The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #14602   Message #3642745
Posted By: Jim Carroll
17-Jul-14 - 03:13 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Daniel O'Connell and His Steam Engine
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Daniel O'Connell and His Steam Engine
This is our note to the version included in our colltion, due to go up on Clare County Library website shortly.
Jim Carroll

Daniel O'Connell and the Tinker – (Roud 2313) Vincie Boyle
Also known as 'Daniel O'Connell Making Babies by Steam', a reference to the fact that he had eleven children, though only seven survived.   
The supposed deeds of Daniel O'Connell were popular subjects for both songs and stories in the oral tradition, particularly concerning his skill and fairness as a barrister. There are dozens of stories of his supporting the poor or hard-done-by – we recorded several from Travellers, including one from O'Connell's home town of Caherciveen0. A good example of the stories can be found on the album 'Around the Hills of Clare' from reciter Patrick Lynch (son of singer Nonie Lynch), where O'Connell enters into a battle of words with a well-known Dublin street trader. A note to a version of this song, recorded in Canada from Ontario singer O.J. Abbott confirms that his reputation and popularity was also a part of the oral tradition there.
O. J. Abbott's and Antrim singer Joe Holmes's versions are the only two included in the Roud index as having been recorded from source singers.
Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847) was a famous figure in Irish history, but this particular phase of his career seems to have been overlooked by his biographers. A brilliant lawyer, he is best known as the founder of the powerful Catholic Association whose pressure led to the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829. However, O'Connell was the kind of man who inspired legends, and many equally fantastic tales were told about him throughout the Irish villages. He was also the subject of innumerable broadsides: the Henry Bradshaw collection has no less than three dozen mentioning him in their titles, including 'Drink a health to O'Connell,' 'Famed O'Connell the Shamrock shall wear,' 'Land of Shillelagh and Brave O'Connell,' 'New Song on the O'Connell Monument,' 'O'Connell's Welcome to Parliament,' and 'O'Connell and the two Irish Tinkers.' The reference to "Her Majesty" in the last stanza indicates that this ballad must have been composed between 1837 when Queen Victoria came to the British throne and 1847 when O'Connell died—but it is hard to understand why an Irish patriot would have been so anxious to raise men for a British sovereign. Certainly the people of Ireland did give O'Connell their earnings "though needing it bad": out of their poverty they contributed one penny a month to his Catholic Association, which brought in an income of fifty thousand pounds a year. And in the famine period of the 1840's the "children of Ireland" were undoubtedly small and puny."
Traditional Songs and Singers from Ontario.   Edith Fowke (collector and editor) Folklore Associates 1965
Joe Holmes - Here I Am Amongst You - Len Graham, Four Courts Press 2010