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Where is Spancil Hill?

DigiTrad:
SPANCIL HILL


Related threads:
Where is Spancil Hill (continued)? (45)
New Spancil Hill (19)
(DTStudy) DTStudy: Spancil Hill (59)
Spansel Hill (14)
Spancil Hill (14)
Tune Add: Spancil Hill (4)
Lyr Add: Filkin' around Spancil Hill (1)
Spancil Hill (4) (closed)
No more Spancil Hill? (14)
Spancil Hill Horse Fair Postponed - 2001 (4)
DT & original Spancil Hill (5)


Alice 24 Apr 98 - 11:49 AM
BAZ 24 Apr 98 - 04:19 PM
Frank in the swamps 24 Apr 98 - 05:12 PM
erica 24 Apr 98 - 05:39 PM
Alice 24 Apr 98 - 05:48 PM
Alice 24 Apr 98 - 05:53 PM
Martin Ryan. 24 Apr 98 - 07:10 PM
Dave Brennan 24 Apr 98 - 07:13 PM
Frank McGrath 24 Apr 98 - 08:46 PM
Big Mick 24 Apr 98 - 09:30 PM
Alice 24 Apr 98 - 09:48 PM
Jes 26 Apr 98 - 10:34 AM
Alice 26 Apr 98 - 11:45 AM
27 Apr 98 - 09:08 AM
Martin Ryan 27 Apr 98 - 11:35 AM
dick greenhaus 27 Apr 98 - 01:27 PM
Alice 27 Apr 98 - 03:35 PM
Barbara Shaw 27 Apr 98 - 04:38 PM
McGrath 27 Apr 98 - 05:32 PM
McGrath 28 Apr 98 - 10:17 AM
Alice 28 Apr 98 - 12:06 PM
Martin Ryan 28 Apr 98 - 12:32 PM
erica 28 Apr 98 - 02:55 PM
Big Mick 28 Apr 98 - 10:30 PM
29 Apr 98 - 11:08 AM
McGrath 29 Apr 98 - 11:58 AM
Martin Ryan. 30 Apr 98 - 04:25 PM
Alice 30 Apr 98 - 08:51 PM
McGrath 01 May 98 - 09:23 AM
Antaine 01 May 98 - 11:22 PM
Antaine 01 May 98 - 11:27 PM
Alice 02 May 98 - 12:48 AM
Don of Poteen 02 May 98 - 08:51 AM
Martin Ryan 02 May 98 - 06:34 PM
McGrath 04 May 98 - 10:47 AM
McGrath 04 May 98 - 10:53 AM
McGrath 05 May 98 - 04:57 PM
Alice 05 May 98 - 05:05 PM
Antaine 05 May 98 - 05:48 PM
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Art Thieme 06 May 98 - 02:03 AM
Antaine 10 May 98 - 09:51 PM
Antaine 2nd try at address 10 May 98 - 09:57 PM
McGrath 11 May 98 - 03:26 AM
Big Mick 12 May 98 - 12:02 AM
Big Mick 12 May 98 - 01:25 AM
Big Mick 12 May 98 - 01:42 AM
Alice 15 Jun 98 - 03:28 PM
Brack& 31 Jul 98 - 09:09 AM
Martin Ryan. 31 Jul 98 - 10:25 AM
Bo 31 Jul 98 - 03:37 PM
Martin Ryan. 31 Jul 98 - 04:38 PM
BSeed 31 Jul 98 - 10:18 PM
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Alice 22 Oct 98 - 07:18 PM
Bobby Bob, Ellan Vannin 22 Oct 98 - 08:06 PM
Liam's Brother 23 Oct 98 - 12:02 AM
Big Mick 24 Oct 98 - 02:13 PM
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Big Mick 25 Oct 98 - 03:19 PM
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Alice 02 Dec 98 - 02:23 PM
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alison 04 Dec 98 - 08:43 AM
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Subject: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Alice
Date: 24 Apr 98 - 11:49 AM

I have asked this question of Irish websites with no reply. Since those of you here who are Irish were so quick with geography information on the Boulavogue thread, I hope you can tell me where Spancil Hill is located (if it is a real place in Ireland). The song is a real crowd pleaser here, since so many can relate their grandparents experience to it. It's especially appropriate if I end it with 'I woke in Butte, Montana' instead of 'California'.

Thanks.

alice


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: BAZ
Date: 24 Apr 98 - 04:19 PM

Alice
A great song. According to our song book on the road between Ennis and Tulla where a fair is held each year at the end of July, you can find the Cross of Spancil Hill.
It's funny you should mention that you have changed the end to fit your location as we have ahanged Eric Bogle's Shelter to Black and Gold the Cornish colours from Green and Gold.
Regards Baz.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Frank in the swamps
Date: 24 Apr 98 - 05:12 PM

Isn't a Spancel (Spell?) a particularly horrible piece of witchcraft in which a strip of skin is cut from a human body all around the person? That is, around the fingers, up the arms over head down to feet, toes, around crotch and etc.etc. You come up with an outline which can be worn or thrown around someone or something or other. I think it's supposed to give you power over the person surrounded by it, I'm not sure.

Frank in the eerie, eerie, swamps.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: erica
Date: 24 Apr 98 - 05:39 PM

frank o'the swampland--that's a little bit creepy... seeing as i'm already kinda scared of the dark, maybe i'll have to start watching out for things lurking in the cafe as well!! i think i'll stick to singing the song! cheers.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Alice
Date: 24 Apr 98 - 05:48 PM

ugh!, Frank, how grotesque. Do you need a cup of cocoa and a nap? I'm having nightmares already from the image.
alice


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Alice
Date: 24 Apr 98 - 05:53 PM

Thanks, BAZ. I have a rather detailed roadmap of Ireland, and found Ennis and Tulla, with two places marked between them. Near Ennis is Fair Green (would that be where Spancil Hill is located?) and closer to Tulla is Moymore.

alice


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Martin Ryan.
Date: 24 Apr 98 - 07:10 PM

The full name, oddly enough, is "The Cross of Spancil Hill". The general description of the location in the thread is correct. Nowadays there's little there but a crossroads and some ruined buildings but it was once the site of a famous horse-fair. A man called Robbie McMahon sings the "real" version of the song and can identify most of the people - never mind the places!

A good, geographically neutral ending is "And I woke to factory whistles...."!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Dave Brennan
Date: 24 Apr 98 - 07:13 PM

It's a horse fair and has some great music at it too. I would sometimes go to a dance there and a ceili band would be playing. If we were lucky we'd make the last pint at Mullach. It's name comes from the time of the Spanish Armada, when ships from it were wrecked on the beaches around that area. I know, too much info.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Frank McGrath
Date: 24 Apr 98 - 08:46 PM

Yes, Spancil Hill is a very real place and the "Parish Church of Clooney" is only about a mile from Spancil Hill.

Robbie McMahon did a workshop in Ennis some weeks back on the song "Spancil Hill". The highlight was Robbie singing the original and full version of the song accompanied by a dozen or more of his students, all of whom were word and note perfect to Robbies version.

Unfortunately I did not witness this myself because I would have treasured the memory of the scene in years to come. However, for anyone interested in the full "Robbie" version of Spancil Hill I shall ask him to provide a copy which I will post on this thread in the future, unless someone beats me to it. Also, Robbie has a tape of his songs which I don't have yet. I'll inquire about copies for anyone interested. He has written many brilliant songs and he sings the best "Bard of Armagh" I have ever heard.

Dave,
I'm new to the singing scene and so I don't know you...yet... but I shall be delighted to pass your regards onto Frank Harte.

Best Regards Frank McGrath


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Big Mick
Date: 24 Apr 98 - 09:30 PM

Frank,

I perform Spancil Hill and it is one of my audiences favorite songs. I am anxious for you to post the "real" lyrics.

All the best, Mick


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Alice
Date: 24 Apr 98 - 09:48 PM

Martin, Dave, and Frank,
The Mudcat never ceases to amaze me... I just love all the details you have provided. I really like the song, and any more information anyone can provide is welcome... especially the full lyrics. (Who was Tailor Quigley??) I first learned it with the line ...the young the old, the brave and the bold, their duties to fulfill, at the Parish Church of Clooney, near the Cross at Spancil Hill. Since then I have seen other versions not mentioning the church, but I prefer the one including it.

I find all your comments about the song very interesting. Let us know how we can get Robbie's tape. Thank you.

alice, in montana


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Jes
Date: 26 Apr 98 - 10:34 AM

I grew up in West Clare about 30 miles from Spancil Hill. I can't help wondering if the Spancil mentioned relates to the practice of spancilling which was to use a short rope to tie an animals left fore-leg to its right hind leg , thereby hobbling the animal and stopping it from wandering too far


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Alice
Date: 26 Apr 98 - 11:45 AM

Martin and Frank,
I'm curious about the people in the song. As you noted, Martin, Robbie McMahon can identiy the characters in the lyrics. (Not to imply Tailor was his name, I meant to write, who was the tailor, Quigley.) Also, I have seen versions of lyrics with different names of his sweetheart. Meg, the farmer's daughter, Peg, the farmer's daughter... If Robbie knows the original lyrics, does that mean that the name of the song's creator is known?

Anxiously awaiting the "real" lyrics.....

alice


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From:
Date: 27 Apr 98 - 09:08 AM

Spancill Hill is a lovely song you are right about that! But isn't it a trad.? I mean who can tell wich is the "real" Lyric. I beliave it up to the performer to decide. Also 1000 thanx for the geografical lessons.

Johnny


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 27 Apr 98 - 11:35 AM

Johnny

It's "trad" in as much as its already evolved slightly via the folk process. But it's not trad in that it is known who wrote it, it wasn't very long ago ..... and it hasn't changed significantly!

Not looking to start a row, just trying to be helpful! Honest!


Regards


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 27 Apr 98 - 01:27 PM

We got it from Christy Moore; if anyone has different, or more lyrics, please post 'em


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Subject: Lyr Add: SPANCIL HILL
From: Alice
Date: 27 Apr 98 - 03:35 PM

Dick, here is more or less the version I know compared to the one you have in the database. As mentioned above, I changed the end from 'California' to 'Butte, Montana".

SPANCIL HILL

Last night as I lay dreamin' of pleasant days gone by
My mind being bent on ramblin' to Ireland I did fly
I stepped aboard a vision and followed with my will
Until I came to anchor at the cross of Spancil Hill

It bein' the 23rd June the day before the fair
When Ireland's sons and daughters in crowds assembled there
The young, the old, the brave and the bold their duties to fulfill
At the Parish Church of Clooney near the Cross of Spancil Hill.

I went to see my neighbors to hear what they might say
The old ones were all dead and gone, the young ones turning grey
I met with the tailor Quigley, he's bold as ever still
He used to make my britches when I lived on Spancil Hill

I paid a flying visit to my first and only love
She's fair as any lily as gentle as a dove
She threw her arms around me saying "Johnny I love you still
She's Meg, the farmer's daughter, the pride of Spancil Hill.

