The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #14602   Message #126437
Posted By: Reiver 2
21-Oct-99 - 01:28 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Daniel O'Connell and His Steam Engine
Subject: RE: Daniel O'Connell & His Steam Engine
I have the Johnny McEvoy recording of "Daniel O'Connell" (complete with the laugh!)and, like others, have never really understood the references alluded to in the original post here.

I suspect that it has something to do with O'Connell's putting the Parliamentary Reform effort ahead of that of Repeal of the Union effort that he had earlier championed. He was thought by many to have abandoned the cause of Repeal. In 1834 O'Connell called on Ireland to try a six-year "experiment" to let Repeal remain in abeyance for that time and trust the Whig majority in the English Parliament to see that Irish interests were protected. Because of their high regard for O'Connell the Irish people supported him, and found that it had been a false hope, as several laws were quickly passed that only worsened conditions in the country. Seumas MacManus in "The story of the Irish Race" says, "It was little wonder that in the late 'Thirties the Whig-befooled (O'Connell) found his popularity waning..."

As I say, I SUSPECT the background of the song reflects the events of this period, since it seems to express an anti-O'Connell sentiment that is somewhat surprising considering his great popularity at that time. I'm not sure about this, however, and it certainly doesn't explain the references to making children by steam engine, etc. If anyone can throw light on the meaning behing the song (a fine song, by the way), I hope they'll do so! (The words as given by Wolfgang are pretty much what I have.)