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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Chris Amos DTStudy Donnybrook Fair / Widdecombe Fair (23) DTStudy Donnybrook Fair 04 Jun 02


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DONNYBROOK FAIR

The first time I went to Donnybrook fair,
I met an old pal that I knew there,
The old pal's name was Ben,
And his old woman's name it was Old Mother Bendigo,
Hotten ti hottenti addi io addi
O come and lie close to me now.

The next time I went to Donnybrook fair,
I met an old pal that I knew there,
The old pal's name was Shake,
And his old woman's name it was Old Mother Shake-a-leg,
Hotten ti hottenti addi io addi
O come and lie close to me now.

The next time I went to Donnybrook fair,
I met an old pal that I knew there
The old pal's name was Nuts,
And his old woman's name it was Old Mother Funny Nuts,
Hotten ti hottenti addi io addi
O come and lie close to me now.

The last time I went to Donnybrook fair,
I met an old pal that I knew there
The old pal's name was Sticks,
And his old woman's name it was Old Mother Fiddlesticks,
Hotten ti hottenti addi io addi
O come and lie close to me now.


From Bushes and Briars, Occomore and Spratley
Collected from William Sparkes
filename[ DONNYBRK
Tune file : DONNYBRK

CLICK TO PLAY
RG
apr97




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Traditional Ballad Index: no entries found.


This song was collected in Essex, although I don't know the year. The Fair it refers to took place outside Dublin and was finally disbanded in 1855.

One could speculate that the song was brought to Essex by one of the many itinerant Irish labourers who came over to the eastern counties of England to help with the harvest in the 19th century. Clive Woolf, who was assistant librarian at Cecil Sharp House some years ago believed that these people also helped to form the lyrical singing style in these counties that can be heard in the recordings made by collectors such as Grainger.

There are a number of other Irish songs that have found their way into the English tradition, The pride of Kildare, Polly on the Shore etc.

Does anyone have any more information about the singer, William Sparkes, I can find nothing on the net.

The history of the fair can be found here

A list of historic fairs Click here

A bad painting of the fair Click here

A bad rendition of the song Click here


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