I dreamt I knelt and kissed her as oft in days of yore
She said, "Johnny you're only teasing as many a time before"
Then the cock it crew in the morning it crew both loud and shrill
And I woke in Butte, Montana, many miles from Spancil Hill.

Still eagerly awaiting the original lyrics...

Alice in Montana


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 27 Apr 98 - 04:38 PM

There's an Irish band named Spancil Hill from Massachusetts with Sean and Des Burke (friends of ours), both of whom I believe were born in Spancil Hill. As soon as I hear from Sean I will pass along any additional information.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: McGrath
Date: 27 Apr 98 - 05:32 PM

How are ye lads?

It's great to see so much interest in Spancihill.

As Martin pointed out, it's a relatively new song. And he's right again! There is no need for argument. It's a mighty song and that's why it's sung often and has adopted by many and adapted here and there along the way. And shure who gives a tinkers flying spit as long as we all enjoy ourselves and harm nobody.

God! I write so much unneccessary s*#% at times!

I'll have the "full" Spancilhill lyrics by post from Robbie in a couple of days and will add them to this thread upon receipt. (It's a lot longer than the pop version(s) )

Robbie has given me permission to put his address and phone details here for anyone who wants to contact him directly. (But please be mindful of the time differences and don't phone him at unsocial hours.) He has his own cassette tape (no CD yet) which he sells for £5 (1 Irish Pound = US$ 1.38 approx.) plus postage.

Robbie McMahon
Greenview
Spancilhill
Ennis
Co. Clare

Ph: 065 29874
Ph: 011 353 65 29874 (from the USA)

I promise just to write the words of the song and cut out all the crap in future.

Frank McGrath


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: McGrath
Date: 28 Apr 98 - 10:17 AM

Robbie McMahon promised to start writing out his history and stories relating to the song "Spancilhill" but here is a little sample just to keep the thread current. The song I will have in two days and the full history in another a week or two.

The author of "Spancillhill", Michael Considine, was born around 1850 and emigrated to the USA from Spancillhill around 1870. Working in Boston for about two years, he went to the USA with the intention of bringing his sweetheart over and for them to be married when he had made enough money for the passage. "Johnny you're only jokin'...." a line from the current version, in the original, of course, reads... "Mike you're only jokin' " His sweetheart was "Matt the Rangers Daughter" and not Matt the Farmers daughter as in the popularised version. The Rangers house was visible from Michael Considine's house as was the Taylor Quigley's.

He stayed in Boston for two years or so before moving to California. He suffered from ill health for a long time and, knowing he hadn't long to live, he wrote the poem "Spancilhill" to send home in rememberence of his love and it was kept safe by his 6 year old nephew, John Considine.

Michael Considine died sometime in 1873. And it seems he go home somehow (I don't know yet whether it was dead or alive) as he is buried in Spancilhill garveyard, close to where Robbie has a little plot chosen. Robbie reckons there will be a mighty session in Heaven and Spancilhill when that day comes around (hopefully a long time from now).

In the late 1930's or early 40's, Robbie was in a neighbours house with some friends singing when someone suggested singing "Spancillhill". The woman of the house, Moira Keane, left the room and when she came back said, "If ye are going to sing that song ye might as well sing it right" and she gave Robbie the original song.

Some time later at another session in the parish Robbie was asked to sing "Spancilhill" when a gruff voice in the corner growled out "Don't sing that song". When asked "why not?" the voice barked back " 'Cos ye don't know it."

Robbie, however insisted he did and launched into the version he'd gotton from Moira Keane. After singing a few lines Robbie noticed the gruff man sitting up and paying attention. As Robbie progressed with the song the gruff man foostered more and more with his cap and became agitated. When the song ended, the gruff voice in the corner demanded "Where did ya get that song?". The gruff old man seemed both perturbed and pleased.

Robbie explained the source. Moira Keane was the gruff man's aunt and the gruff man was 76 year old John Considine, who had kept his uncle Mike's song safe for 70 years.

More in a couple of days.

'Till then, Slán.

Frank McGrath
Nenagh Singers Circle


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Alice
Date: 28 Apr 98 - 12:06 PM

Frank, Thank you so much!! When I asked this question, I had no idea there would be such a wonderful history still known of its origin. What a sweet story. Thanks again, Frank, and thank Robbie for me.

Alice, in Montana


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 28 Apr 98 - 12:32 PM

Good man, Frank!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: erica
Date: 28 Apr 98 - 02:55 PM

wow, frank, i know that everyone's already said this, but THANK YOU!! that was wonderful! aie, brilliant--and certainly, thanks to robbie, too!


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Big Mick
Date: 28 Apr 98 - 10:30 PM

Frank, I consider myself to be far above average in my knowledge of things Irish, most especially the music. It has been an integral part of my life for 40 years. But I must bow to the Master. I never knew the story behind Spancil Hill. I will be incorporating it into my performances. I am one of those annoyingly Irish performers who figures that if you are going to hear the music, you are going to learn something about this fabulous culture of ours. You have added to my knowledge and I thank you, sir. Please share more when you get the time. And by the way, when I sing the song I usually say "Mick, You're only foolin...." or "Mike, you're only foolin...." so that fits with the story.

Sla/n go foill,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From:
Date: 29 Apr 98 - 11:08 AM

Hey, Are you the Frank McGrath that sings his messages onto my answering machine??.....From Nenagh?

...Come all ye Naynah singers and listen to my song.....

From the boy that sent you the list of clubs.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: McGrath
Date: 29 Apr 98 - 11:58 AM

The brazen pup who posted the last message is none other than the great Antaine O'Faracháin. And yes, I am the eejit who gets to leave singing messages on your sean nós answering machine.

Alice from Montana needs to speak to you about sean nós so keep an eye on the Mudcat Cafe 'cos she might be leaving you a message. I lied like a divil and told her that you are the great god of sean nós in Ireland. But shure you're only a frustated jackeen who really wants to be a culchie.

Antaine is the one who did all the research for the singing clubs list on the Nenagh Singers Circle web site and he'll be cribbin' now because we gave him no credit for it on that page.

Seriously though Antaine, keep an eye on these pages because your expertise will be called for frequently. Lots of interest in Irish songs, even those old nose songs like you sing.

Nice to hear from you again.

Frank McGrath
Naynaa Squwakers Ring


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Martin Ryan.
Date: 30 Apr 98 - 04:25 PM

Is nowhere safe? Ladies - lock up your fridges, never mind your daughters!

Welcome aboard, Antaine
Regards


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Alice
Date: 30 Apr 98 - 08:51 PM

Sign up with a free membership, Antaine, so we can bother you with questions.

Alice in Montana


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: McGrath
Date: 01 May 98 - 09:23 AM

Sorry folks. No post today from Robbie. Hopefully I'll have the song by Tuesday 5th.

Regards,

Frank McGrath


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Antaine
Date: 01 May 98 - 11:22 PM

Mmmm what's all this about locking up your fridges?? And yes, there is nowhere safe!!!


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Antaine
Date: 01 May 98 - 11:27 PM

By the way there's a spancil mentioned in the following song : Na Ceannabháin Bhána

Goirim fhéin, goirim fhéin, goirim fhéin, Goirim fhéin Micil ?s Máire, Goirim fhéin, goirim fhéin, goirim fhéin, Siúd iad na Ceannabháin Bhána. (x2)

Cuirfidh mé, cuirfidh mé, cuirfidh mé, Cuirfidh mé suas chuig Sadhbh Sheáin thú, Cuirfidh mé, cuirfidh mé, cuirfidh mé, ?S cuirfidh sí buairthín sa ngleann ort. (x2)

buairthín = spancil

c.f. Peadar Ó Ceannabháin's C.D. "Mo chuid den tSaol" Cló Iar-Chonnachta CICD131 cic@iol.ie (He has a web page, translation incl. etc. etc.)

Highly recommended.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Alice
Date: 02 May 98 - 12:48 AM

So what exactly does the word spancil mean? Hopefully it isn't what Frank suggested earlier.

alice


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Don of Poteen
Date: 02 May 98 - 08:51 AM

Alice, I can see from your time of post, you 're as hopelessly hooked in here as the rest of us. Great thread, and remarks. The Mudcat never ceases to amaze me!

Don of Poteen.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 02 May 98 - 06:34 PM

Alice

Jes is right on what "spancil" means in Ireland. For that matter - "jesses" is not a million miles from the same meaning!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: McGrath
Date: 04 May 98 - 10:47 AM

Good Man Antaine! Here is my lowdown on - The Spancil

In North Tipperary and most other places in the country a "spancil" is used on cattle and livestock to hinder their movement.

It can be as simple as a short piece of rope or a custom made from timber with leather straps. Normally, a spancil is attached above the knees of the hind legs to restrict but not disable the animal. If you are being kicked by a particular cow regularly at milking time you will "spancil it" as soon as it is brought into the milking parlour. The spancil is then removed when milking is finished.

"Frank in the swamps" is probably quite correct with his explaination but thankfully I have nither witnessed nor heard of such practices in our locality. Mind you, if me missus (my wife) thought it might work I could wake up some morning soon both sore and powerless. (I can think of more pleasant ways of getting me into the same condition).

Frank McGrath


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: McGrath
Date: 04 May 98 - 10:53 AM

To fill in the time until I get Spancilhill from Robbie, here are a couple of tips for formatting text on the threads or even emails.

They are just a couple of simple HTML commands.

----------------------------------------

"Line BReak" Command
<BR>

This skips you to a new line ..........handy for song lyric formatting. - e.g.

Goirim fhéin,<BR>goirim fhéin,<BR>goirim fhéin,<BR>Goirim fhéin Micil ’s Máire,<BR>Goirim fhéin,<BR>goirim fhéin,<BR>goirim fhéin,<BR>Siúd iad naCeannabháin Bhána.

Will look like this when posted to the thread;

Goirim fhéin,
goirim fhéin,
goirim fhéin,
Goirim fhéin Micil ’s Máire,
Goirim fhéin,
goirim fhéin,
goirim fhéin,
Siúd iad naCeannabháin Bhána.

----------------------------------------

"New Paragraph" Command
<P>

This skips you to a new line and leaves a space. - e.g.

Na Ceannabháin Bhána<P> Goirim fhéin,<BR>goirim fhéin,<BR>goirim fhéin,<BR>Goirim fhéin Micil ’s Máire

Will look like this when posted to the thread;

Na Ceannabháin Bhána

Goirim fhéin, goirim fhéin,
goirim fhéin,
Goirim fhéin Micil ’s Máire

----------------------------------------

"Bold" Command
<B>...text...</B>

Not to be confused with ..."Get your knickers off!" ; it gives you bold text for headings. - e.g.

