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Shaun O'Nolan, the Wicklow Piper

Matthew Edwards 12 Sep 09 - 07:22 PM
Matthew Edwards 12 Sep 09 - 07:27 PM
Paul Burke 13 Sep 09 - 05:33 AM
GUEST 22 Dec 12 - 12:29 AM
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Subject: Shaun O'Nolan, the Wicklow Piper
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 07:22 PM

Shaun O'Nolan (1871-1941), also known as John J Nolan, was a Wicklow piper and singer who recorded a number of 78rpm records for Columbia on their 33000F Irish series in the 1920's and 30's, and also on Regal. A few of his pipe tunes are available for listening on the Internet Archive which display a quite distinctive style.

Gilda Ray Hornpipe (pipe solo)
Going to Mass Last Sunday/ Bold Jack Donahue (acc. piano)
Reels - The Cuckoo's Nest/ The Tailor's Thimble (acc. piano)
The Fisherman's Widow (pipe solo)
Jigs - The Fisherman's Widow/ The Walls of Liscara (acc. piano)
The Gilda Ray/ Shake It Up Shannahan (acc. piano)

The sound quality on some of the above is sometimes a bit uneven, but all the same many thanks to whoever is responsible for making them available. I feel the pipe solos are more exciting to listen to, and I feel a bit sorry for the poor pianist who is left trailing in O'Nolan's wake on 'The Cuckoo's Nest' and has to scurry along to catch up!

Shaun O'Nolan also sang as a tenor for a living more in the vaudeville or variety style, and was quite popular in his day but he seems to be almost completely forgotten today. His recording of Me Uncle Dan McCann inspired Mick Moloney to record the song, and it was also one of Frank Harte's songs.

There are also references on the internet to him as a song composer, under the name of John J Nolan, of such songs as 'Little Mickey Flanagan', 'Donovan's Jubilee', and a version of ' Cead Mile Failte'.

All of this suggests that he was man of considerable talent in a rather poorly documented era of Irish music who deserves some more attention. He seems to have straddled the line between traditional and commercial music and somehow he has been lost to memory.

Matthew Edwards


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Subject: Lyr Add: If You Ever Go Over To Ireland
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 07:27 PM

One of the songs of Shaun O'Nolan which has actually been passed on is If You Ever Go Over To Ireland, about a returned Yankee being tricked out of his money.

Margaret Barry recorded it for Bill Leader in 1955, which was issued on Topic Records. She was also recorded in a live performance at the Bedford Arms in Camden Town, accompanied by Michael Gorman on fiddle, in about 1960 by Ralph Rinzler for Folkways.

If You Ever Go Over To Ireland

If you ever go over to Ireland, now then take a tip from me,
Close your mouth and open your eyes and don't you make so free,
You'll find the colleens over there are not so green at all
For one of them made a fool of me way down in Donegal.

And he took her under his oxter, he was walking down the lane,
She says, "Now don't get funny, or if you do I'll scream."
He gave her a wink, and what do you think, she right away got sore,
And she scratched his nose and tore his clothes in the town of Oranmore.

Oh then he went over to Galway to the town of Oranmore,
And there he met a lassie, a maid [by name Gilmore?],
She says, " Hello there stranger, I never saw you before,
And we don't like tramps or hoboes in the town of Oranmore."

And he took her under his oxter, he was walking down the lane,
She says, "Now don't get funny, or if you do I'll scream."
I gave her a wink, and what do you think, she right away got sore,
And she scratched me nose and tore me clothes in the town of Oranmore.

Oh he then went over to Dublin to that city of great fame,
Walking down O'Connell Street he met a homely dame,
She says, "Hello there Yankee, I never saw you before,
Are you far from home, your dear old home in dear old Dublin town?"

And he took her under his oxter, he was walking down the street,
She says , "I'm awful hungry, now what are we going to eat?"
He took her into Cleary's, the great shop of renown,
And upon me soul, she swiped his nose* in dear old Dublin town.

*'she swiped his nose' - sometimes sung as 'she stole me (bank)roll'

There is also a performance of the song on YouTube by Brendan Shine.

Matthew Edwards


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Subject: RE: Shaun O'Nolan, the Wicklow Piper
From: Paul Burke
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 05:33 AM

Great site thank you Matthew. A whole wealth of Irish stuff, before I've even started on the rest.


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Subject: RE: Shaun O'Nolan, the Wicklow Piper
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Dec 12 - 12:29 AM

On the Folkway Records album "Irish Songs in London Pubs", they have another version of "If You Ever Go To Ireland". Here's the text from the album...


IF YOU EVER GO OVER TO IRELAND (THE TOWN OF ORANMORE):
Margaret Barry, Five-string banjO and vocal;
Michael Gorman, fiddle.

If you ever go over to Ireland now then take a tip from me
Close your mouth and open your eyes and don't you make so free
You'll find the colleens over there are not so green at all
For one of them made a fool of me way down in Donegal.

Refrain:
And he took me under his oxter, he was walking down the lane
She says, "Now don't get funny, or if you do I'll scream"
He gives her a wink, and what do you think as she right away got sore
And she scratched his nose and tore his clothes in the town of Oranmore.

Oh, he then went over to Dublin to that city of great fame
And walking down O'Connel Street he met a comely dame
She says, "Hello there, Yankee, I never saw you before
Are you far from home, your dear old home in dear old Dublin town?"

And he took her under his oxter, he was walking down the street
She says, "I'm awful hungry, now what are we going to eat?"
He took her in to Cleary's, that great shop of renown
And upon me soul, she swiped his nose in dear old Dublin town.


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