The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #152267 Message #4009154
Posted By: Steve Gardham
16-Sep-19 - 04:09 PM
Thread Name: Mrs. McGraw - origins
Subject: RE: Mrs. McGraw - origins
In their day the minstrel songs, stage Irish and bumpkin songs weren't seen as cruel at all. They were primarily 'comic'. The fact that some of them had tragic elements as well was secondary. They were intended to entertain. It is difficult to us in the 21st century to understand that this was entertainment. But put it alongside the thousands that turned up to watch executions and it puts it into context a bit more.
As for its circulation in Ireland, the earliest reference seems to be in O'Lochlainn where he states it was sung by the Volunteers in Dublin 1913-16. It was widely printed in England in the early 19th century but there are no Irish printings in the Irish archives, either at ITMA or at Trinity.