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GUEST,Com Seangan Lyr Req: The Connerys (Frank Harte) (34) Lyr Add: NA CONAIRIGH 01 Jan 05

The Irish version I was thinking of with "Both a'Dúin na gcraobh" has in fact already been given courtesy of Phillipa. Thanks so much. In case it may have escaped people, I put it down again below. It is worth it !!

But really the more popular sung version is really strong and venomous stuff and send shivers down my spine when I used hear Nioclas Tóibin and Labhrás Draper and the older crowd sing it (and I'm no sissy!) "I pray hardship on you Cummins and the hatred of the Son of God". I know no stronger in any song. The more "gentle" rendering of the opening lines by some of the modern female singers does not get across the bitterness and malice contained in the bitter words of the opening verse.

I agree with Philippa (or was it Felipa ?) that two brothers only are mentioned in the official records which names them as John and Pat Connery. It is on record that they escaped from Waterford jail (Ballybricken I presume) and were recaptured. Reference is made to the jail escape in the poem below (but no mention of the murder !) The brothers were convicted of murdering the bailiff and in hindsight they got off lightly enough for the times that were in it. Both versions make them out as heroes and the only villian is the informer.

However, to really understand the sentiments of the song - it should be remembered that the greatest crime against humanity in the Irish psyche was to INFORM on a fellow Irishman (even greater than murder, it would seem). With repect to Martin Ryan (and I readily acknowledge his many fine and authoritative contributions)the English version of the informer's name is more likely to be Cummins (called Coimín in the Déise)as the surname is still quite common locally. Both versions have the informer comitting perjury.

There is an Autralian Pat Connole, who has written a film script on the Connerys episode and contends that the convicts later became model and law abiding citizens in New South Wales and did quite well for themselves at sheep farming. One thing is sure, however, their name is immortalised as long as Irish lasts in Co. Waterford.

(Here below is the version I have been looking for and kindly given by Phillipa)


Na Conairigh na sárfhír is iad atáim a dh'áireamh,
a cuireadh uainn thar sáile sna régiúin i gcéin;
is danaid dúinne uainn iad san áit ná faighidh siad fuascailt,
is sinn anso faoi bhuaireamh i mBoth a' Dúin na gcraobh.

'S é a dtigh a bhíodh go buacach, go fáidhiúil fáiltiúil fuarmach,
gealchupordach, mo bhuaireamh, faoi mhuarchuid bhfeoil;
lucht taistil cnoc is sleibhte agus straigiléirí aonair,
bheadh a leaba agus a mbéile agus féile ina gcomhair.

Chuadar go Port Láirge a d'iarraidh dul thar sáile,
sin ní ná raibh i ndán dóibh 's níor ránaigh se dhóibh,
mar bhí feaar a mbraite i láthair thug timpeall orthu an garda,
is isteach arís a sáthadh iad in áras faoi bhrón.

Tugadh iad súd laithreach go príosún mór Phort Láirge,
an t-áras daingean láidir úd, gan fáil ar dhul 'na ghaobhar,
ach thugadar a sála dos na fallaí móra arda,
is an tSiúir amach gur shnámhnadar gan spleáchas don séighléir.

Mo mhallacht ort is léir ort, a rascail bhradaigh bhréagaigh!
bara fada an la go n-éagar gan bhaochas Mhic Dé!
is tú ghlac an bhreab go héasca gan bhaochas Mhic Dé!
is tú ghlac an bhreab go héasca is a dhearbhaigh an t-éitheach
a chuir na Conairigh thar tréanmhuir ó Bhoth an Dúin na gcraobh.

sources: Béal 84, 241-2 (=Béalóideas 6 (1936), 181-2)
P.O. Ó Milléadha describes folklore about the Connery brothers in "Seanchas Sliabh gCua" in Béalóideas 6 (1936), 182-4

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