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Lyr Add: Dear Old Skibbereen

DigiTrad:
SKIBBEREEN


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Skibbereen + Irish Soldier Laddie (13)
(origins) Origin: Dear Old Skibbereen (18)


pattyClink 20 Feb 01 - 09:34 AM
MartinRyan 20 Feb 01 - 07:27 AM
MartinRyan 20 Feb 01 - 06:59 AM
Wolfgang 20 Feb 01 - 05:55 AM
Big Tim 15 Feb 01 - 05:13 PM
Kim C 15 Feb 01 - 03:17 PM
Liam's Brother 15 Feb 01 - 02:19 PM
Big Tim 15 Feb 01 - 02:04 PM
Big Tim 15 Feb 01 - 12:34 PM
GMT 15 Feb 01 - 10:58 AM
GMT 15 Feb 01 - 10:46 AM
MartinRyan 15 Feb 01 - 10:24 AM
MartinRyan 15 Feb 01 - 10:15 AM
paddymac 15 Feb 01 - 10:14 AM
Kim C 15 Feb 01 - 09:52 AM
Liam's Brother 15 Feb 01 - 09:44 AM
Big Tim 15 Feb 01 - 04:15 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 15 Feb 01 - 03:56 AM
Joe Offer 14 Feb 01 - 10:22 PM
MartinRyan 14 Feb 01 - 06:32 PM
MartinRyan 14 Feb 01 - 06:23 PM
Kim C 14 Feb 01 - 05:20 PM
Joe Offer 14 Feb 01 - 04:39 PM
Kim C 14 Feb 01 - 04:15 PM
Joe Offer 14 Feb 01 - 02:55 PM
Big Tim 14 Feb 01 - 02:32 PM
Big Tim 14 Feb 01 - 01:32 PM
menzze 13 Feb 01 - 05:53 PM
Big Tim 13 Feb 01 - 04:54 PM
MartinRyan 13 Feb 01 - 04:41 PM
Joe Offer 13 Feb 01 - 02:12 PM
Stewart 13 Feb 01 - 01:36 PM
Amergin 13 Feb 01 - 12:37 PM
Big Tim 13 Feb 01 - 09:57 AM
Fiolar 13 Feb 01 - 09:36 AM
MartinRyan 13 Feb 01 - 03:13 AM
menzze 13 Feb 01 - 03:07 AM
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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: pattyClink
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 09:34 AM

Lomax made recordings of Skibbereen in Michigan in 1938-39. Those singing the song said it went back at least one generation because their immigrant fathers and grandfathers sang it. One would sing it so movingly 'it would make your hair stand up'. It was a very powerful way to convey their history, national pride, and a scoop of bitterness as well, to the next generation.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: MartinRyan
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 07:27 AM

The Tyrone reference seems to be to "Ulster Songs and ballads of town and country" by Richard Hayward. I know there was an edition in 1925 but I'm not sure if that was the original. John Moulden will probably know!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: MartinRyan
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 06:59 AM

Wolfgang.

Yes, I've seen that reference to Tyrone. Bill Meek mentions it somewhere also. I still think it more likely that it was originally written in America and come back to Ireland late 19C.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: Wolfgang
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 05:55 AM

James N. Healy, in Ballads from the pubs of Ireland, writes that Herbert Hughes (mentioned above by Big Tim) says in his 1915 book that it has been collected in Co. Tyrone. This means the song must have travelled quite a bit before 1915 if one assumes that it has been written in or near to Skibbereen (Co. Cork).

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: Big Tim
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 05:13 PM

Possibly Kim C, let's wait and see, I never thought I'd learn who wrote Shan Van Vocht, and, Wearing of the Green, but I did.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: Kim C
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 03:17 PM

I think this is going to be one of those "we don't know exactly how old this is but we're doing it anyway" songs! ;)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 02:19 PM

Hi Kim! The nature of folk song is that just about everybody gets the song from someone (or someplace) else (sometimes even the original author, after all, every son has a father). I doubt my great grandfather was an exception vis-a-vis "Skibbereen."

