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Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'

DigiTrad:
RODDY McCORLEY (Gaelic)
RODGER YOUNG


Related threads:
(origins) Roddy McCorley: date of origin ? (42)
Review: Roddy McCorley (6)
happy? – Mar 1 (Rody MacCorly hanged) (23)
Rodi Mac Corlai/Roddy McCorley: seek recording (6)
Lyr/Tune Req: Roddy McCorley (12)
CRDS? / History? Roddy McCorley (9)


JedMarum 19 Aug 99 - 10:29 AM
Wolfgang 19 Aug 99 - 11:27 AM
JedMarum 19 Aug 99 - 11:32 AM
Wolfgang 19 Aug 99 - 11:43 AM
Wolfgang 19 Aug 99 - 11:55 AM
Wolfgang 19 Aug 99 - 12:15 PM
Big Mick 19 Aug 99 - 12:32 PM
Laura the Fiddler 19 Aug 99 - 01:58 PM
Philippa 19 Aug 99 - 02:40 PM
John Moulden 19 Aug 99 - 06:13 PM
Henry 19 Aug 99 - 09:18 PM
Big Mick 21 Aug 99 - 01:56 PM
GUEST,l_man 15 Aug 06 - 01:26 AM
Joe Offer 15 Aug 06 - 03:47 AM
MartinRyan 15 Aug 06 - 06:02 AM
Joe Offer 15 Aug 06 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,l-man 16 Aug 06 - 10:24 PM
Joe Offer 16 Aug 06 - 10:37 PM
Bob Bolton 16 Aug 06 - 11:41 PM
JesseW 17 Aug 06 - 01:05 AM
GUEST,l-man 18 Aug 06 - 01:33 AM
Joe Offer 18 Aug 06 - 01:57 AM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 18 Aug 06 - 10:30 AM
bill kennedy 18 Aug 06 - 10:39 AM
Rapparee 18 Aug 06 - 02:34 PM
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MartinRyan 09 Mar 07 - 01:31 PM
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Subject: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: JedMarum
Date: 19 Aug 99 - 10:29 AM

Reading Angela's Ashes I was reminded of a song I heard from time to time as a child growing up in the South of Boston. It seems my Irish extended family played or sang the song RODDY MCCORLEY, perhaps betraying their underlying repubican sympathies, but certainly planting a love for the song in my sub-conscious. I found an old song book at the Dallas library with the four verses and have begn playing it, but I am curious about the song's history.

My reference attributes the song to Ethna Carbery, but does not date the song. I have discovered Roddy was a young patriot following Wolfe Tone in an unsuccessful 1798 uprising, that Wolfe Tone killed himself rather than give his captors the pleasure of executing him, and that Roddy Mc Corley, as the song goes, chose to march to his execution in a defiant display of courage.

Anyone know any more about Roddy? Why was so young a man leading men in battle, as the song says? When was the song written? Is it still sung today in Ireland?


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: Wolfgang
Date: 19 Aug 99 - 11:27 AM

"Roddy McCorley was a Presbyterian from Duneane. He took part in the Battle of Antrim and went into hiding after it. After a year in hiding he was betrayed, tried in Ballymena and hanged in Toome on Good Friday 1799. There is another song on the same subject, written by Ethna Carbery in the 1890s. This song is an older ballad, probably composed in or soon after 1799."

Liam, that's what I have found in a search on the web (not much, I'd like to know more, too). Both songs are in the DT, the older one spells Rody.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: JedMarum
Date: 19 Aug 99 - 11:32 AM

thanks. I'll look up the older song as well.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: Wolfgang
Date: 19 Aug 99 - 11:43 AM

another bit found: Ethna Carbery wrote the newer (and better known) song in 1898 for the centenary of the rebellion.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: Wolfgang
Date: 19 Aug 99 - 11:55 AM

another bit:

"Ethna Carbery

Ethna Carbery was the penname of Anna MacManus, née Johnston, who was born in Ballymena, County Antrim in 1866. She and Alice Milligan founded the paper called The Northern Patriot and afterwards another called The Shan Van Vocht. She was married to the Donegal writer and folkorist, Séumas MacManus, and died in 1902."


