RobbieWilson 02 Dec 04 - 06:30 AM
GUEST,John in Brisbane 02 Dec 04 - 07:07 AM
RobbieWilson 03 Dec 04 - 09:10 AM
GUEST,JTT 03 Dec 04 - 07:05 PM
GUEST,guest 31 Jan 07 - 06:26 PM
GUEST 31 Jan 07 - 06:56 PM
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Subject: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: Big Tim
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 01:23 PM

This line from "Carrickfergus" has mystified me for decades. Anyone know what it means. Recently I heard a version of the song by Sean O Se which places it in Castlecomer (Co Kilkenny. As this was a coalmining town might it have something to do with this. And where is Ballygrand or Ballygran?


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: Matt_R
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 01:30 PM

I've always wondered the same thing! Another thing that puzzled me is what the guy who sings the song is SO interested in having a HANDSOME boatman? I mean...if he REALLY wants to get over to his love and die...wouldn't any old boatman do?


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 02:07 PM

One text for "Peggy Gordon" includes:

I wish I was in Pennsylvania,
Where the marble stones are as black as ink.

So I'll vote for "coal." Sandy


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: Margaret V
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 02:20 PM

Well, I always assumed this was a reference to a gravestone of black marble, on which the epitaph of his love was carved. Within the text of the epitaph was a reference to their relationship, in which he had supported her with gold and silver... Margaret


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: Matt_R
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 02:23 PM

Hmmm...bit of a stretch...I never would have thought of that.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: Margaret V
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 02:24 PM

Oh, and Matt, I've usually heard it sung "handy boatman," but either way I take it to mean a boatman who knows how to do his job well, one who is skilled in the handiwork of piloting. Still, I like your nuance! Margaret


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: Noreen
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 03:03 PM

For discussion and fascinating information on this lovely song, click: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 06:12 PM

My version of Peggy Gordon, copped, I think, from Helen Creighton's Nova Scotia collection a long time ago (see Sandy Paton's message above) has a slightly different line:

I will go down into Spencervania, Where the marble stones run black as ink...

Note those stones are running, and ink is liquid, too. As a native Pennsylvanian, anthracite all the way, I figure coal is a good guess...but I'm wondering whether it might not be oil, another "Spencervanian" gift to the world???

On the other hand, "Peggy Gordon" and its cousin "Sweet Primroses" are Nova Scotian, Irish and English by origin, so that could throw the question back toward Carrickfergus and clear across the Big Water.

Maybe the destination wasn't Pennsylvania originally but somewhere in Britain?

.... No firm answers. Just noodling on a line that's always been one of my favorite mysterious bits of crazy sense too.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 06:26 PM

Kilkenny is famous for it's black marble. The idea of it being his loves gravestone is fascinating. But I've always taken it that his mind is starting to ramble a bit with the drink.

And handsome can mean skilled, handy. "You made a handsome job of it!"


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 08:01 PM

Purbeck in Dorset is also famous for black marble. The caves are supposed to be the abode of the devil so the marble can only be used in churches or as gravestones.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 08:59 PM

Great godamighty, folks! Is that the real BOB COLTMAN up there, joining us at last? I hope so, and I hope you all will give him the enthusiastic welcome he deserves.

We heard a Creighton recording of "Peggy Gordon," Bob, from Nova Scotia, and thought her informant was singing "PennSLAvania." Was it Amos Jollimore? Anyway, I don't recall that the marble stones were "running," although we could have rationalized it as Caroline was learning it.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: menzze
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 03:26 AM

It just means what it says: black marble stones, black as ink, from Kilkenny,Ireland. Though I've been there 20 years ago I missed to see it and had to go to Hannover to the EXPO last year to find it in the Irish Pavillion. If ya like stones ya shure'll like that one with its amazing pictures and twisted forms in it.