The phrase "a blight came on the land, and the sheep and cattle died" coupled with "well I do remember the year of forty-eight," should establish that the song, almost surely, speaks of The Great Famine of 1847-1853 and the Young Irelander Rebellion of 1848. On a (perhaps unnecessarily) personal note, my great grandfather was probably born about that time (circa 1850) because my father was the youngest of 5 children and was born in 1901.

Martin Ryan's advice above that "Skibbereen" is listed in a book from 1901 is very helpful. (Thanks, Martin!) As I said earlier, I'm going to keep an eye open as I look through 19th century American songsters to see what is the earliest date I can find. Some New York concert saloon songsters, for example, are rather obscure in that only a few copies have survived, maybe it'll pop up in one of them.

Regarding the melody, I've never heard "Skibbereen" sung to more than one melody. I knew Joe Heaney fairly well 20-25 years ago and I recall my greatgrandfather's melody was very similar to Joe's. The forthcoming Folk-Legacy CD, "Irish in America: A Musical Record of the Irish People in the United States 1780 - 1980" includes a simply incredible song entitled "Scovill's Rolling Mill." The melody I used when I recorded it was my greatgrandfather's "Skibbereen."

All the best,
Dan Milner


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: Big Tim
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 02:04 PM

Martin, thanks for NY 1901 reference, that's great. Didn't notice it previously as my damn computer keeps going offline and I have to read and type at breakneck pace! Will have to get it fixed.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: Big Tim
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 12:34 PM

Paddymac, sorry I don't have the names of the two different airs. A Mayo woman sang the "minority" air here live a few weeks ago (Glasgow) and called it the "Mayo" tune, Joe Heany, from Connemara, also used it, so possibly from the west of Ireland. Yea Sinead O'Connor is a fine singer of trad songs, the girl (to me) has soul. She has also added Margaret Barry's version of Factory Girl to her stage act.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: GMT
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 10:58 AM

Ok so it's there but it's November and the spleens yellow !
I'll look first next time G
Gary


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: GMT
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 10:46 AM

The first Soodlum book has another verse.

Oh, well do I remember the bleak December day
The Landlord and the sheriff came to drive us all away
They set my roof on fire with cursed English spleen
And that's another reason that I left old Skibbereen.

There are a few differences in the words in other places but I thought you might like the extra verse if it's
not already in DT (I forgot to look first !!!)

Cheers Gary


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: MartinRyan
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 10:24 AM

I've also seen, somewhere, the title listed with "Irish Molly-O " given as the air. I imagine that's the OTHER irish molly i.e. slow version of the Sash.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: MartinRyan
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 10:15 AM

1901 - "Irish come-all-ye's" publ. New York lists it.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: paddymac
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 10:14 AM

Big Tim - do you know the titles of the airs to which this song is sung? You mention that there are versions using two different melodies, but the only one I've heard is the one the Dubliners used. Liam Neeson, in his role os "Michael Collins" in the film of the same name, did a single verse of the song in a "party piece" setting. I mention it because he aslo used the same melody as the Dubs. Seems like I recall Sinead also using that melody.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: Kim C
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 09:52 AM

Dan, condsidering the workings of oral tradition, I would venture to guess that even his grandfather got it from someone else before him. Of course that's just a guess - but we know that many of the songs Cecil Sharp collected around that same time go back 2-300 years. If Skibbereen has to do with the trials of the 1840s, it very well could be that old. But I repeat, that's just a guess. :)

Cheers ----- Kim


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 09:44 AM

This is one of the songs my father sang. He learned it from his grandfather, Patrick McKee of Ennis,Co. Clare. I never did write down my father's words; first, because this was a song that seemed everywhere when I was younger and, second, I've never heard much textual variation. Although my father was born in 1901 and got it from his grandfather, that still does not necessarily place the song before the 1915 date given above. I'll keep my eyes and ears open. This is interesting.