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: Wolfgang
Date: 19 Aug 99 - 12:15 PM

Now I have found this bit which not only gives another date of death but also a less heroic tale:

"After the defeat of the United Irishmen many were unable to return to their former lives and instead became brigands. The most notorious gang in Antrim was led by a man named Thomas Archer. Initially Archer's gang were popular outlaws, exacting revenge on loyalists in the district but, as time passed, their actions became less political and more criminal. During early 1800 the members of the gang were systematically brought to justice and executed. Roddy McCorley was hanged at Toome on 28 February."

Who can help with the truth?

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: Big Mick
Date: 19 Aug 99 - 12:32 PM

I am about the business of seeing what I can find for you on this song and its history. I can tell you that it is indeed still sung in Ireland and with the 200th anniversary of the Rising of 1798 just past it has had something of a revival. The tune was also appropriated for a song about a latter day rebel, Joe MacDonald.

Just as a bit of extra for you, here is are the lyrics to a version of it in Irish. There may be some spelling errors in there, but I think it is correct, for the most part.

Ce/ hiad na sluaite fear is ban
Ag gluiseacht fan na sli/
Siad fir is mna/ o/ chnoc's gleann
'S o/ bhruacha Bhanna Bui
Ta/ faghairt 'na rosc 's feidhm 'na gcos'
Ta/id mall, ro/mhall, monuar
Mar ta/ Rodi Mac Corlai/ ag dul don chroch
Ar Dhroichead Tuam' innui.

Ani/os an tsra/id 's cheann go hard
A ghabh an sa/rfhear groi/
'S ro/p' a chrocht' ta/ fillte docht
Faoi chuacha o/rg' a chinn
Ni/l deoir na/ ne/al'na shu/ile gle/
Ta/id lonrach, gle/ineach, ciu/in
Agus Rodi Mac Corlai/ ag dul don chroch
Ar Dhroichead Tuam' innui

Dob i/ sin sra/id a ghabh se/ la/
'S pic 'na la/imh go dian
'Na dhiaidh aniar bhi/ bui/on fear fi/or
'S do/ chas ard 'na gcroi/
Go hAontraim ghluais an bhui/on go buach
Dob eisean ceann an tslua
Ach ta/ Rodi Mac Corlai/ ag dul don chroch Ar Dhroichead Tuam' inniu.
^^


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: Laura the Fiddler
Date: 19 Aug 99 - 01:58 PM

Young Roddy was presumably buried beneath the gallows, ick. Are there any recordings of the gaelic version? Thanks for shedding new light on one of my favorite songs!


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: Philippa
Date: 19 Aug 99 - 02:40 PM

what's that about Joe McDonald? the other rebel song I know to the Roddy McCorley tune is 'Sean South of Garryowen'


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: John Moulden
Date: 19 Aug 99 - 06:13 PM

The date Friday 28th February 1800 is indubitably correct. The event is reported in the Belfast Newsletter of the following Tuesday. This date is impossibly Good Friday. The points posted by Wolfgang concerning Roddy's involvement with Thomas Archer are largely true. However, the account in the Newsletter is filtered through a politics which would label all such people villains.

I believe that the truth is that Roddy was "out" in June 1798 but was not one of those for whom a reward was offered. Archer's gang was patriotic in intent, most of its activities consisted of robbing for guns or "punishing" those who were believed to be informers. However, they also committed some robberies and paid off old personal scores.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: Henry
Date: 19 Aug 99 - 09:18 PM

The reference to Mc Corley being a Presbyterian are contradicted by what I believe to be a ballad composed very shortly after his death wherein a reference is made to a Priest attending him. This particular song is not as popular as the marching tune "Young Roddy Mc Corley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today". In my personal estimation it is a much superior song and deserves to be more widely known. I can't help but draw a parallel between this and the two versions of "The Croppy Boy", one decidedly Victorian English in its expression of patriotism and the other more of the people. I would value John Moulden's comments. Henry


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: Big Mick
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 01:56 PM

What the hell is going on here? I posted a reply to Philippa the 19th or 20th and it has disappeared!!