<B>Na Ceannabháin Bhána</B><P>Goirim fhéin,<BR>goirim fhéin,<BR>goirim fhéin,<BR>Goirim fhéin Micil 's Máire

Will look like this when posted to the thread;

Na Ceannabháin Bhána

Goirim fhéin, goirim fhéin,
goirim fhéin,
Goirim fhéin Micil 's Máire

----------------------------------------

"Italic" Command
<I>...text...</I>

Same as Bold but gives Italics. Useful for notes etc. - e.g.

<I>buairthín = spancil</I>

Will look like this when posted to the thread;

buairthín = spancil

----------------------------------------

Lower case or capitals will work fine;

<p> or <P>, <br> or <BR>, <b>...txt...</b> or <B>...txt...</B>, etc.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: McGrath
Date: 05 May 98 - 04:57 PM

This is the original version of "Spancilhill".

All the characters and places in this song are real. It is a song written by a 23 year old man in the full knownedge that he was mortally ill. He knew he would die far from home and far from his loved one whom he would never see again.

Many thanks to Robbie McMahon, Spancilhill, Co. Clare for keeping the song and it's stories alive and for sharing them with us.

Spancilhill

Last night as I lay dreaming, of the pleasant days gone by,
My mind being bent on rambling and to Erin's Isle I did fly.
I stepped on board a vision and sailed out with a will,
'Till I gladly came to anchor at the Cross of Spancilhill.

Enchanted by the novelty, delighted with the scenes,
Where in my early childhood, I often times have been.
I thought I heard a murmur, I think I hear it still,
'Tis that little stream of water at the Cross of Spancilhill.

And to amuse my fancy, I lay upon the ground,
Where all my school companions, in crowds assembled 'round.
Some have grown to manhood, while more their graves did fill,
Oh I thought we were all young again, at the Cross of Spancilhill.

It being on a Sabbath morning, I thought I heard a bell,
O'er hills and vallies sounded, in notes that seemed to tell,
That Father Dan was coming, his duty to fulfill,
At the parish church of Clooney, just one mile from Spancilhill.

And when our duty did commence, we all knelt down in prayer,
In hopes for to be ready, to climb the Golden Stair.
And when back home returning, we danced with right good will,
To Martin Moylan's music, at the Cross of Spancilhill.

It being on the twenty third of June, the day before the fair,
Sure Erin's sons and daughters, they all assembled there.
The young, the old, the stout and the bold, they came to sport and kill,
What a curious combination, at the Fair of Spancilhill.

I went into my old home, as every stone can tell,
The old boreen was just the same, and the apple tree over the well,
I miss my sister Ellen, my brothers Pat and Bill,
Sure I only met my strange faces at my home in Spancilhill.

I called to see my neighbors, to hear what they might say,
The old were getting feeble, and the young ones turning grey.
I met with tailor Quigley, he's as brave as ever still,
Sure he always made my breeches when I lived in Spancilhill.

I paid a flying visit, to my first and only love,
She's as pure as any lilly, and as gentle as a dove.
She threw her arms around me, saying Mike I love you still,
She is Mack the Rangers daughter, the Pride of Spancilhill.

I thought I stooped to kiss her, as I did in days of yore,
Says she Mike you're only joking, as you often were before,
The cock crew on the roost again, he crew both loud and shrill,
And I awoke in California, far far from Spancilhill.

But when my vision faded, the tears came in my eyes,
In hope to see that dear old spot, some day before I die.
May the Joyous King of Angels, His Choicest Blessings spill,
On that Glorious spot of Nature, the Cross of Spancilhill.

Michael Considine... born circa 1859 and died circa 1873


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Alice
Date: 05 May 98 - 05:05 PM

Thank you, Frank. Yes, it brings tears.

alice


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Antaine
Date: 05 May 98 - 05:48 PM

Frank, Thank you for the original version of Spancilhill. See you at the Fleádh in Ennis? Old Ground at 2.30pm Saturday 23/5/98? After all it's not that far from Spancilhill itself. Nár laga Dia thú! Antaine


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 05 May 98 - 06:57 PM

To paraphrase another thread, this is why I LEVITATE to Mudcat. Truly remarkable, inspirational!

Many thanks John


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 06 May 98 - 02:03 AM

Simply fantastic! Have not had words transport me like those found herein in a very long while---possibly not since first encountering Thomas Wolfe! Heartfelt thanks to you all!!

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Antaine
Date: 10 May 98 - 09:51 PM

Re my message 1/5/98

Peadar Ó Ceannabháin's Web page is at http://www.grafxsource.com/MCS/cuid_den_tsaol.html

Hope I got that right!!


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Antaine 2nd try at address
Date: 10 May 98 - 09:57 PM

Forgot some Capital letters. Here it is again: http://www.grafxsource.com?MCS/Cuid_den_tSaol.html

Now, I'm definitely off to sleep this time!! Oíche mhaith agaibh.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: McGrath
Date: 11 May 98 - 03:26 AM

http://www.GrafxSource.com/MCS/Cuid_den_tSaol.html
Antaine, you were shiftin' when you should have been slashin'

Frank McGrath
Nenagh Singers Circle


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Big Mick
Date: 12 May 98 - 12:02 AM

Hi Frank,

I never cease to be amazed at what we find on Mudcat. Please add my thanks to the list that you pass on to Robbie. And my thanks to you for sharing this with us. You have added a new piece to my repertoire, but more importantly you have added another level of appreciation that I have for my immigrant grandparents and the price they paid to "give my the gift of this country". All my performances are dedicated to them, and I am sure they would approve of this one. Take care and thanks again


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Big Mick
Date: 12 May 98 - 01:25 AM

Since this is such an august body of knowledge, I wonder if you all could help me with a couple of sets of lyrics/chords that I have been looking for? Forgive spelling errors on the first one, but it seems it was called "Grainne Mhaol". The second is "The Jackets Green". It seems as though I heard them on a Wolfe Tones album, but I can't seem to lay my hands on them. All assistance is greatly appreciated.

Mick in Michigan


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Big Mick
Date: 12 May 98 - 01:42 AM

By the way, have any of you ever heard of Beaver Island, Michigan? It is a great story. It is the northernmost inhabited island in the Great Lakes. It is located about 35 miles out in Lake Michigan northwest of Charlevoix. It was settled by Irish immigrants from the Arran Islands. It seems it reminded them of home. They established the town of St. James, complete with a Catholic Church and were quite happy until a Mormon leader by the name of James Jesse Strang decided that he needed a place to call home for himself and his followers. So he came to the Island and promptly declared it a Kingdom with himself as King. The lads abandoned the Island and changed their base of operations to the mainland. It seems that King James (The only King in American History) pissed off a few of his followers and they assassinated him. The lads heard the news and promptly went back to the island and threw the interlopers out and reclaimed their turf. That was in the mid to late 1800's and the island has been Irish ever since. The music of the island is clearly Irish, but it has developed a style of its own which has many influences from Great Lakes sea shanties to the music of the lumber camps. It is really a kick when you take the ferry to the Island to see one "Old Glory" and about 10 Irish Tri-Colors. It has such a great history and ambience that Dermott Gallagher, before leaving the States to go home from his Ambassadorship, brought his family to the Island for a two week visit. It is quite interesting to hear how some of the old Irish music has evolved separately on the island. There are several musicians there who have recorded the music of the island. My band has performed there and the hospitality is Irish through and through.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Alice
Date: 15 Jun 98 - 03:28 PM

Bringing this wonderful story and the lyrics up to the top again....
alice


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Brack&
Date: 31 Jul 98 - 09:09 AM

Just some more info on Spancil Hill taken from a book by Sonny Enright called The Rambler From Clare.

It was originally called Cnoc Fuar Choile (the hill of the cold wood) and was somehow anglicised to Spancil Hill.

Michael Considine (the author) emigrated to The States following his brother John and his sister Mary. John died shortly after his arrival and Mary was joined later by her fiancee Patrick Clune, from the Clooney area. They married and he became a noted legal practitioner. Another brother, William(jnr) died before Michael emigrated. His other brother Pat, died leaving a his widow to look after her father-in-law William and a five month old son called John. It was John who received the poem, in the form of a letter, from his uncle Michael.

Mack the Rangers daughter was his childhood sweetheart Mary MacNamara. They planned to marry but Michael died before saving enough money to enable them to do so. Mary "Mack" remained faithful to his memory and never married. According to this source he was buried in California.

Spancil Hill fair always took place on the 23rd of June. In the song he arrived on the 23rd the daybefore the fair but in an earlier verse had said that it was also on a Sabbath morning. Observance of the Sabbath would take precedence over the fair which would've started a day late, the 24th.

There is another song called Spancil Hill, does anyone know what the air is? The first verse is as follows

I have travelled the fairs of Ireland
From Ballinasloe to Ballinakill
But my favourite one of all
Is the fair of Spancil Hill

Regards Mick Bracken

I once told Dermot O'Brien that he sang the wrong words and he wasn't too impressed!!


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Martin Ryan.
Date: 31 Jul 98 - 10:25 AM

I was talking to Robbie McMahon at the weekend - he was delighted to hear of the spread of the story.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Bo
Date: 31 Jul 98 - 03:37 PM

Hey, Martin

Great big thank yous are in order.

If you send an address to dedy@ionline.net I'd be happy to send a thank you post card from Canada to Robbie McMahon: If you think he'd appreciate the gesture?

Bo


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Martin Ryan.
Date: 31 Jul 98 - 04:38 PM

Bo

Yes, I'm sure it would be appreciated! I reckon Robbie McMahon, Spancilhill, Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland will find him!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: BSeed
Date: 31 Jul 98 - 10:18 PM

This has got to be the signal experience of the thirty or forty hours I have spent tracing and contributing to Mudcat threads in the two weeks since I discovered the site. What a great line of postings: someone should publish it. It has everything: love, death, terrible homesickness, suspense (when are the true lyrics ever going to be posted?), and finally, the lyrics. And obviously I'm not the only one to feel this way. I've never heard the song before here in California. I guess I'll have to send for the tape.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: BSeed
Date: 31 Jul 98 - 10:28 PM

And the damnedest thing about it all: I've spent the last ten minutes trying to add this thread to my tracer. I click on trace after the thread in the thread list, I click on "add to tracer" above this box, no matter what I do, it sends me back to my personal page to show me that the thread is still not there. I hope people keep writing so it will stay on the master list until i've master the thang. --seed


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Alice
Date: 22 Oct 98 - 07:18 PM

refreshing to answer Bev's question regarding verses of Spancil Hill, 10/22/98.

alice in montana


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Bobby Bob, Ellan Vannin
Date: 22 Oct 98 - 08:06 PM

I may have missed it somewhere in the thread, but just for completeness sake, there's a passing reference in the song "Sullivan's John" by the Pecker Dunne -

There's a yearly horse fair in the County Clare In a place they call Spancil Hill.

My father always reckoned it was -

There's a hairy arsed mare . . . etc,

but I think he was mishearing a version by Ronnie Drew of The Dubliners many years ago.

Shoh slaynt,

Bobby Bob


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 23 Oct 98 - 12:02 AM

I know this sounds like a political solution, Bobby Bob, but I can tell you I learned this as "a hairy ass fair."

