What a treat, thank you for your time. I was hoping that circumstances would have enabled me to attend the Comhaltas convention in Ottawa this past weekend. My hopes were that on my way either up or down I would have had the opportunity to meet with you to perhaps collect some songs as well as your insight. This endeavor is one of great personal interest as it seems I have been called back to music after thirty years or so and also to my ancestral roots. A long story to be sure, one that started with an unsettling medical happenstance along my path.
As I have never attempted anything like this research in my life I am in somewhat of a learn as you go mode. I sure wish I had paid more attention to things like this whilst in school. I will order your CD, thank you. I will also look for the fiddle tune you mention.
I am glad to hear that you share my hopes, and it seems Brían's as well, that songs of the building of canals may have indeed been composed. I would love to find songs that relate the story of specific events. I did find a reference to a military intervention against a collective navvy action in New Brunswick, NJ that left at least one Irishman dead. The D & R Canal is a place near and dear to me as I spent hours hiking, fishing, and swimming on/in it as a youngster. Unfortunately, as related to me, the newspaper account was cursory at best. Hardly enough of the story's background, at this time anyway, to compose a song with out taking a great deal of license, which is not something I wish to do.
I do have "Paddy on the Canal" from Bill Hullfish's CD and related songbook. Mick Moloney also makes reference to the song in his book of emigrant songs. It is going into the repertoire.
Perhaps one day yourself, Brían, and I can share a pint or two over some songs, stories, and tunes. Thank you again for your input.