I will try to recall it but it went something like:

OHMUHGAWD...........My credentials as being of a Republican persuasion just went out the window.............It is indeed "Sean South" and not Joe McDonald. I must have been distracted when I wrote that.........Shit, I hate it when that happens. I do "Sean...." as part of a medley of "Little Place called Ireland - Sean South - Boys of the Old Brigade". Thanks for the correction, Philippa. What is that now, 18 or 19?? Damn, Mick, pay attention.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: Roddy McCauley
From: GUEST,l_man
Date: 15 Aug 06 - 01:26 AM

What is the name of the traditional Irish melody that Ethna Carberry's song is sung to?


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Subject: RE: Roddy McCauley
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Aug 06 - 03:47 AM

Hi - there's a good discussion the tune for this song above, so I'm going to close l-man's thread and move the messages here so we don't split the discussion.
...but the quick answer is that the tune is "Sean South of Garryowen."
-Joe Offer-


Here's what the Traditional Ballad Index says about the song:

Roddy McCorley

DESCRIPTION: "Oh see the fleet-foot host of men..." who are hurrying to stage a rescue. "For young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today." They are too late. The song recalls McCorley's actions; he would not turn traitor even to save his life
AUTHOR: Words: Ethna Carberry (1866-1902)
EARLIEST DATE: c.1798 (Zimmermann)
KEYWORDS: Ireland rebellion death execution
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
February 28, 1800 - Rody McCorley hanged in Toome. (source: Moylan citing John Moulden)
FOUND IN: Ireland
REFERENCES (5 citations):
OLochlainn-More 100, "Rody MacCorley" (1 text, 1 tune)
Zimmermann 17, "Rody Mac Corly" (1 text, 1 tune)
Moylan 123, "Rody MacCorley" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 324, "Roddy McCorley" (1 text)
DT, RMCORLEY*

RECORDINGS:
The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, "Roddy McCorley" (on IRClancyMakem02)
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Rody McCorley" (subject)
NOTES: The Fiddler's Companion site says "McCurley was a County Antrim rebel leader in the rising of 1798."
The rebels [were] defeated at Antrim in June 1798. If any of [the details in the song "Rody McCorley are] accurate he might have been executed Good Friday, April 6, 1798 or, more likely, March 22, 1799.
Zimmermann: "Rody McCorley was hanged c.1798." [But see Moylan's note.]
A. T. Q. Stewart, The Summer Soldiers: The 1798 Rebellion in Antrim and Down, Blackstaff Press, 1995, p. 156, gives this account: "Of the Toome rebels are remembered at all, it is because of Roddy McCorley. A young Presbyterian from Duneane whose family had been evicted from their farm after the death of his father, he was in hiding for nearly a year after the rebellion before being betrayed, tried by court martial at Ballymena, and hanged 'near the Bridge of Toome' on Good Friday, 1799." In the footnote to this paragraph, Stewart adds, "Though hardly mentioned in Presbyterian annals, Roddy McCorley is a major figure in nationalist martyrology because he became the subject of a famous song." Guess which one.
Moylan: .". by Ethna Carberry (Anna [Johnson] MacManus b. 1866), was written in the 1890s and may have been based on ["Rody McCorley"]. - BS
According to Hoagland, 1000 Years of Irish Poetry, p. 775, the name was spelled "Carbery" (a spelling supported by Granger's Index to Poetry, though Robert Gogan, 130 Great Irish Ballads [third edition, Music Ireland, 2004], p. 112, has the spelling "Ethna Carbury"); her collected poems were published posthumously in The Four Winds of Erin. Granger's cites six of her poems; this, interestingly, is not among them. - RBW..
File: FSWB324

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


Here are the Digital Tradition lyrics:

RODDY MCCORLEY
(Words by Ethna Carberry; music traditional)

O see the fleet-foot host of men, who march with faces drawn,
From farmstead and from fishers' cot, along the banks of Ban;
They come with vengeance in their eyes. Too late! Too late are
they,
For young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome
today.

