The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #98210   Message #1942965
Posted By: Malcolm Douglas
20-Jan-07 - 09:58 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Matt Hyland
Subject: RE: Origins: Matt Hyland origins??
Broadsides issued by Armstrong of Liverpool (1820-1824) and Birmingham of Dublin (c.1867) can be seen at  Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, together with another of unknown provenance:

Young Mat Hyland / Mat Hyland / Young Matisland

Robin Morton printed a set from Sandy McConnell of Bellanaleek, Co Fermanagh, in Folksongs Sung in Ulster, 1970, 1-2, and commented that its had "become increasingly popular ... since Tommy McDermott, from Co Fermanagh, sang it in the ballad competition the year he won the All-Ireland championship. In fact it seems to be sung traditionally only in south-west Ulster."

Jim Carroll and Pat MacKenzie got a couple of sets in the 1970s (Jim posts here sometimes; perhaps he will comment too), and a few other examples are listed in the Roud Folk Song Index: number 2880. Evidently Joe Heaney knew it, but I don't know if he ever recorded it.

It does seem to have been a fairly scarce song in tradition (although its rarity in collections doesn't necessarily mean that it was not more widely known in reality), though it became very popular in the Revival for a while. Presumably it originated in the broadside press of the earlyish C19, though I'd imagine that the rather grand tune is older. I'd be interested in anything anybody might have to add on the subject of the tune; I feel as if I ought to recognise it from somewhere else as well, but I can't put a finger on it.