You might be interested to hear that 20 years or so ago, I met a guy (sorrowfully, I forget his name) who used to play with the Pecker (musically, that is). They were called 'The Pecker Dunne and Son.'

All the best.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Big Mick
Date: 24 Oct 98 - 02:13 PM

Seeing as how this has been brought back to the top, I would like to inquire as to the whereabouts of Frank McGrath of the Negagh Singers Circle? The gobshite drops in, lays on us one of the great bits of musical history I have ever heard, and disappears into the mists never to be heard from again. It's like a script from "Eddie and the Cruisers". Maybe we will call this one "Frank and the Jarveys". ****grin**** Anyone got a clue? I miss the boyo.

Drop us a line, Frank, there's a good lad, and let your neighbors know that you are a well. :-))

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Alice
Date: 25 Oct 98 - 10:23 AM

You're right, Mick, I have been missing posts from Frank, too. I sent him an email to nudge him back here. Have you visited his Nenagh Singers Circle Website?

http://www.geocities.com/Broadway/Alley/4749/

alice in montana


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Big Mick
Date: 25 Oct 98 - 03:19 PM

Thanks, Alice, I haven't been there in a while. Think I will drop in this afternoon.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Big Mick
Date: 25 Oct 98 - 03:28 PM

Thanks, Alice, I haven't been there in a while. Think I will drop in this afternoon.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Big Mick
Date: 25 Oct 98 - 03:55 PM

I am not sure why the second message posted. I posted the first one, and nine minutes later it re-posted itself. I don't know why? It is getting close to Samhain, perhaps the spirits are giving us a little to think about, eh?

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Alice
Date: 02 Dec 98 - 02:23 PM

I am refreshing this thread for any newbies who missed it. The experience of asking this question and then getting the wonderful answer of the history of the lyrics and the writer from Frank McGrath, is why I love folk music... and also why I love this discussion forum with all you great folks.

alice in montana


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Animaterra
Date: 03 Dec 98 - 01:03 PM

This truly is one of the greatest of threads. Is there any way someone could get us the MIDI music?


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Big Mick
Date: 03 Dec 98 - 06:39 PM

Animaterra,

I will send Alison a .wav file, and she can post it in midi.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 04 Dec 98 - 07:49 AM

I'm a bit late picking this up, but - Frank, way back in April - wasn't that what Arthur's half-sister Morgan la Fay did to make herself invisible (or was it for Mordred?)? I think I read it in The Once and Future King, so it might have been a bit of artistic licence on the part of T H White.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: alison
Date: 04 Dec 98 - 08:43 AM

hi,

I can't believe the tune isn't here. Maybe we all just assumed that everyone knew it. If no one else beats me to it... I'll do it tomorrow.

Slainte

alison


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Subject: Tune Add: SPANCIL HILL
From: alison
Date: 04 Dec 98 - 09:16 AM

Hi ,

Here you go, weird key... (from Folk songs and Ballads popular in Ireland book 1)

Let me know if you want guitar chords.

MIDI file: SPANHILL.MID

Timebase: 480

Name: SPANCIL HILL
TimeSig: 3/4 24 8
Key: E
Tempo: 100 (600000 microsec/crotchet)
Start
0960 1 71 029 0238 0 71 029 0002 1 70 050 0238 0 70 050 0002 1 68 039 0958 0 68 039 0002 1 61 023 0478 0 61 023 0002 1 68 029 0958 0 68 029 0002 1 68 031 0478 0 68 031 0002 1 66 036 0958 0 66 036 0002 1 63 032 0478 0 63 032 0002 1 59 016 0958 0 59 016 0002 1 59 031 0238 0 59 031 0002 1 61 023 0238 0 61 023 0002 1 63 029 0478 0 63 029 0002 1 66 034 0478 0 66 034 0002 1 68 047 0478 0 68 047 0002 1 61 029 0958 0 61 029 0002 1 61 032 0478 0 61 032 0002 1 61 024 2398 0 61 024 0002 1 68 048 0478 0 68 048 0002 1 68 030 0958 0 68 030 0002 1 73 047 0478 0 73 047 0002 1 73 042 0958 0 73 042 0002 1 75 034 0478 0 75 034 0002 1 73 047 0958 0 73 047 0027 1 71 036 0455 0 71 036 0000 1 68 033 0958 0 68 033 0002 1 70 039 0478 0 70 039 0002 1 71 035 0958 0 71 035 0002 1 73 033 0478 0 73 033 0002 1 71 048 0478 0 71 048 0002 1 70 029 0478 0 70 029 0002 1 68 037 0434 1 66 042 0035 0 68 037 2409 0 66 042 0002 1 66 036 0478 0 66 036 0002 1 68 036 0958 0 68 036 0002 1 73 035 0478 0 73 035 0002 1 73 042 0958 0 73 042 0002 1 75 038 0478 0 75 038 0002 1 73 033 0958 0 73 033 0002 1 71 044 0478 0 71 044 0002 1 68 032 0958 0 68 032 0002 1 70 047 0478 0 70 047 0002 1 71 044 0958 0 71 044 0002 1 73 032 0478 0 73 032 0002 1 71 038 0422 1 70 025 0047 0 71 038 0477 0 70 025 0014 1 68 034 0478 0 68 034 0002 1 66 040 1918 0 66 040 0002 1 71 037 0478 0 71 037 0002 1 70 045 0478 0 70 045 0002 1 68 036 0958 0 68 036 0002 1 61 024 0446 1 68 037 0010 0 61 024 0984 1 68 033 0022 0 68 037 0456 0 68 033 0002 1 66 033 0958 0 66 033 0002 1 63 032 0478 0 63 032 0002 1 59 029 0958 0 59 029 0002 1 59 027 0238 0 59 027 0002 1 61 021 0238 0 61 021 0002 1 63 040 0478 0 63 040 0002 1 66 029 0478 0 66 029 0002 1 68 040 0480 0 68 040 0003 1 61 040 0957 1 59 026 0010 0 61 040 0468 0 59 026 0002 1 61 030 2435 0 61 030
End

This program is worth the effort of learning it.

To download the March 10 MIDItext 98 software and get instructions on how to use it click here

ABC format:

X:1
T:Spancil Hill
M:3/4
Q:1/4=100
K:E
B5^A|G4C2|G4G2|F4D2|B,4B,C|D2F2G2|C4C2|C6|
-C4G2|G4c2|c4d2|c4B2|G4^A2|B4c2|B2^A2G7/4F/4|
-F6|F4F2|-F6|G6|-G4c2|c4d2|c4B2|G4^A2|B4c2|
B7/4^A9/4G2|F6|-F2B2^A2|G4C7/4G/4|-G4G2|F4D2|
B,4B,C|D2F2G2|C4B,2|C6|-C6||

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Frank McGrath
Date: 04 Dec 98 - 01:08 PM

Hello Alice and Big Mick,
'Tis lovely to missed. I missed you too.

Sorry I disappeared off the face of the web but I've been under pressure with godforsaken work (employment for monetary gain) and have had to leave aside the most important things in life for a while.

So I shall be joining you once every few days from work and can be reached for the moment at;
frank.mcgrath@bluewatch.com

I've a lot of catching up to do so go easy on me for a while.

'Tis great to be back.

Frank McGrath

PS. The Singers Circle is going great and there are now about nine operating in the area. There are singing sessions every week within a one hour drive.
All the singing is unaccompanied with stories poems and lots of banter and slagging (ball hopping) thrown in for good measure.

The musicians had taken over the pub sessions for many years. (The singers and story tellers were only allowed to perform when the musicians had to answer the call of nature). But now we have our own times to ourselves and hopefully we can start joint sessions with a little more balance and variety.

I'd love for you to experience it sometime. Each night is unique and lovely with eight to eighty year olds, great singers and crap singers, gobshites and philosophers all respecting each others gift of voice.

Jasus - once I start I can't be shut up!!!

Thanks for missing me and being here whe


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Alice
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 03:41 PM

Since George Henderson mentioned ('Mudcatters please help' thread) the Irish Music Magazine will have an article about Spancil Hill by Frank McGrath in its Feb '99 issue, I thought it may be helpful to refresh this for new Mudcatters. As I've said before, this thread was the highpoint of all the time I have spent Mudcatting.

alice in montana


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Subject: READ THIS RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Big Mick
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 08:26 PM

I second Alice on this. It is a must read for all Mudcatters. Our good friend, Frank McGrath (God willing I will share a jar with the lad one day soon) gave us a marvellous bit of the musical history. This thread should be required reading before one is allowed full access to the 'Cat. ***Grin***

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: karen k
Date: 01 Feb 99 - 10:10 AM

How can we get the Feb.'99 issue of Irish Music Magazine? I'd love to read Frank McGrath's Spancil Hill article.

karen k


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Alice
Date: 01 Feb 99 - 10:20 AM

Go to Irish Music Magazine's website by clicking here. You can subscribe or get info on current and back issues. alice


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: George Henderson
Date: 01 Feb 99 - 10:43 AM

This is the first time I have waded through this thread. Isn't Frank very poetic.

I have known this story since I first met Robbie over 20 years ago and never really thought of how good it really is. I got quite emotional reading it even though I knew the story.

The great news. Robbie McMahon is the Nenagh singers circle guest on the second Friday in April. Why don't you all jump on a plane and join us.

Frank mentioned his cassette. It is magnificent and contains that wonderful song "Path across the ocean" which Barry Gleeson recorded on his CD of the same name. Robbie is a truly great singer.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Frank McGrath
Date: 01 Feb 99 - 05:37 PM

Isn't fate a funny thing?

I had planned for some time to visit Robbie to take some photos of Spancilhill and the night before my journey - this thread reappears.

I have pictures being developed of Michael Considine's house, pretty much unchanged externally since he lived there, as well as Mack the Rangers house and other features from the song.

With Robbie's help I am starting to trace other pieces of the history of the song and I hope to continue the work for as long as there is life in these bones of mine. So, if there are any knowledgeable persons out there who have any extra snippits to contribute I would really appreciate the information.

Alice - many thanks for starting this thread and for all your kindness. In fact, many thanks to all of those who contributed comments.

All the best
Frank McGrath


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From:
Date: 01 Feb 99 - 08:30 PM

George, Since Robbie is in Ireland at that particular time, why doesn't he travel North to the CBPPU on Belfast's Antrim Road where he will find the most appreciative audience anywhere. He might even persuade ?amonn Maguire to make a bodhr n for him - at a price, that is. :-)) D?an teagmh il liom ag annraoi@opreith.freeserve.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Charlie (2nd Generation)
Date: 03 Feb 99 - 12:51 PM

Still searching for a Quality Spancil Hill or Celtic Symphony MIDI? Does anyone know of a good irish midi site that contains these hard to find songs? (I tried to convert the above text to midi for Spancil Hill but was unsuccessful...) Thanks everyone!