Oh Ireland, Mother Ireland, you love them still the best
The fearless brave who fighting fall upon your hapless breast,
But never a one of all your dead more bravely fell in fray,
Than he who marches to his fate on the bridge of Toome today.

Up the narrow street he stepped, so smiling, proud and young.
About the hemp-rope on his neck, the golden ringlets clung;
There's ne'er a tear in his blue eyes, fearless and brave are
they,
As young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome
today.

When last this narrow street he trod, his shining pike in hand
Behind him marched, in grim array, a earnest stalwart band.
To Antrim town! To Antrim town, he led them to the fray,
But young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today.

The grey coat and its sash of green were brave and stainless then,
A banner flashed beneath the sun over the marching men;
The coat hath many a rent this noon, the sash is torn away,
And Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today.

Oh, how his pike flashed in the sun! Then found a foeman's heart,
Through furious fight, and heavy odds he bore a true man's part
And many a red-coat bit the dust before his keen pike-play,
But Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today.

There's never a one of all your dead more bravely died in fray
Than he who marches to his fate in Toomebridge town today;
True to the last! True to the last, he treads the upwards way,
And young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today.

Recorded by Kingston Trio, Clancys. Additional words from RG, overheard
in the White Horse Tavern, NY in 1958
@Irish @rebel @death @war @death @war
filename[ RMCORLEY
TUNE FILE: RMCORLEY
CLICK TO PLAY
RG http://www.8notes.com/digital_tradition/gif_dtrad/ROCKYTOP.gif


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: MartinRyan
Date: 15 Aug 06 - 06:02 AM

Referring to the Etna Carbery poem/song, Joe (Offer) mentions in a recent thread now recycled to here, that "the tune is Sean South of Garryowen". This is true - but Roddy predates Sean! O'Lochlainn, in his More Irish Street Ballads book says that he doesn't know the origin of the "stirring march tune used" (or words to that effect.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Aug 06 - 02:33 PM

Ooops I got caught. I misinterpreted Philippa's message above. Thanks for catching it, Martin.
-Joe-


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Subject: joe offer
From: GUEST,l-man
Date: 16 Aug 06 - 10:24 PM

Sorry Joe, but "Sean,South Of Garryowen" are only WORDS that use the same tune as Roddy McCorley. What is the name of the actual - no doubt traditional - melody? I cant' seem to find it on the Roddy McCorley links.


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Subject: RE: joe offer
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Aug 06 - 10:37 PM

Hi, L-Man- Here (click) is the main discussion of the Roddy McCorley tune. Although the later song, "Sean, South Of Garryowen," uses the same tune, it appears that "Sean" got the tune from "Roddy McCorley" - rather than the other way around. As the thread says, the early source of the tune is unknown.
Let's keep the discussion in that thread.
I'm going to close this thread and move our messages to the existing thread.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 16 Aug 06 - 11:41 PM

G'day all,

I can't pick this up from my 'traced' threads, but I seem to remember a long discussion about many aspects of Roddy McCorley (and the song)... and somewhere it mentioned that the words were from late 19th century - but the tune was from (~) 1927. I would presume this was the product of post-rebellion fervour ... but I don't have the details - and it really is one for the Irish experts!