A great recording of it from the seventies is from Five Hand Reel: Dave Gaughan,Bobby Eaglesham,Tom Hickland,Barry Lyons and Dave Tulloch on the record For A' That issued by Black Crow Records,Midgy Ha,Sharperton,Morpeth,Northumberland Ne65 7AS Tel.Rothbury (0669)40252


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 03:39 AM

The term "handsomely" is used by seafarers to mean fast or swift. A "Handsome cab" was used for transport. I think the term Handsome (in the song) means swift in this instance. Marble stones as black as ink refers to Headstones. Yours, Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: Big Tim
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 05:22 AM

Hi folks, just woke up here in Glasgow, Scotland. Thanks for contributuions, getting some where, glad that it seems there is no glaingly obvious meaning that I've overlooked for all these years. I've got the Five Hand Reel version, glad to see Bobby Eaglesham get a mention, a folk singer of the finest kind. Heard him sing Carrickf live here in Glasgow about a month ago at Celtic Connections festival, supporting Mary Coughlan. He says he got the song from a Clancys songbook when he was 19, he had no money so he cut the relevant page from the book in Biggars Music Shop in sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, with a razor blade, thus is the folk tradition continued.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 06:04 AM

It's "Hansom Cab" - as beloved by Sherlock Holmes and GK Chesterton especially.Invented by Aloysius Hansom of York who lived from 1803 to 1882.

Mind, they were handsome vehicles as well - two wheeled cabs with the driver sitting up aloft behind the passengers with a litle trapdoor to communicate with them.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: menzze
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 06:26 AM

Hi Big Tim

First time I heard the song was in 1979. I was on the way hitching from Germany to Scotland and we had break for some days in Appleby(?) in the Lakes where I met to Scots guys on their way to the south. I had my guitar with me, they had a bottle of Grouse and a good smoke and we had a wonderful campfire party this night. When we parted one of them gave me a tape with Five Hand Reel on it which I had never heard before but loved it from this very second.

Back in Germany a horrible accident occured after I had watched like the apple of my eye during the whole trip: the tape fell into a can of milk.

It took me about 8 or 9 years of searching until I found the records(see: there was no mudcat at the time:-))

Yeah, that's really the way folk is spread around and therefore can never die!

take care menzze


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 07:50 AM

In my childhood it was always sung "a *constant* rover from town to town".

Hansom, not handsome, cab. Though maybe they were handsome too, everyone to their own taste.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: GUEST,Dita (at work)
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 08:37 AM

Thanks for the info Big Tim, I'd always wondered what had happened to that page when I bought the Clancy's book. Next time I see Bobby in the "Oak" I'll ask for it back.
love,john.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 10:01 AM

Hi, Sandy, Caroline, and all...

I'd be the last one to insist my "marble stones run" is correct. I'm sure this has gone through my own folk processing (sorta like multiprocessing run backwards and inside out).

Best I can say is, I must have run across the Creighton in a library in the late 50s. The only written copy I have is one I typed up to go vagabonding with in summer 1959. Must have thrown away my original...

Talk about fluid, as in ink, oil, marble, and so on: the way songs slither and change in my head is a good definition of fluid.

So "run" may well be my kink, and, having now had the benefit of checking out the wonderful Carrickfergus thread, and new messages above, I think the black marble of Kilkenny, per menzze above, has to be it.

So, how do the black marble stones get to Pennsylvania? In Nova Scotia, miners or miners' friends, thinking of the mines of Pa., substitute it for Kilkenny. There was a lot of moving around in those 19th century coal years, looking for good work. I know a lot of miners came to Pa. from Wales especially, and elsewhere in Britain looking for good-paying jobs. Maybe the Nova Scotia originator of my version of the line was thinking that work in Pennsylvania might be a good way to get out of a more restrictive society and earn better money? "Where the pretty little girls they do adore me, And never care what I say or think," etc. Or... (your theory here) -- Bob


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: Big Tim
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 10:04 AM

Guest, Ditta Next time you see Bobby ask him how he liked the Ewan MacColl tape of Burns songs I sent him, and let me know. Noreen, thanks for the thread on Carrickf origins. If John Moulden doesn't know then I think we've had it. All the best.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: Noreen
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 11:17 AM

Cheers, Big Tim. I read the origins thread through again after linking to it here, and is surprised me- I remembered that there had been more final conclusions drawn.