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Big Mick
Date: 25 Feb 99 - 10:11 PM

George,

I got the Feb issue of Irish Music and the article on Robbie and Frank and the song is not in it. I wonder if the US edition is different from the Irish edition. I am very interested in reading this article and seeing the picture. Can anyone help?

To anyone interested in Irish music that hasn't read this thread, please do.You will forever be happy that you did

Big Mick Lane


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Gearoid
Date: 26 Feb 99 - 08:48 AM

The classic's never die !!!!!!!!

Gearoid


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 06 Mar 99 - 02:40 PM

Big Mick
Frank's article is in the MARCH edition of Irish Music Magazine, just issued.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Big Mick
Date: 06 Mar 99 - 06:18 PM

T'ank's Martin. I got a little panicked.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Penny
Date: 07 Mar 99 - 05:42 PM

I looked up spancel, spancil etc. in a modern and an Anglo-Saxon dictionary. No luck, but there's a word spann or span, which survives nautically, apparently, which has the meaning of a binding, and could be a root for both the hobbling and the horrid meanings.

This thread was so interesting I must off and find a recording.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: j0_77
Date: 07 Mar 99 - 08:08 PM

Last nigh as I lay drea a ming of pleasant days gone by... I was just today poking around on the fiddle and recalling he tune to this - used play along with a couple of guys in England years ago and we played it every week at a pub there. We had a banjo accordian and a bodhran - in those days there was no Celtic trend - we just played it - There was another song about falling off the back of a truck which I can barely recall but it was a funny one and never recorded by the Dubs. I wish I had the words they were great. Spancil - is like a 'hobble' tied around front and rear leg of a cow/steer/horse. See thread above. Spancil Hill is in Co Clare - which is in Ireland and is the Banner County -besides being the home of the best TAY in the whole world is also a great place for Irish Traditional Music :)


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: catspaw49
Date: 07 Mar 99 - 10:06 PM

This is just a tremendous thread. My folk interest was initially stirred by the music of the Southern Mountains which had it's roots in the Scots/Irish lineage of the early settlers. The natural iconoclasm of the region resulted in a unique sound, but a sound with roots. And although my love for the Appalachian tunes and THEIR derivatives is still strongest, this thread is wonderful in creating the feel for it's beginnings. I'm truly enjoying the reading along and the resulting education. I've never been totally ignorant of Irish music, but I agree that this thread should be required reading...as should some others.

Thanks to all our Irish loving Mudcateer friends.

catspaw


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Martin _Ryan
Date: 08 Mar 99 - 07:18 AM

Incidentally, the March issue of Irish Music Magazine also has a (very favourble) review of Dan Milner's Irish Songs and Ballads of the Sea. Mudcat rule OK?

Regards


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Robin
Date: 09 Mar 99 - 03:56 AM

What a thread! On 31 Jul, 98 was mention of Mary McNamara, Mary Mack. Could she be "Old Mary Mack, Mack,Mack With silver buttons all down her back, back, back"? Or the Mary Mack of " Mary Mack's mother's making Mary Mack marry me"?

Thank you, Robin


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 10 Mar 99 - 09:35 AM

There's a booklet from Sean P.OCillin, titled "Ballads of Co. Clare 1850-1976". To my surprise, it prints (with very few changes) the original lyrics Frank has posted on May, 5th, 1998. In this booklet the song is called "The Cross of Spancelhill[sic!]", the correct author is given and as tune "Spancelhill" is given. Does this mean the song was written to a then known tune also called "Spancilhill"?

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 10 Mar 99 - 09:37 AM

Hi Wolfgang!

Can you give publication details of the booklet please? Thanks.

All the best,
Dan


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 10 Mar 99 - 09:50 AM

Dan, it doesn't look like easy to get. Here's the information copied from the booklet.
"Published by Sean P.OCillin and Patricia F. Brannick and printed by Emerald Printers, Galway - Christmas 1976.
Copies are available from the author, from Tom Quinn, 'The Forge', Cappagh, Sixmilebridge, and from Emerald Printers Ltd., Galway."
Happy hunting (I got my copy in London!)

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Big Mick
Date: 24 Mar 99 - 10:17 PM

The March issue of Irish Music Magazine is now in the stores. It contains the interview and story of Spancil Hill which features Mudcatter Frank McGrath. YOU WOULD BE WELL ADVISED TO READ THIS STORY, AND THIS THREAD IF YOU ARE AN IRISH MUSIC FAN

Congratulations, Brother McGrath, on a fine bit of folk history well rendered. And one of these Friday nights I am going to show up at Derek Browne's and sing with you. No warning............I will just show. And then I am going to sit with you and drink copious amounts of Uncle Arthur's. Be warned.

George Henderson I am still waiting to hear about your itinerary for June and when you are going to be in Detroit. I want to meet and show you around a bit, if you can fit it in. And we will spend some time at the Gaelic League, The Tipperary and some others.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 25 Mar 99 - 02:45 AM

I see this was just refreshed yesterday, Kat, so you may already have read it. --seed


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: George Henderson
Date: 25 Mar 99 - 09:24 AM

Big Mick,

My itinerary will be posted next week.

Roughly, however, we travel from Shannon on May 28th to Toronto and travel by coach to London staying there for 3 days. Then onto Detroit for 3 days, on to Cleveland for 3days on to Niagara for 3 days and round off with 5 days in Toronto before flying home. A more definitive schedule will be posted next week.

We have Dan Milner as guest tonight which is an extra session.

The Spancil Hill article was great and I am looking forward to meeting you in USA

Kind regards George


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 06 Apr 99 - 03:53 AM

I'm refreshing this for a friend who says she lurked for a while but thought the threads were boring. Hi, Sally. --seed (Charles Kratz)


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GEORGE hENDERSON
Date: 12 Apr 99 - 01:04 PM

Robbie McMahon was with the Nenagh Singers Circle last Friday Night.

What a night - He was brilliant.

Now for all you catters who are interested.

Robbie recorded a tape a few years ago entitiled The Black Sheep. It was recorded a little before CD's became the rage here in Ireland which was probably some two or three years after every where else.

Anyway, his tape contains the original version of Spancil Hill.

If you want ot obtain a copy write to him at Spancil Hill, or send me $15 and an address and I will obtain it from Robbie and forward by mail.

Robbie simply gets better every time I hear him.

George


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Jo Taylor
Date: 08 Dec 99 - 07:09 PM

Refresh - for all who have recently arrived here.
Jo


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Dec 99 - 08:23 PM

Just to make sure we realise how good the Mudcat can be. (An no, I'm not Frank, I'm Kevin.)


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: InOBU
Date: 09 Dec 99 - 08:28 AM

FranK!!! Thanks for the info on Spancil Hill. Ive sung it for years, then didnt, and then found myself sitting around with some folks from Kerry at a siesuin/gig I do twice a month and for the first time in YEARS! sang it on request, and was reminded that when I was in my twenties, at a wedding, some old boy who was a great story teller, told me he knew the fella who wrote S H. Well, as you now gave us the story, and the fella was not 130 years old, I do believe, I would say he was a fine story teller, though not the best Ive heard, for example, TOmmy Gibbons of Rossmuny Co. Mayo, to whom every old anchor was a viking pick axe, and every cabins foundation was Grace O Mallys castle. (Any one in touch with Tommy, let me know, he must be 130 himself, if he is still sitting in his dirt floor cabin still, and I hope he is... )
Well Go raith maith agut Frank...
Larry


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 09 Dec 99 - 09:55 AM

I'd put this great thread in that silly time capsule thread just so all could see what a music thread with wonder and intellect can look like. We do need the people who wrote this back here with us regularly, but...

Art


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: JedMarum
Date: 09 Dec 99 - 10:41 AM

this is a wonderful song, a moving story and this has been a great thread!


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Big Mick
Date: 09 Dec 99 - 11:00 AM

Yessir, Bro Art, we were never better than when this thread was running. As I said several times in it, it should be required reading for all present and future Mudcatters.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Jeri
Date: 09 Dec 99 - 12:01 PM

The link to the MIDI in the database is broken, although the above MIDI works fine. Love the thread, and the amount of information shared.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Len Wallace
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 02:09 AM

I do not know if this is actually true, but a friend of mine who visited Spancil Hill says that if you go there today, they built a gas station on top of it.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: NSC
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 03:21 AM

Len,

It certainly is not true. There is no sign of gas anywhere in Spncil Hill and the fair continues ech year.

I passed through SH during the fair this year and, if anything, it is getting bigger and better. A lovely spot, yet there is nothing really special about the place. It is simply rural Ireland at its best.

George Henderson.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,A JOHN DENVER FAN
Date: 19 Jul 00 - 02:14 PM


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Irish Rover
Date: 19 Jul 00 - 06:00 PM

This is a GREAT thread! why is the song not on the digitrad? if we've got the correct words, why not post thoes? I have sung that song wrong for thirty years, so now you tell me!


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Catrin
Date: 07 Oct 00 - 06:18 AM

Refreshing this because I missed it before. Fascinating

Catrin


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,The Burren Ranger.
Date: 07 Oct 00 - 11:37 AM

Just to say that I drove through the Cross Of Spancilhill on the road from Tulla to Ennis in Co. Clare not two hours ago and all was quite there. My father reckoned that the famous Horse fair - held yearly on the Eve of Summmer Solstice - has been going on at the famous Cross since pre-Christian times. T.B. R.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Kernow John (a lost cookie)
Date: 13 May 01 - 02:46 AM

Susan's 'Toast to a new Song thread' (good idea) made me remember this classic thread. I thought that there may be some new catters who would not know of it's existence.
So time for a refresh.KJ


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 13 May 01 - 01:01 PM

If anyone wants to add to this celebrated thread, or even merely to refresh it, please go to Where is Spancil Hill(continued)? to do so, otherwise this one's going to get very slow to load for some people.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Alice
Date: 20 Aug 01 - 03:01 PM

Frank wrote above with lyrics: " Michael Considine... born circa 1859 and died circa 1873" and someone pointed out to me that this must be a typo, since that would have made him only about 14 when he died.
In Frank's article in Irish Music magazine, the dates he used were: born "about 1850" and "headed to America in 1870" and "1872... penned what was soon to be his immortal epitaph".

Alice


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Aug 01 - 04:37 PM

As I rode through Ennis in County Clare the week before last, I saw a sign that said "Spancilhill 8" - can't remember if it's miles or kilometers in the Republic of Ireland. I wanted to stop the bus and take a picture, but there wasn't time.
Our pastor went to secondary school in Ennis, and I asked him about Spancilhill. He said it's just an ordinary, nondescript Irish village, just like the village where he grew up. We visited his village, and it was beautiful - but all of Ireland is beautiful.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 20 Aug 01 - 04:49 PM

Joe

...including the inside of some of the pubs!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Alice
Date: 20 Aug 01 - 09:04 PM

I got Robbie's tape out again today to listen, and right now am listening to "The Fleadh Down in Ennis". It names so many people, where they came from and what they played or sang. In the cassette notes, Robbie writes, "I wrote this song after the 1956 all-Ireland Fleadh that was held in Ennis and I sang it the following year for Ciaran MacMathuna in Dungarvan. Of the people mentioned in this song, there are only six left now." One of my favorites on this tape is the one Robbie wrote about himself and his Spancilhill home, called "My House On The Hill".