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: Source citations
From: JesseW
Date: 17 Aug 06 - 01:05 AM

Wolfgang gave various quotes without citing where they came from. Because I'm anal like that, I'm reposting them here with citations. ;-)


"Roddy McCorley was a Presbyterian from Duneane. He took part in the Battle of Antrim and went into hiding after it. After a year in hiding he was betrayed, tried in Ballymena and hanged in Toome on Good Friday 1799. There is another song on the same subject, written by Ethna Carbery in the 1890s. This song is an older ballad, probably composed in or soon after 1799."
* http://www.iol.ie/~terrym/1798.htm#track12 - What seem to be official liner notes for "The Croppy's Complaint - Music & Songs of 1798 / Craft Recordings - CRCD03"

"Ethna Carbery was the penname of Anna MacManus, née Johnston, who was born in Ballymena, County Antrim in 1866. She and Alice Milligan founded the paper called The Northern Patriot and afterwards another called The Shan Van Vocht. She was married to the Donegal writer and folkorist, Séumas MacManus, and died in 1902."
* http://www.scotsindependent.org/features/singasang/rody_maccorley.htm and http://www.iol.ie/~fagann/1798/songs7.htm (both used as bios for the author, presumably copied from each other); the scotsindependent one has a link to a MIDI file. Someone really should go and turn that into a tune recording on the DT...)

""After the defeat of the United Irishmen many were unable to return to their former lives and instead became brigands. The most notorious gang in Antrim was led by a man named Thomas Archer. Initially Archer's gang were popular outlaws, exacting revenge on loyalists in the district but, as time passed, their actions became less political and more criminal. During early 1800 the members of the gang were systematically brought to justice and executed. Roddy McCorley was hanged at Toome on 28 February."
* http://www.deochandorais.de/misc/98songs.htm (This bit seems to be written by the website author; but e provides a link to sources used, which we might find of interest...)

Enjoy, and don't forget to cite your sources!


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Subject: tune to roddy mccorley
From: GUEST,l-man
Date: 18 Aug 06 - 01:33 AM

The tune to Roddy McCorley is "MacPherson's Lament."


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Aug 06 - 01:57 AM

l-man, please try to post in an existing thread on your subject. It's not a good idea to start a new thread for every post. If the subject isn't on today's menu, use the filter to find old threads with that name - you can put "roddy" in the filter box and set the age back, and it fill pull up all the Roddy threads right away.

The tune I know for MacPherson's Lament/Farewell is this one (click), although I think I've heard variations. The tune I know for "roddy" is this one, although again I admit that there could be others. I guess I do hear similarities in the two tunes, but they're certainly not the same.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 18 Aug 06 - 10:30 AM

"MacPherson's Fareweel" is also known as "The Freebooter", and was supposedly composed by the man himself, and performed - by himself, no less - immediately before his execution in 1700. The earliest set of the melody I've seen is in the Key of F, tho' I think it tends to be played (on Fiddle, at least) in G or A; and there are many variations, both of melodic line and embellishments. In sowthing over this air, and those I learnt for "R.McC" and "S.S.", there certainly appear to be similarities. Unfortunately for the legend, altho a James MacPherson was hanged in 1700, there's no record of his having been a fiddler. Robert Burns nearly a century later made a song from the Broadside of MacPherson's Last Testament, giving a dramatic and defiant twist to things thoroughly in accord with the potential of the melody.

In a related vein, if "Henry" from all of seven years ago is still around, I found your parallel between the two sets of "Rody McCorley" and the two sets of words called "The Croppy Boy" an appropriate one, though in my estimation the later set, "Good men and true in this house who dwell" (by "Carroll Malone"/Dr James McBurney, late 1830s) is far superior as a dramatic production, whatever may be said of the authenticity of "The Old Croppy Boy", beginning "It was early, early in the Spring" and surely from around 1798. However, to describe Malone's expression of patriotism as "Victorian English" can't be accurate, unless of course the "patriot" to whom you referred is the Yeoman Captain, snarling,
"'Amen', say I, may all Traitors swing!"