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 04:13 PM

P.S. to foregoing:

Flagging Sandy Paton:

By the way, Sandy, please check my Lyrics Request "I Am a Vaquero," if you haven't. Strikes me that you, if anyone, might be able to answer that one.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: Fergie
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 08:04 PM

Yes , Kilkenny is known as the Marble city, the medeavil buildings are made from a very dark type of limestone and this is what is meant by the line in the song "and in Kilkenny it is recorded on marble stones there as black as ink".


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: GUEST,Annraoi
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 08:12 PM

I was always mystified about black marble until I spent a week in Kilkenny some four years ago. I took the usual tourist tour round the city - I'm no snob, it was my first visit - and the information was volunteered that, after some exposure to the weather, Kilkenny limestone turns black, hence the reference.
Don't ask me to explain; I'm not a geologist.
Annraoi


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 08:13 PM

Mind you, when sung in coal country the singers could very well be thinking of coal, especially that hard shiny anthracite that can be carved into fantasticallty delicate statues, often by laid-off miners.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: Big Tim
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 02:29 AM

Annraoi, thanks, Kilkenny has to be one of the nicest towns in Ireland, or anywhere else. McGrath of H it was anhracite they mined in at Castlecomer. The town was captured by Father John Murphy's rebels in 1798. The miners joined hus band but later deserted and betrayed him to the gov forces at Kilcumney Hill, east.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: GUEST,Sean McCartan
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 06:12 PM

The first two lines of the second verse of 'The Young Sick Lover', collected in 1902 reads:

I wish I had you in Carrickfergus,
agus ní fada ón áit sin baile cuain

Outside Castlecomer is the village of Coon. In early manuscripts this area is referred to as Cuan and Cuain. There was a castle there which was tossed around 1840.

Sean


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: michaelr
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 07:43 PM

...and "agus ni fada on ait sin baile cuain" means what, please?

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: Hrothgar
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 12:27 AM

I think "handsome" in this instance means "generous" or "nobly acting" as in "Handsome is as handsome does."

In all the information here (including the old thread) I don't think I've seen the other verse that I know, which fits very neatly betwen the standard first verse ("I wish I was...") and the usual last verse ("Now, in Kilkenny..."). I learned this in the 1960s, and I'm not sure where. I think it was something the late Stan Arthur had typed out, but where he found it I don't know.

I lay me down here, beside the water,
Alone I'll rest me in my grief and woe,
Anf if there's no-one who will assist me,
Throughout this country I alone must 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 down.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 01:50 AM

G'day Hrothgar,

Doesn't out there own / use a decent etomological dictionary?

The (Australian) Concise Oxford Dictionary on my work bench gives: "Middle English, in the sense 'easily handled, handy, suitable' from HAND + SOME" - So why do we try to impose our modernisms onto singers who knew what they were saying?

(Much like the "marble stones as black as ink" question ... I worked with a lass from Kilkenny and asked her - she said Kilkenny was famous for its black marble - as Fergie noted well above and more than three years ago.)

Regards(les)s,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: Big Tim
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 03:15 PM

"Young Sick Lover" looks like it could be an interesting avenue to explore: can anyone supply the fulls lyrics?

Sean O' Se's version, which I mentioned 3 three years ago, is sung mustly in Irish and he sings of "Baile cuain" too. Surely this means "the homestead, or town, or townland, or possibly even castle, of Coon". Coon literally translates as "recess" which is not much help. Could Ballycuain have come down by oral transmission as Ballygran(d)? Bit of a stretch!

It's looking like the song may be closer to Kilkenny than to Antrim, so how does Carrickfergus fit into all of this?


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 03:22 PM

Big Tim, you'll have to look at some of the other threads on Carrickfergus, as they were supplied in one or another of the Origin discussions of this song.

I'm no expert on Irish, but in Scottish Gaelic, it would seem to say literally:

And will make long from place this town Cuain.

In more colloquial English, And time will make from this place, the town of Cuain

Hopefully Phillipa or one of the Irish folk can be more accurate.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 03:25 PM

Checked, Big Tim, and it is this thread: Origins of Carrickfergus


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: GUEST,Sean McCartan
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 03:46 PM

F.J. Byrne in 'Irish Kings and High Kings' names a dozen by the name of Fergus. They are well spread out but two were in Leinster.