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 21 Aug 01 - 08:18 AM

Alice, I have a video recording of Robbie singing The Fleadh down in Ennis, its off an RTE programme some years ago and Robbie is in great voice. Slan Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Noreen
Date: 21 Aug 01 - 09:17 AM

Joe says: "I saw a sign that said "Spancilhill 8" - can't remember if it's miles or kilometers in the Republic of Ireland.

For the next exciting instalment, get ye hence to the continuation thread which Fionn kindly started lo these many moons... (last May actually).

This post makes this thread even longer... :0)


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Brían
Date: 21 Aug 01 - 03:42 PM

In a letter Robbie send with my copy of The Black Sheep, Robbie says that Michael Consodine died in California at age 23, making the date 1873 or thereabouts.

Brían.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,michael mcinerney
Date: 07 Nov 01 - 05:35 AM

proud to be from spancilhill


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Nov 01 - 05:37 AM


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Subject: i live in spancilhill
From: GUEST,someone who lives there
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 11:59 AM

hi alice i saw your email on the web site about spancilhill . spancilhill is a little place in co.clare . it is all one word spancilhill not spancil hill . it is a queit place .ther is a horse fair every year on the 23rd of june were people from all over ireland bring there horses to sell them . then there is the song by robbie if you want more info e-mail me @ emma6232001@yahoo.com


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 12:44 PM

So glad this thread got refreshed. I recently added this song to my repertoire and loved reading the thread. Bravo mudcat again - I can't think of anywhere else I would have found this!


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,BARRY MCMAHON AUSTRALIA
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 10:31 PM

I HAVE BEEN TO SPANCIL HILL HAD GREAT TIM WITH MY UNCLE ROBBIE SANG SONG A BIT PLEASE GET IN CONTACT WITH ME MCMAHON IN IRELAND MY EMAIL ADDRESS IS bazza1@hotmail.com MY WEBSITE IS www.bsballs.org RURAL PARTY IN AUSTRALIA THERE A GREAT CRACK


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,BARRY MCMAHON FROM AUSTRALIA
Date: 14 Apr 02 - 08:32 AM

JUST LIKE TO SAY THAT I TOOK DYMPNA MCMAHON OUT FOR DINNER TONIGHT IN SYDNEY WE HAD SHE ATE BARRAMUNDI FOR DINNER A FISH THAT COMES FROM NORTHERN TERRORITY OF AUSTRALIA AS THEY SAY IF YOUR FISHING FOR BARRA LOOK OUT FOR CROCS www.bsballs.org DONALD I AM TRYING TO GET IN CONTACT WITH YOU LONG LOST COUSIN BAZZA BARRY MCMAHON bazza1@hotmail.com


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Lynn
Date: 14 Apr 02 - 02:41 PM

Summer of 95 I had the good fortune to be 'over there' for a two-week holiday. I was hitching to the folk festival in Feakle (yes, pron. 'fecal') and passed by a little sign post pointing up a road to the left, indicating 'Spancil Hill, 5 km'. I had intended to hire a bike and go back there but didn't. (rode the Burren instead). Anyway, Feakle does have a great little festival there in mid-August, despite the fact that it's a little s**t of a town! (No offense intended).


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 14 Apr 02 - 04:40 PM

A little earlier in this thread I went to the trouble of starting a sequel thread Where is Spancil Hill (continued)?. I did it simply because long threads can be slow or impossible to load on some machines, as most regular users of Mudcat know. Around 100 posts is usually reckoned to be a good time to start the next chapter.

I can understand guests not being aware of this, but no such excuse for Alice ploughing on regardless. As for Joe Offer - I'm surprised! (*G*)

So for the second time of asking (third, counting Noreen's post) please follow the blue clicky if you want to add to this thread - that way, reasonable access to both parts of it should be preserved for all.

(As this post will breathe yet more life into this, the wrong part of the thread, I'll now go and refresh part two to put that above this.)


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,mbirch
Date: 22 May 02 - 03:06 AM

If mudcat is sure that Michael Considine wrote (the words ?) to "Spancil Hill", then why does't their digitrad page give credit to him ?


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Ronnie
Date: 14 Jul 03 - 11:49 AM

Heard the man himself Robbie McMahon sing Spancilhill last Saturday night, 12th July in Marinans of Miltown Malbay. Pity the audience didn't appreciate what exactly was happening around them and let the man sing it as it should be...


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 14 Jul 03 - 05:07 PM

During the Willy Week, the window of opportunity to find a good singer AND a good audience in Marrinan's at the same time, is very narrow! I reckon between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.is your best bet - and maybe for a little around 7. Otherwise its too often a case of bad singers/reciters with poor material bludgeoning the audience into submission or good singers, with good songs, being ignored.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,ifitfitz@oxygen.ie
Date: 07 Feb 04 - 10:50 AM

Damn!

This thread was almost too much info, but I found myself drinkin' it in like sweet spring water.

There's a band (in of all places, Florida USA) that has recorded Spancil Hill (lyrics abbreviated as in the so-called "pop" version) and it's a real crackin' reading.

The singer's name is Jana Light,and she can belt it out with the best of them. Very highly recommended, if only a touch more rousing than more folk-oriented singings. Their website is http://www.celticsoulband.com/ The music used to be found at www.mp3.com, but RIP that fine site. I have a copy from there, and the band's CDs are available through the site.

Thanks, all.

johnfitz


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Big Tim
Date: 26 Mar 04 - 11:25 AM

Has anybody actually located Spancilhill yet?

If not, it's on the R352 road about 4 miles NE of Ennis (mostly east).
The name is a misnomer for Cnoc Fhuarcoill, "Hill of the Cold Wood", as the F was aspirated and omitted in local speech to create another name, Cnoc Urchaill, "Spancil Hill". The Irish word "urchall", or "urchomhal", means a spancel: fetter or shackle for the fore or hind legs of an animal. (Source: A History of Clare by Sean Spellissy, Gill and Macmilla, 2003.)

Kieran Sheedy, author of "The Horse in Clare" [sounds like a fascinating book!] (2001) writes that King James I granted a patent in 1621 to allow a guy called Valentine Blake "to hold a fair and collect tolls". The fairs, then mainly for pigs, cattle and sheep, were held on 1 Jan, 3 May, 20 Aug and 3 December. A separate horse fair a held on 24 June. (same source as above).


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,coldcarp ayle
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 03:39 PM

as i plan to visit Clare, Galway & Mayo in summer '05 it is my intent to visit the site of Spancil Hill a song that has played at my father's funeral and my daughter's wedding. where might a traveler best find a pub near Spancil Hill?


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Guest: Meaghan
Date: 13 Dec 04 - 05:01 PM

Does anyone have any pictures of spancil Hill? I have one, but it is not great. I'm looking to get a picture of it for my father.
Any help would be great!!!

Meaghan


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Big Tim
Date: 14 Dec 04 - 04:32 AM

Meaghan, if you care to post your email address, I'll send you a few: again not great but including one of Robbie McMahon.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,ObiJuanKenobi
Date: 27 Dec 05 - 02:03 PM

Wow, I've spent a couple of hours reading this thread... It is quite interesting...

Well, i have to say that I'm from Mexico, and I didn't know about the existence of this place, until The Corrs put this song performed by them into their new CD, and i've been looking for more information about this place... and the history behind is amazing...

Does Anyone know where Can I find any pic of any place at Spancil Hill??

Juan


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 27 Dec 05 - 08:50 PM

Juan

Go to www.google.com, select "Images" and put "spancil hill" into the search box.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: David Ingerson
Date: 28 Dec 05 - 05:32 PM

Welcome to Mudcat, Juan! You'll find many fascinating threads here, a wealth of information, and lots of entertainment, too. And you can become a member for free.

David


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,ObiJuanKenobi
Date: 29 Dec 05 - 06:17 PM

Thanks for answering me.

I-ve done that kind of search u told me about, but in brought me back some images of some children n somekind of school... is that a place from spancill hill??

I will suscribe tomorrow, i promise!

Thanks and keep on posting ;)

Juan


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,mikey
Date: 18 Mar 07 - 08:10 AM

hello

i have just had a quick scan through this thread and really enjoyed it. i live in derbyshire england and my parents (now in their eighties) are both from county galway. i play guitar and sing a little and was looking for lyrics and chords for spancil hill and this thread is great.

i used to go to ireland every year in the 60s and work on my uncles farm and for play mates i had the keanes of caheristrane who were just across a couple of fields, so we used to have a few barn dances and ceilis where all the keanes would play and sing and that got me into mixing irish music with the beatles and stones when i got my first cheap guitar at 15 in 1963. i was over there again last month but for a sad occasion that was my uncles funeral

well i am going to have a bit more of a browse round this website

cheers

mikey walsh


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Mar 07 - 10:21 AM

*smile*...you have discovered one of the classic threads on Mudcat. It is research, knowlege and sharing at its best.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Apr 07 - 02:58 PM

It is four miles on the Tulla rd. outside the town of Ennis, Co.Clare


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Al-Farid
Date: 15 May 07 - 12:00 PM

Great site; fantastic song; but seeing such careless stupidity in editing / posting is downright painful!

So please (Mr. Webmaster? or Master McGrath?) go back and EDIT your posts on this web-site to CORRECT Mick Considine's birthdate from the erroneous "1859"(sic!) (which is incorrectly repeated several times over in your posts!), to read correctly: (ca.?) 1850 !!! [edited]
...as "1859-1873"(sic!) would've meant that he was still only 14 years old when he died in California...!


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 15 May 07 - 02:35 PM

There's now a useful Wikipedia entry HERE , partly based on this thread.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Dieter
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 09:28 AM

There must be something about this song ... I heard a version by Paddy Reilly on a CD and it stood out by far. The I found the popular lyrics in a book and started singing it. It's been in my head for days now. I also practiced it on the harmonica.

Then I found this thread. Indeed, a classic forum thread, showing us what forums should be like.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Marty G
Date: 22 Sep 07 - 10:00 PM

Very Interesting reading indeed... Thanks, this insight into the history of the song has been a pleasure to read. Very much appreciated!