The melody chosen by "C.M", incidentally, is "Cailin Oge co Stuire me", the Young Girl from the River Suir, generally attributed to the blind harper T. O'Carolan (see recent thread)


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: bill kennedy
Date: 18 Aug 06 - 10:39 AM

If you don't have it I recommend you all get a copy of One Green Hill: Journeys Through Irish Songs by John McLaughlin. It tells the story of Rody McCorley and many other irish songs. well worth having.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: Rapparee
Date: 18 Aug 06 - 02:34 PM

Thanks. "Roddy" has long been one of my fave raves (sorry!), and the info about "The Croppy Boy" is also enlightening. I was going to post about "McPherson's Lament" but Joe beat me to it.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: GUEST,weerover
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 12:51 PM

I'll second what Bill says about "One Green Hill", I'm sure Big Tim is too modest to mention it himself. An excellent read for anyone interested in the stories behind the songs.

wr


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: GUEST,Gaeilgesinger
Date: 13 Sep 06 - 11:50 AM

I have the Irish words for the first three verses from a printout I received in Irish language class. Credited as author is Micheál Ó Siochfhradha, brother of Pádraig (An Seabhac).
I see it's from a book of song lyrics because it sits on page 27 facing Rosc Catha na Mumhan by Piaras Mac Gearailt on page 26.
If anyone is familiar with this book as I have only the single page printout, please let me know so I can look into purchasing the whole.

go raibh míle maith agaibh


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: GUEST,mjnear toomebridge
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 06:20 AM

i have come here by acccident, but find this very interesting reading.what i know of roddy he was church of ireland and whilst he fought or may not have fought in the battle of antrim, he was an opportunist and stole or plundered in shanes castle estate in antrim the english army wwere fooled many times by him and the head buck who's name escapes me took roddy's act as a personal insult, yes he was tried in ballymena, marched to toome where his gallows were built on the bann bank and from stones taken from shanes castle estate(or so it is told) the gallows was designed to swing over the water when roddy was dropped, he was then cut down taken to the then police station and drawn and quartered inside where his kin watched through a window, this remains were buried under the road where all traffic passing through toome woould go over him. many years later a relative of roddy's was empolyed to make a new road, a different route was to be taken, the remains were taken up and given a christian burial in duneane church of ireland, however the local loyalist people who believed roddy to be a catholic,irish rebel, desecrated the grave, so he was apparently moved again and, is still in duneane church of ireland ground unmarked. his traitors mc erlain and finnison were hated by the people about who sympathised with roddy. mc erlains remains i dont know where they are but finnison is buried in cranfield church ground which is now an ancient monument but still taking in residents, this i know because my parents are buried a few feet from finnison. i hope this helps it has been passed down word of mouth, and read as part of school history


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 09:08 AM

Very interesting additional information: thanks to mj, near T.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: Declan
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 12:45 PM

If Gaeilsinger is still around, the book you refer to is probably Abair Amhrán a book of songs first produced, I think in the late fifties or early sixties, for the use of Irish language enthusiasts.

It contains contemporary translations into gaelic of a whole range of songs, some traditional and others popular songs of the day. Many mistakenly believe that the Gaelic versions are the originals and the english versions are the translations, but quite often this isn't the case. I used to have copies of this book and if I can locate them I'll confirm that this is the book and any information that it might contain aboujt the song, provenance etc, although this is usually very sparse.

As for Sean South (Sabhath), this is a much newer song dating from an incident in 1956, so that song is sung to the Roddy air rather than the other way around.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: Den
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 01:10 PM

Shane MacGowan does a very stirring version of Roddy on one of his solo projects. Its always been one of my favourites.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: MartinRyan
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 01:31 PM

Declan

You're dead right about Abair Amhrán - just checked it.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: MartinRyan
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 01:32 PM

First published 1962, BTW

Regards


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: Big Tim
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 01:36 PM

Roddy is buried in Duneane Church of Ireland graveyard near Toome. I have visited it but the exact site in now unknown, vandalised into oblivion. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that he belonged to that Church, as Catholics were often then buried in various Protestant graveyards.