All the best,
Dan Milner


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: Big Tim
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 04:15 AM

Thanks for origins comments. See above for 1915 publ by Herbert Hughes. Steve Roud (Guildford, London)has checked his collection for me and this is also his earliest ref, he has 112,000 titles in his index! He is referred to on the Joe Heaney CD.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 03:56 AM

Thanks, Joe

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 10:22 PM

Hi, Martin - I got a reply from Bob Waltz of the Traditional Ballad Index. Here's what he says.
-Joe Offer-

Joe: Hi, Bob - somebody at the Mudcat Cafe pointed out a possible error on your information on "Skibbereen." You show the "earliest date" as 1062, and he's sure it's not that. Got any idea what that date is?

Oh, it's obvious. I know my typos. :-) It's 1962.

Now we both know the song is older than that. But that date (Galvin's
publication) is as early as I can verify it, as Galvin gives no source.

The very fact that it shows up in Australia pretty well proves that
it's older. :-)

Thanks for catching that.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: MartinRyan
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 06:32 PM

Ha! Make that "I've never seen..."

Regards

Good night!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: MartinRyan
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 06:23 PM

Tim

O'Donovan Rossa is in the right place and right time - and is well known. I've seen any evidence that he had any connection. I'll see what I can find out. Anywhere I've looked so far just gives "anonymous" - and that includes several books that are well-tuned to the tradition and the sources.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: Kim C
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 05:20 PM

cor! That's it. I am a PBS junkie and the shows seem to all run together. Elvis Costello's work on that is really good too. Maybe I should just go ahead and buy the album!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 04:39 PM

Yeah, Kim, Sinead can do a terrific job of traditional songs when she puts her mind to it. Maybe the show you saw was "Long Journey Home: Irish In America" - Click here for a sound clip of Sinead's recording.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: Kim C
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 04:15 PM

I was watching some program on PBS not too long ago and heard Sinead O'Connor singing this. It stopped me dead in my tracks.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 02:55 PM

Hi, Martin - I e-mailed your question to the people at the Traditional Ballad Index.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: Big Tim
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 02:32 PM

Arg, me again. The song is just called Skibbereen, "place of small boats". I've seen it linked to O'Donovan Rossa (1831-1915)from nearby Rosscarbery and whose father starved to death to allow his five kids to survive, after eating the family donkey. Any more on this link or other origins of the song? That'me finished !


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: Big Tim
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 01:32 PM

I forgot to say that the song is sung to two different tunes. The ones used by Joe Heaney and Bridie Gallagher referred to above are completely different. The Gallagher one is the most widely used. We will be discussing the song this Sunday at the meeting of the Glasgow Irish Singers (in Glasgow)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: menzze
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 05:53 PM

Amergin,I never heard this song sung either but by this old lady.

It may sound too sentimental for some of you, but sometimes when I did it on stage with OAKTREE('twas the name of my band, we did folk-music from Ireland, Scottland and Bretagne)I had tears in my eyes and in my voice because it touched me so much.

Thanks for all the backing information given here.A lot of it I had already known others such as "cota mor" were really new and welcome.

Hey you people, I think I really like this place here!!! Should have known it years before.

menzze


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: Big Tim
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 04:54 PM

Amergin, this is a very famous Irish song, it's on many albums. Check Bridie Gallagher (1962) and Joe Heaney "The Road From Connemara" (just released) plus "Alias" actually the great Ron Kavana (1998).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: MartinRyan
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 04:41 PM

Joe

I'm puzzled by the "Earliest Date: 1062" line. Is it a typo? I don't recall seeing the song in 19C song books, but imagine it was reasonably soon after mid-century. No sign of a ballad sheet version at the Bodley.

Regards

p.s. the history looks to be condensed from Galvin. Don't recognise the other reference.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 02:12 PM

It's nice that you brought up this song, menzze. I hadn't taken the time to study it. Here's the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index, which gives some pretty good background information. Oh, and the lyrics are here (click) in the Digital Tradition.
-Joe Offer-

Skibbereen

DESCRIPTION: A boy asks his father why he left Skibbereen when he is always speaking of it. The father lists reasons: First came the blight. Then the landlord took the land. Then he joined the 1848 rebellion, and had to flee. The boy promises revenge
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1062
KEYWORDS: Ireland rebellion hardtimes landlord exile
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
1847/8 - Greatest of several Irish potato famines
1848 - Irish rebellion
FOUND IN: Ireland Australia
REFERENCES (3 citations):
PGalvin, p. 46, "Skibbereen" (1 text, 1 tune)
Meredith/Covell/Brown, p. 163, "Skibbereen" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, SKIBREEN*