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Dirk
Date: 29 Sep 07 - 05:44 PM

I visited the place in Sep 2007. There are only some farm houses. But most impressive was the carving at the gate to the place where the horse fair is held. Here is a link to some pictures of the place: http://picasaweb.google.de/BlogForIreland/SpancilHill

Further down the road is Cloney, where there is indeed a church, although a quite modern looking one, erected in 2002.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Bob Ryan
Date: 04 Mar 08 - 11:33 AM

I have been to the fair twice in the last 10 yrs. Both times on the 23rd of June. It's an amazing bit of Irish History even to this day. As we approach the "cross" (crossroads) we start to see people walking, some pulling horses behind them toward Spencil Hill. A mixture of youth and adults walking on the side of a narrow, tree's overhanging. one lane road. Every so often you see a youth (10-15 yrs) actually riding bareback at a dangerous pace and looking a little out of control. You think to yourself the road must open up sooner or later but it never does. The closer you get the more crowded the narrow lane becomes. It seems that many of the locals are walking from their meeger farms to the fair. I notice cars starting to park on the side of the road so I assume I am getting closer. I can barely see the crossroad ahead but I am completely stopped due to the shear numbers of people and horses waiting to enter this muddy track of land. Having to drive by the entrance to an even smaller one lane road I find a clearing where cars are parked any which way. My first thought is "how" everyone is going to get out of this place when its over. The roads surely can't allow for two way traffic. Amazingly, they do.

As I walk up to the entrance I see a sign (in need of a little work) which states this sinple cross in the road is actually "Spencil Hill. Quite a let down in one way but in another, after some inside laughter on my part, a fitting view of a time in Irish history that has stood still for over a hundred years.

There is no charge, there is no fencing, there is no organization but everyone seemed to know where to go. So I followed. There are horses everywhere. Some tied to stakes in the ground and some just being held by the reigns by their young and old owners. The lower field has a fenced corral where horses and riders of all ages are jumping over barrels and wooden jumps. The horses look well kept and well fed something that slowly disappears the further I go. There are food venders in trailors and some just with a table selling sweets, Fish & Chips, some type meat pie, soda drinks and water.
I can here a horse auction commencing and start to see some resemblence of my idea of a horse fair.

As I pass by the food venders I start seeing a complete different picture then what I just walked past. There are more young kids on top of these large Irish horses, bareback and only a rope aroud the horses neck. It starts to get very crowded with almost ever step a horses reareand has to be sidestepped. I come to realization that there is no way I could get out of the way if a horse gets spooked and kicks out with his hind legs and I happened to be right behind him. I seem to be the only one worrying about this because as I walk, it only gets mor crowded. Every so often I would hear a scream "to watch out" as a horse starts to get a little frisky and see the crowd running from a spot.

As I start to get out of site and sound of the front entrence I see a bad combination starting to form. As I approach a road, blocked off from below, (the fair continues on) I see a small Pub with many men standing around with a pint in their hand. most have sticks in their hands, torn from nearby trees. I saw quickly what they were being used for. If a horse would approach too close to them they would crack the stick on the horses rear and the horse would dart any whichway and the men would laugh at what they caused. People are being knocked down from the horses reaction. Luckly the crowd has spread out but very dangerous none the less.

Looking like finally the end of the fair, I walk down the road a wee bit, I start to see old horse trailors that looked so bad I dont see how they ever got them there. Tied to the back of the trailors are old, malnurished, sick looking horses that are being sold for meat. The owners look like "tinkers" the Irish version of Gypseys. Sales look like their going slow but before the fair is over I am sure some are sold. A kind of sick feeling started to come over me. What the fair meant to these people was so far different to what is meant to the people at the entrance but none the less, it has been this way from the start of Spencil Hill's Horse Fair so many years ago.

If you like to send me an email, Please do.

Bob Ryan
rryan2552@yahoo.com


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 04 Mar 08 - 06:15 PM

Glad to see that there's a Wikipedia entry on it and that the Mudcat gets the credit.

I haven't yet taken the time to figure out how to become a contributor, but perhaps someone here could correct the spelling of the name in verse five of the original version. It should read "Martin Moylan's".


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 05:26 PM

Check out the DTStudy thread for a (temporary) link to a radio programme featuring Robbie talking about and singing (down a phoneline!) Spancil Hill.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 08:28 AM

It's also good to remember maybe, the Fair is on today.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,George Henderson
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 09:24 AM

Yes it is good to knwo that it continues (despite missing out in 2002 because of the foot and mounth scare).

It is indeed a very old fair.

Remember though that Robbie hosts a singing night on the first Fridy of every month in Duggans bar in Spancil Hill. next session is on July 3rd.

Robbie has a load of songs but he may sing this on the 3rd because it is the session closest to the Fair.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 12:32 PM

Robbie was actually on the news (the 5.30 Irish language news on RTE1, for anyone inclined to look it up on www.rte.ie) singing his song.

Meant to go up for the fair today with my son, to take a few pictures. The youngfella was called in to work for the Willie Clancy comittee so we left it. Great day for it though.

If interested, here are some pics I took at another Clare horsefair, the Ennistymon one, late last year.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,George Henderson
Date: 22 Jun 10 - 04:08 AM

This thread is one of the best I have come across on the Mudcat.

Spancil Hill Fair takes place tomorrow (23rd June.) Robbie McMahon has a night of singing and story telling in Duggan's pub tonight, the eve of the fair, at which he will no doubt sing the great song.

Should be a good night but could get very crowded.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 22 Jun 10 - 06:45 AM

Spancil Hill vanished when I tried to find it last year, on my way out of the Tulla Festival.... :(


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,George
Date: 22 Jun 10 - 11:04 AM

Well Suegorgeous it is still there but if you blink twice you will miss it. It is a very small place to have such a big song written about it.

Robbie's first Friday is still happening. Ist friday of the month in Duggan's bar on the main Ennis Tulla road at Spancil Hill. Starts at 9 o'clock. Good night guaranteed every first Friday.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 22 Jun 10 - 02:57 PM

Would love to get to one of Robbie's sessions one day. He ran a fantastic 5-hour one last year at Tulla Festival - a whole pub virtually silent for 5 hours! (til they kicked us out when the footie started!).


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Alice
Date: 22 Jun 10 - 02:59 PM

It warms my heart to see my best Mudcat experience refreshed. I still have the cassette tape from Robbie singing Spancil Hill.



Alice


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Billsheen
Date: 22 Jun 10 - 04:42 PM

Of Spancil Hill P W Joyce says in his IRISH NAMES OF PLACES (Dublin,1875) "In the parish of Clooney in Clare is the village of Spancelhill, well known for its fairs. The correct Irish name is Cnoc-fuarchoilli [Knock-foorkilla], the hill of the cold wood,for so the Four Masters call it, when recording a battle fought there in 1559, between the rival earls of Ormonde and Desmond. In the colloquial language however, the f is aspirated and omitted, which reduces it to Cnoc-urchaill [Knockoorkill]; and as urchall or aurchomhal is a spancel,
the name came to be erroneously translated Spancelhill instead of Coldwoodhill."

"spancel n., a hobble often made of hay-rope or old clothing.
Kiely- A BALL OF MALT AND MADAME BUTTERFLY, 183; 'The wife has him tethered and spancelled in the haggard.'"
A DICTIONARY OF HIBERNO-ENGLISH, Terence Patrick Dolan(Dublin 1998).


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Billsheen
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 02:55 AM

The fair takes place today, June 23rd.

http://www.spancilhillfair.com/


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,George Henderson
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 03:18 AM

I expect to meet Robbie on 2nd July (First friday). And he is a guest at the Frank Harte festival in Dublin organised by Goilin, the Dublin singers club.

I was unable to make it to Spancil Hill last night. Hope to get a report on the session later this week.

Robbie's tape has now been converted to CD format. Anybody who wants a copy should write to Robbie McMahon, Spancil Hill, Co Clare, Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Guest , John
Date: 07 Jul 10 - 07:01 AM

I hear you brought the whole wagon trail wit you to the Singer's Club George. 27 different performers on the night!! Amazing. When is that Frank Harte featival and where??


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,George Henderson
Date: 07 Jul 10 - 10:15 AM

Certainly did John. And we all got at least 2 songs in with Robbie singing 4.

It was a fab night.

Long may it continue.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Guest John
Date: 07 Jul 10 - 08:01 PM

Friend of mine was there, Said good mixture of singers with a few very good singers. Robbie is a gem!! When is the Frank Harte festival. Might try to make it.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: michaelr
Date: 07 Jul 10 - 10:39 PM

This year's Frank Harte Festival will take place Friday 24th to Sunday 26th of September 2010, and will be at the Teacher's Club, Parnell Square, Dublin, Ireland. (From here.)


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,George Henderson
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 09:38 AM

Robbie's night on again tomorrow night.(Friday 6th) See you all there.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Green Man
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 10:35 AM

Spancel is a rope used to hobble animals to stop them wandering.

I wonder why I can't move my legs.. ;)


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Guest - Aidan
Date: 04 Sep 10 - 10:43 AM

What a night!!! Robbie's Singers Club last night was absolutely fantastic! Never at it before, but - Wow - what a night! Over 50 songs/recitations performed. Aside from the man himself who delivers pure gold every time he sings, very good performances from Richard, Bernie, Paidi, John Power, Paddy Commane - Hilarious. George and his friend John. But hairs on my neck rose when another John sang The Croppy Boy.

Can only use the names they were called by to sing so I am afraid I don't know lots of full names. But would love to hear that John again or find out has he recorded.

Robbie is a national treasure!!


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,A Spancel
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 03:09 AM

In the North, (County Down) a spancel, used to hobble animals, is called a "langel" (sp?) as in "I'll langel ye !" meaning, I'm gonna stop you or slow you down, usually directed at a hyperactive child!


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 06:23 AM

Christy Moore & Shane MacGowan sing Spancil Hill on YOU TUBE


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,George Henderson
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 06:28 AM

Robbie is a guest at the Frank Harte festival which will be held from 24th to 26th September 2010 in the Teachers Club, Dublin.

and yes, he is a national treasure.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,John Condon
Date: 15 Oct 10 - 07:18 AM

Duggans Bar Singer's Club now has its own Facebook Page. Access it for info on upcoming first Fridays. Roll on 5th November. Robbie now has to be addressed as Squire Robbie after his civic reception in Ennis last Monday.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,John Breslin
Date: 08 Nov 10 - 05:59 PM

Enjoyed another great night in Duggans Pub Spancilhill at Robbie Mc Mahons First Friday.
Is the page on facebook up and running yet? Cant seem to find it


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 03:36 AM

Just attended our local (West Clare) Singing Weekend just gone and heard an excellent song, (I think, contemporary to the event - probably early 20th century) sung by John Lyons, about a fight at the Fair at Spancil Hill.
Wonder if anybody knows it and has a set of the words - would appreciate.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,^&*
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 03:47 AM

That was "The Spancelhill Affray". It's in O'Cillin's "Ballads of Co. Clare" book, which you may have - or at least have ready access to! If not, I'll post a set of words in a new thread when I get a chance and put a link here. I don't think we've posted it before.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,George Henderson
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 04:26 AM

Yes John, it surely was yet another great night in Duggans. And Micheal is so accomodating is he not.