Most serious historians, for example A.T.Q. Stewart, say that Roddy was a Presbyterian - but cite no historical documents in evidence. My own view is that the circumstantial evidence suggests that he was more likely to have been a Catholic. This is based on his surname, a Gaelic one, his mother's maiden name, also a Gaelic one, and the fact that it was a sermon by the local Catholic priest, Father Devlin, that swayed the local community into betraying his hideout to the Rasharkin yeomen (in 1800).

Tho I do find his religion to be of interest, more interesting to me is what was his role in 1798, and afterwards, - was he a hero or a villain? If anyone has any evidence on this, please post it.

Thank you Bill Kennedy and wr for the positive comments on my book 'One Green Hill:Journeys through Irish songs' - I believe that some copies may still be available from the publisher's website !

PS Much as I love Shane MacGowan, his version is the worst ever!


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: Den
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 02:47 PM

Just your oppinion though Tim. Probably holds as much water as my own.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: facts behind RODDY MCCORLEY
From: GUEST,mj near toomebridge
Date: 22 May 07 - 08:27 AM

hi again i am here at present with a man well versed in his history and veery well versed in roddys history
roddy was a catholic his father was caught skinning a sheep belonging to colonel bruce a bellaghy land lord and was transported to van diamens land where he died some years later
roddys mother married a republican orrs a blacksmith by trade and was engaged in making pikes for 1798 ( i am going to be shown one of these pikes yes he has them)
and this was how roddy became involved with the battle
rumour had it among the country men that mc erlain was angry with roddy and helped in his capture because the young miss mc erlane was pregnant to roddy remember this was only a rumour and cant be proven
we may get back soon and add more i hope you find this helpful and interesting


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 14 Jun 08 - 04:50 AM

Attempting to post here; maybe the forum doesn't like Tinyurls...

Presbyterians were among the leaders of the 1798 Rising, especially in Antrim.

For an on-the-spot account of that Rising, try this
book by a Kildare Quaker.


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: Big Tim
Date: 14 Jun 08 - 10:24 AM

The problem with trying to get at the truth about Roddy is that few reliable historical records survive. I spoke to various people in an around Toome and also checked the local collection in Ballymena Library. Over the years lots of people have written little pieces on Roddy, most of unprovable, and this has then taken on a sort of historical veracity - 'somebody has written this and it's in Ballymena Library, so it must be true'. But not necessarily.

Two of the more persistent stories concern the Ballaghy link and the transportation of Roddy's father. These traditions are so strong that I feel there must be something to them. Then of course there is the older Roddy ballad which touches on many of these aspects. The ballad writer COULD have made it all up but I feel that there is so much detail in the song that at least some of it is probably true.

Again tho, I think that the main question concerns his part in the 1798 Rebellion. He was definitely hanged for robbery and murder in 1800 but what did he actually do in '98 to gain such a heroic reputation? Anyone know?


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: trevek
Date: 14 Jun 08 - 01:39 PM

Whether Roddy's name is Gaelic is not necessarily to say he was Catholic. Don't forget many Ulstr Protestants wer of Scottish stock. Wolfe Tone was Protestant, as was Henry Joy McCracken (I believe).

Shane McGowan's version of the song is a joke. For someone who knows so much about Irish history and culture (as he claims)moved McCorley's death from County Antrim to County Galway "on the bridge of Tuam today".


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: Big Tim
Date: 14 Jun 08 - 01:52 PM

Of course Tuam and Toome have the same Irish Gaelic derivation!


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: trevek
Date: 14 Jun 08 - 01:57 PM

Perhaps, but today they have a different spelling!

Wikipedia's take on RM: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roddy_McCorley


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 14 Jun 08 - 04:53 PM

Catholic Schmatholic, Gaelic Schmaelic, Scottish, umm, Schottishe. Irish and Planter were mixed, whether officially or unofficially, in many families.