There were also saints in Ireland by the name of Fergus. Many years ago I researched a site in a townland called Killybawn (White Church). I later discoved that in early times it was dedicated to Saint Fergus. That was in county down, but the point I am trying to make is:

There were many Kings and Saints called Fergus. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that Fergus must have figured prominently in early placenames which have been lost and forgotten in the mists of time.

Sean


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: Big Tim
Date: 17 Apr 04 - 03:21 AM

Thanks George: fascinating thread.

The Fergus of Carrickfergus is traditionally given as Fergus Mor, the founder, or perhaps the son of the founder, of the Scots/Irish Kingdom of Dalriada in the 6th C AD. Carrickfergus was originally Knockfergus (both prefixes mean approx the same "rock"). The Castle was built in 1180 by John de Courcy, tho there was an older settlement there. A 1540 map, printed in Bardon's Hist of Belfast, spells it as Kragfargus.

Coan is located 4 miles SE of Castlecomer. From the Irish - An Cuan ("recess"). Also there are two separate adjacent townlands bearing the name; 1. Coan East. 2. Coan West.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: GUEST,robbie in wolverhampton
Date: 28 Nov 04 - 07:25 PM

I have always been intigued by the lines about kilkenny because there seem to be to main versions of the lyric which alter the tone of the whole song.

First, and the version I sing, " ....In Kilkenny it is reported THERE'S marble stones as black as ink. With gold and silver I WOULD support her......" a song of a man unfulfilled in life going back to Carrick fergus to die"

Second
"... In Kilkenny it is reported ON marble stones as black as ink. With gold and silver I DID SUPPORT HER......." a story of a man pining for his love who has died before him.

Either story makes sense to me although some people sing a hybrid version ( there's stones but I did support her), including Van Morrison on Celtic Heartbeat.

I would be really interested to find old versions of the words to try and work out the original story. Love to hear anyone elses thoughts.
x Robbie


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Nov 04 - 07:42 PM

I wouldn't pay any attention to what Van Morrison sings; he doesn't, so you'll get no worthwhile answers there. Read through this discussion, and the others listed at the top of the page. If there's anything you don't understand after you've done that, let us know.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: Fergie
Date: 28 Nov 04 - 08:36 PM

In Kilkenny can be found a very dark grade of limestone that when polished has the appearancce of black marble, most of the older buildings are constructed from this material. It was also favoured as an easily engraved stone very suitable for making tombstones.

Fergus


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 30 Nov 04 - 09:49 AM

Good advice, Malcolm. The thread on the origins of the song is fascinating reading but still does not resolve my dilemma; Is the song regretting an unnfulfilled love(...WOULD support her) or looking back on a partner who is already in the grave(.... DID support her). One contribution suggests that both may part of the story and that our bold hero had a true love who fell for another,from Clare, and moved on to marry someone in Kilkenny who he wished to see under the marble stones so that he could go back and try again with his true love.

An added confusion for me is that the old versions all seem to say "...with gold and silver I WILL support her.

How do other singers picture this song?


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: Big Tim
Date: 30 Nov 04 - 10:55 AM

Look up the "Young Sick Lover", on another Carrickfergus thread: that contains the heart of the song. Over the years, others have added bits and pieces, confusing the issue and making understanding of the whole thing difficult.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 30 Nov 04 - 03:00 PM

Big Tim, referring back to your message about Knockfergus where the knock meant rock, I wonder if it might have been Cnoc Ferguis or something equivalent. Cnoc in Gaelic is a knoll or hillock.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: Rapparee
Date: 30 Nov 04 - 10:39 PM

To toss in the opinions of one who used to make tombstones:

Most people can't tell the difference between marble and granite. Both come in a wide variety of colors: here are some black granites and here's American Black from Rock of Ages. We used to use Swedish Black until the boss became disgusted, he said they'd started quarrying with dynamite instead of black powder and the resulting microfractures ruined the stone.

I didn't see black stone buildings in Kilkenny, but then again I wasn't looking. Could well be, could very well be.