Of course Robbie was in great voice yet again. Cannot make it in December due to a prior engagement and The January night is New Years day so I don't expect to make that. Could well have visitors in February as well. All very unfortunate.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 05:23 AM

GUEST,^&*
Thanks, I found it just after I posted.
I scanned it down and posted it - but it seems not to have survived the journey
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,John Condon
Date: 12 Nov 10 - 07:20 PM

Facebook Page is there. Click on pages and search for Duggan's Pub Singers Club.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Dympna
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 01:38 AM

Off to the film 'Last Night as I lay dreaming' tonight in Melbourne, Australia!


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: ollaimh
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 02:45 PM

reading several versions of the lyrics i wonder if "the scartborough settlers lament " was based on spancil hill?

i was recently in skrene ireland near navan. so does any one know where the verdant braes of skrene are? near navan or as i thought on the west coast of scotland?


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Sigve R. Leland
Date: 21 Feb 11 - 09:09 AM

This has already been pointed out in a comment on the wikipedia article, but it does not seem to have been mentioned here yet, so I will.

In short, the story as presented here does not add up. Looking at the 1901 Census of Ireland, there is a Mary MacNamara living in Spancilhill who by her given age must have been born in 1865. There is also a John Considine (well, four of them, actually, but this seems to be the only real candidate), son of Kate Considine who by his given age must have been born in 1875 or 1876. Assuming these are the right people, which seems likely, the claim that Michael Considine was born in 1850 and died in 1873 makes no sense. Mary would have been only 5 when Michael left (when he was supposedly 20) and John would not even have been born when Michael died.

Now, I noticed that when Mr. McGrath originally posted the full lyrics of the song, Michael Considine's year of birth was given as 1859, although this was later corrected to 1850. If 1859 should turn out to be the real year of birth, however, the other information would seem to add up. Assuming Michael still left for the US at age 20 and died at age 23, Mary would only have been 5 years younger, which gives an age of about 15 when Michael left and John would in fact be six years old when he received the poem, rather than being not yet even conceived.

Does this make any sense, or is there some other explanation I've missed?


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 21 Feb 11 - 09:44 AM

GUESTSigve

My recollection is that it is/was possible to trace the names through the online parish records - which will give better date info than the one-off census. Not sure if they're still online - I'll check whan I have a chance.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Susanna in California
Date: 02 Mar 11 - 01:44 AM

Does anyone have any idea what part of California? If we could pin down the dates, it would be a good idea to look at the census records from here if they are available. Was he buried in California? Wonder if the immigration attorney with the same name in Sacramento is any relation? His family is from the Ennis area or so I'm told.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Brakn
Date: 02 Mar 11 - 03:08 AM

If you take a look at the 1901 Census you will find spinster Mary MacNamara(36), Patrick Quigley(Tailor) and others.

Look at 1901 Census of Clare, District Electoral Division: Spancelhill   Townland: Muckinish.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: harmonic miner
Date: 02 Mar 11 - 05:37 AM

We were playing this song once in a pub (we sing it almost every week) and a local wag, who was not making much sense, said 'Oh yes, it's tomomorrow'. By a strange coincidence, he was right. I looked at my watch and indeed it was the 22nd of June.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: harmonic miner
Date: 02 Mar 11 - 05:52 AM

Well, close! in the song "it was on the 23rd of June, the day before the fair" so the fair is on the 24th I assume.

Where can we get the difintive lyrics, as written by Mr Considne?

It is typical of 'Traditional Irish Ballads' though, as it is attributed to a known author (whereas Tradtional normally means no known author), and it was written outside of Ireland


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 02 Mar 11 - 08:41 AM

I think several have already given the Answer, it's in County Clare on the road between Ennis & Tulla


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,John Condon
Date: 25 Jul 11 - 08:51 AM

Are you planning on attending the July singing session on Friday, 5th July, George?


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,shannon
Date: 17 Mar 12 - 07:42 PM

I am intrigued by these posts, as I have always been intrigued to the lyrics of this song. The only records I have been able to find of my Irish ancestors show that their surname was Quigley and that they resided in "Clooney Parish".....


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 12 - 01:30 AM

fantastic forum, my father sang original song but died in '98 RIP wish I had asked him where he had learned it from as the popular versions were much shorter, he sang in that sweet connemara brouge with whispering "S's" if that makes sense. Shed a tear each time I hear Spancil hill, sometimes on the inside but of late I don't care who sees a grown man cry. I write from Melbourne city many miles ,,,,,,,,,


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Peadar (formerly) of Portsmouth
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 11:57 AM

Sad news on the passing yesterday of Robbie McMahon, who kept and protected this treasure of a song. May Michael Considine greet him at the gate.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 08:53 PM

Yes, that is indeed sad news.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Apr 14 - 08:36 AM

Don't know whether any of this was mentioned in the aforementioned article, but I've just written a note to a version of the song which will be put up on Clare County Library website in the next few months, along with another 400-odd songs we've recorded in Clare over the last 40 years.
The Library staff are making wonderful job of the song-site - looking forward to it being finished.
Jim Carroll

Spancil Hill Michael 'Straighty' Flanagan
Note to Maureen ? the song documented under this title in the Roud Index is in fact a version of 'Sullivan John', not 'Spancil Hill' which doesn't have a Roud number.

The composer of this song was Michael Considine from Spancilhill, who was born around 1850 and emigrated to the USA at around 1870. Considine went with the intention of bringing his sweetheart over and for them to be married when he had made enough money for the passage. She was Mary MacNamara, known as 'Matt the ranger's daughter'; the ranger's house was within sight from the Considine home as was the tailor Quigley's, mentioned in the song.
At the age of 23, he began to suffer ill health, and after some time, realising he hadn't long to live, he wrote the poem Spancilhill, to be sent home in remembrance of his love, It was kept safe by his six-year old nephew, John Considine.
It is said that Michael Considine died sometime in 1873 and may have been buried in the Spancilhill graveyard, though these dates are disputed, not least because Mary MacNamara (usually referred to as "Matt, the Ranger's daughter, but in Straighty's version, "Nell, the farmer's daughter), who is said to have remained faithful to his memory and never married, would only have been 8 years old when Michael died.
The story goes that, in the late 1930s or early '40s, Robbie McMahon announced he was going to sing Spancilhill, when the woman of the house, Moira Keane, a relative of Michael Considine, handed Robbie McMahon the original text of the song saying "If ye are going to sing that song ye might as well sing it right." This text was confirmed some time later, around 1953, at another session, when Robbie was asked to sing it and a local, man first resisted him, saying: "Don't sing that song." When asked why not, the old man replied "because ye don't know it". Robbie sang the song anyway using the version given to him by Moira Keane. As he got into the song, he noticed the old man paying more attention, fiddling with his cap and looking a little flustered. When the song was finished the old man asked: "Where did you get that song?" McMahon told him and the old man seemed both perturbed and pleased at the same time. The old man was John Considine, the nephew of the songs' composer. John was 76 at that time and had kept his uncle's song safe for 70 years. He gave his approval to Robbie's performance after hearing that he had sung the original version.
'Straighty's' air is different to the one usually associated with the song, suggesting that he learned it from print rather than from another singer; he uses the same one for several of his songs.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Apr 14 - 05:09 PM

anyone know who wrote welcoming paddy home?.
jim,in all the versions i have heard she is normally referred to as mac the rangers daughter not matt, which makes sense as well.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,George Henderson
Date: 18 Apr 14 - 11:54 PM

Jim,
You should read all the related threads on this site. Frnk McGrath did a huge amount of research on this song and located the original author's home, Mac the Ranger's home, They could not identify the well nor the related apple tree. Frank was fairly certain of the location of Michael's grave in the States but did not visit.

Pat Kiddy, Spancil Hill resident, has all of the details. Also Robbie's widow, Maura, ha full details.

Robbie's First Friday, the singing session he set up, is still going. Organizer is John Condone. I go down to it most months from Bray. Spacil Hill is sung at the end of the session as Robbie sang it, in his memory. You should pay a visit.

Robbie was a great friend so sadly missed.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 14 - 03:58 AM

Thanks George.
All these songs come alive when you start following them up.
I've just annotated nearly 500 songs in preparation for making them available on the Clare County Library web-site - in some cases, the problem has been that there is far too much information on many of them to use - songs like Spancil Hill are a good example of such.
One of the neglected traditions has been local songs that have been made by local people to comment on local events and features.
I've managed to pin-point nearly 100 songs made in this area of West Clare that haven't passed into the national repertoire- we're hoping that a local-history group will agree to co-operate in publishing them as a fund-raiser for their activities.
Spancil Hill is an example of one of the exceptions that has slipped te net and become more widely known.
Best
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,George Henderson
Date: 20 Apr 14 - 04:44 PM

Sounds like good work Jim.

Just re read my post. Please note Pat Liddy (not Kiddy). My tablet keeps trying to correct my spelling and did not recognize Liddy.

Mick Scanlan has just launched his book of his own songs which are about local events, some humorous and a few with more serious overtones. Meanderings of an idle mind.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 09 Oct 14 - 11:25 AM

The Goilin Song Project resource at the Irish Traditonal Music Archive, now has a live recording of Robbie singing Spancil Hill made in the early '90's.

Click here

Regards


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Dan Diver of Canada
Date: 16 Apr 15 - 06:21 PM

Hi all, My name is Dan Diver and I live in Canada. My dad was born in Belfast but unfortunately never made it back before passing. While I was on vacating this month I met a fantastic couple John and Marcella MacDonald in Cuba on their honeymoon. My fiancee (whose relatives are also from Ireland)and I told them of our plans to travel to Ireland for our honeymoon in the near future and we asked about songs to sing while in the pubs. The first one they told us about was "Spancilhill". After searching I was brought to this site and found the original lyrics. It is a beautiful song. I've taken the time to record it and tried to keep as close to the original lyrics as possible without making the song too long. The link below will bring you to it. I hope I do it justice. Thanks

Dan

https://soundcloud.com/danwhalen/spancilhill


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Dan Diver of Canada
Date: 16 Apr 15 - 06:43 PM

Sorry, you probably guessed but that couple we met was from Northern Ireland. Kind of important to the story. Thanks.

Dan


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,John Condon
Date: 28 Apr 15 - 09:54 AM

Robbie's First Friday singing session is on Friday next, May 1st.

First song 9.45pm.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Benjie Hallihan
Date: 11 Jun 15 - 02:24 PM

Many thanks for the story behind the song. It really brings it to life and must be one of many heart-breaking stories of lovers parted by poverty with dreams of getting back together.... i'll light a candle tonight for Mick and Matt the Rangers Daughter.... maybe in a new Spancil Hill tonight he really bends to kiss her and she's there.


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Sep 15 - 12:59 PM

There are so many reasons why that version you say is original, could never have been written by an irish person........very very clearly an interpretation by someone who may love Ireland but doesn't understand the nuances of our culture


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,MartinRyan lost in Glasgow...
Date: 07 Sep 15 - 04:58 PM

Which version? All three in common circulation are definitelt Irish in origin - and all derive from the original poem.

Beir bua.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 07 Sep 15 - 07:33 PM

It isn't there, but then I am an Atheist


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