Notes: The 1848 rebellion was the result of many factors. One was hunger -- the potato blight drove food prices beyond the reach of common people; in the end, millions died and many more went to America. For details, see the notes to "Over There (I - The Praties They Grow Small)."
Another was land hunger; the preceding decades had forced many Irish smallholders off their lands while allowing the rich (usually English) to enlarge their holdings. By the time of the blight, most Irish were working holdings of five acres or less; there simply wasn't enough land for the population.
Finally, revolution was in the air; almost all of Europe (except England) was in turmoil.
Unfortunately for the rebels, the very factors that caused the revolt meant that it had no strength and could gain no foreign help. And England, with a stable government at home and all her enemies distracted, could deal with the rebellion at its leisure. - RBW
File: PGa046

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2000 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: Stewart
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 01:36 PM

"Skibbereen" is on p. 136 of Dan Milner & Paul Kaplan's "Songs of England, Ireland & Scotland - A Bonnie Bunch of Roses". Source: from P. Galvin, "Irish Songs of Resistance". Recording: Joe Heaney, "Joe and the Gabe", Green Linnet SIF 1018.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: Amergin
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 12:37 PM

Hmmm, I have never heard this song being actually sung....I have heard it recited and have recited it myself....but never sung...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: Big Tim
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 09:57 AM

Anyone know the origins of this song, date, composer, etc. The earlist reference I have found is in a 1915 song book of Herbert Hughes.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: Fiolar
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 09:36 AM

To Menzze. Yes good effort. You probably have seen the database by now. The word "cota mor" is simply Irish for "great-coat" or "over-coat" and listening to it, it would be easy to take it as "coat d'amour" which if my French is correct would mean "coat of love" and probably would have a different meaning or even a differnt use. :-)The Dubliners version is probably one of the best and truest available although the recent one on the Chieftains album is reasonable although cut short a bit because of political correctness.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dear old Skibereen
From: MartinRyan
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 03:13 AM

menzze

Well done! ....but it is in the database, alright. Search under skiBBereen i.e. two B's.

Regards


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Subject: Lyr Add: DEAR OLD SKIBBEREEN^^^
From: menzze
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 03:07 AM

I was looking in the database for this song but couldn't find it but mentioned as air for another song. I was taught this song by two old ladies who ran a museum in Skibbereen in 1980. I dropped into them by chance but spent one of the most impressing afternoons of my life with them. They told me the father of one of them was together with de Valera in the beginning of the century.

I used to sing this song alone and unaccompanied during our gigs and the audience loved it.

I think it should be in the database, so here it is:


Dear Ol' Skibbereen

Oh father dear and I often hear you speak of Erin's isle
Her lofty scenes her valleys green her mountains rude and wild
And they say it is a lovely land wherein a prince might dwell
Then why did you abandon it oh the reason to me tell

O son I loved my native land with energy and pride
'til the blight came over all me corn an' me sheep an' cattle died
The rents and taxes where to pay and I could not them redeem
And that's the cruel reason why I left ol' Skibbereen

Your mother two, may god rest her soul, lay on the snowy ground
She fainted in her anguish a' sang the desolation round
She never rose but passed away from live to immortal dreams
And found a quiet resting place in the abbey near Skibbereen

And you were only two years old and feeble was your frame
But I could not leave you with your friends for you bore your father's name
So I wrapped you in my coat d'amour at the dead of the night unseen
An I heaved a sigh and I said good-bye to dear ol' Skibereen

Oh father dear and the day is near when in answer to the call
Each Irish man and woman will rally one and all
And I'll be the man to lead the van beneath the flag o' green
And loud and high we'll raise our cry Revenge for Skibbereen


I am sure there are some orthographical mistakes in it. You must forgive me, I was taught this 21 years ago from mouth to mouth and it was a bit of a problem for a German folkie to write it all correct. Hope you appreciate it

have a good time

menzze ^^^
Line Breaks <br> added.
-Joe Offer-


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