The Ballad of Patrick Murphy

One hundred and three years ago today, the fisherman Patrick Murphy of Passage West Co. Cork was shot by a local bailiff.  To commemorate the 100th anniversary in 2011, Cork singer/songwriter John Spillane composed this ballad.  At first the song was about hatred and blame, but as Spillane describes, he worked through that in the writing, and in the end the song is about peace and reconciliation.

The Ballad of Patrick Murphy.

Chorus:
They lived beside the river
At the turning of the tide
They lived beside the river
By the river they lived and they died

Patrick Murphy was a fisherman, and a gentleman, and a good man,
In the town of Passage West,
With a wife and seven children,
And he tended to his nets.

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Lone Shanakyle

Old Shanakyle Cemetery

This is one of my very favorite recordings by Mary Dillon and Déanta. It is a masterful example of how a traditional song can be set in a “modern” arrangement and still retain all the feeling of an unaccompanied air.   The song was written by Thomas Madigan (c. 1860) and references Old Shanakyle (Shankill) Cemetery in Kilrush, Co. Clare.

Far, far from the isle of the holy and grand
Where wild oxen fatten and brave men are banned
All lonely and lone in a far distant land
Do I wander and pine for poor Éireann

Chorus:
Lonely and sad I roam far from my native home
Where the wild waves surging foam, headlands appearing
Clouded in silver spray, flashing through heaven’s bright ray
For thy glory and pride, lovely Éireann

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Dark Inishowen (Dark Iniseoghain)

Another visit to the ITMA’s Inishowen Song Project came up with this appropriately named song. Here the singer pines for his true love as he is stationed far away in Co. Fermanagh.  Michael McGonigle sings in Co. Donegal at the Inishowen Traditional Singers’ Circle. 

Dark Inishowen

Ye lovers of Beauty so fair and forlorn
So fondless I wander so far from my home
I am off by the moonlight or the break of morning
I’ll be found in the mountains of dark Inishowen.

I strayed ’round a place and they call it Clonmany
In search of a fair maid that I might adore
But a fair maid to love me I could not find any
From the Meendoran bridge to the Gap of Mamore.

Adieu to the place where I once had a fair maid
No wonder when absent that I do make mourn
When I think of those green fields the haunts of that fair one
Sure I pine for my darling in dark Inishowen.

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