Marble is just another form of limestone.

I always took the line to mean that there were black gravestones in Kilkenny. Having made some, I had no problem with the concept.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: Big Tim
Date: 01 Dec 04 - 04:00 AM

George: this from Flanagan's "Irish Place Names."

CARRICKFERGUS, Antrim. "Carraig Fhearghasa - rock of Fergus".
"Cnoc means anything from a hill to a small mountain".

In Carrickfergus meaning, it may signify instead "fortress, castle": in the sense of solid, strong, permanent as a rock. (My opinion, not "official" from Flanagan)

Kilkenny black marble was also used for other purposes, notably in the construction of fireplaces. The Behan family had one, and it is interesting that Brendan's biographer, Michael O'Sullivan (1997), says that Brendan and Dominic learned "Carrickfergus" from the singing of their mother, Kathleen. This was long before Peter O'Toole came on the scene. Personally, I suspect the O'Toole story is a tall one.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: GUEST,John in Brisbane
Date: 01 Dec 04 - 07:33 PM

I can never know the true intentions of the original author (was the Kikenny verse added by another?), but in future I will interpret it this way:

"I'm a native of Carrickfergus and because I'm living overseas I'm very sentimentally attached to the place. I yearn to get a free boat trip there via the speediest boat available.

I used to be keen on a girl in Kilkenny that I splahed some money on in order to impress her. I'm always moving about and left her behind. I've just heard that she has since died and is buried in Kilkenny. I'm unemployed and quite depressed, so I'll continue to drown my sorrows in the booze."

OR

"I'm a fairly pathetic pisspot who hasn't held a steady job since I left Ireland. To escape reality I get on the turps andI fantasize about my childhood and a prostitute from Kilkenny - I was her best customer until my money ran out. I've just heard that she died of syphillis. I need another shot."

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 02 Dec 04 - 06:30 AM

Dear John,
(always wanted to start a letter like that)
I quite agree that it is generally impossible to have a writers original thoughts in your head and you have to construct your own picture. You seem to go along with the did support her line of his love being dead. I favour the black stones being merely a local feature of Kilkenny and this sad individual lamenting missed opportunity( the would or will support her version)

Any way up, sing it like you believe it.
Robbie


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: GUEST,John in Brisbane
Date: 02 Dec 04 - 07:07 AM

Dearest Robbie,

How charming of you to write. For better or wosre Carrickfergus has been my signature tune for the last twenty years, but I've always struggled with the ambiguity of the lyrics. Henceforth i'll be singing 'did support' and will feel a lot happier about the feel of the lyrics.

Coincidentally, I can't think of any other maudlim song where the writer so honestly admits that he has a drinking problem.

Affectionately yours,
John


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 03 Dec 04 - 09:10 AM

Dear John, I'm sure ther must be lots; Tom Paxton's Bottle of Wine springs to mind, but perhaps that should be a different thread.
All the best
Robbie


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 03 Dec 04 - 07:05 PM

The lines I've known since childhood are:

a) "And in Kilkenny, it is reported/The marble stones are as black as ink"

(referring to the black, red-veined, beautiful marble that they have there)

and

b) a *constant* rover from town to town.

The "handsome" version arrived later; either it was a mis-hearing by singers or else they were awfully fond of themselves.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 31 Jan 07 - 06:26 PM

I love this place! I was recently given a recording with the sean o'se version and have been trying to decipher his words since. The note about "The young sick lover" is a godsend, that is very close to the line o'se uses in his second verse.

ni fada on ait sin (gu?) baile cuain

I would love to see an irish speaker post a transcription, if they could...I haven't seen it on any of the carrickfergus threads. I don't speak myself, but as a singer, it drives me up the wall to not "know"!

On a personal note, I do some occasional rummaging on session.org, and it is so pleasant to read a thread that's not full of bile and venom. I have my own strong feelings about music, art, and culture, and I can't stand that people feel the need to denegrate one another when they argue their points.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'marble stones as black as ink
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jan 07 - 06:56 PM

Sorry, just found the transcription on the "origins" thread...I can only say, it's a terribly long thread :)


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