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: Big Tim
Date: 15 Jun 08 - 01:00 PM

Yes, Henry Joy was a Protestant, as were most of the United Irishmen in the north.

McCorley and McErlane (Roddy's mother's maiden name) are Irish names, not Scottish. In Toome, I was assured that McCorley is a VERY Catholic name. Obviously this does not guarantee that R was a Catholic but it seems more probably.

The older Roddy ballad says Roddy was a Defender, an almost exclusively Catholic organisation. Very few Catholics rebelled in the north but Defenders did take part in the Battle of Antrim.


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: ard mhacha
Date: 15 Jun 08 - 02:08 PM

The important point is Catholics/Nationalists in the north of Ireland couldn`t care less about his religion, in fact I have never heard it mentioned.
McCracken, Tone, Samuel Orr and all of the other freedom fighters were held in such high esteem by the Nationalists that even to-day GAA teams and Nationalists clubs bear the names of those Protestant heroes.


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: Reiver 2
Date: 15 Jun 08 - 02:43 PM

"Roddy McCorley" was a favorite song of The Reivers and is a very stirring tune. I've not tried to research it, and can only relate what we heard about it from a variety of sources. We understood that Roddy was involved in the '98 Rising, that he was a protestant and that many of that persuasion were involved, especially in Antrim, in that Rising. I always understood that "Sean South of Garryowen" was sung to the tune of "Roddy McCorley" and not the other way around. Does anyone know for sure which came first? We also were informed that Roddy was not hanged from a gallows, as some in this thread suggest, but that the method used was to fasten a rope to the bridge, secure it around his neck and push him off. In the song he's a very heroic figure, and the information in the thread to the contrary, while interesting and probably true, sort of spoils the effect. Another of many "heroes" who turn out to have had feet of clay?

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: Reiver 2
Date: 15 Jun 08 - 02:46 PM

I forgot to add that the song as we sang it bore no relation or resemblance to MacPherson's Lament (Rant or Farewell). It would appear that the only thing they have in common is that the subject of both songs died by hanging.

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: Big Tim
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 05:08 AM

Roddy was written in 1904. Sean South was born in 1928.


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: ard mhacha
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 07:40 AM

Right Tim, I was almost there at its birth.


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: trevek
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 07:55 AM

which one, ard? Roddy or sean?


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: GUEST,Neil D
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 10:02 AM

From: GUEST,mj near toomebridge
Date: 22 May 07 - 08:27 AM

hi again i am here at present with a man well versed in his history and veery well versed in roddys history
roddy was a catholic his father was caught skinning a sheep belonging to colonel bruce a bellaghy land lord and was transported to van diamens land where he died some years later
roddys mother married a republican orrs a blacksmith by trade and was engaged in making pikes for 1798 ( i am going to be shown one of these pikes yes he has them)
and this was how roddy became involved with the battle
rumour had it among the country men that {mc erlain was angry with roddy and helped in his capture} because the young miss mc erlane was pregnant to roddy remember this was only a rumour and cant be proven

From: Big Tim
Date: 15 Jun 08 - 01:00 PM

Yes, Henry Joy was a Protestant, as were most of the United Irishmen in the north.

McCorley and {McErlane (Roddy's mother's maiden name)} are Irish names, not Scottish.


    Assuming that mj(Roddy's betrayer) and Big Tim(Roddy's mothers maiden name) are both correct, is it possible that Roddy was betrayed by a kinsman.


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: Big Tim
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 11:04 AM

Much of this has already been discussed on a previous thread. This should really be read, rather than repeating everthing on this thread.

Just search under Roddy McCorley and the thread will come up, it's called 'Roddy McCorley: date of origin'. Perhaps someone better at tech than me could provide a link?


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: MartinRyan
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 12:14 PM

BigTim

Some kind JoeClone has put a link to that thread at the top of this one!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: Big Tim
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 03:09 PM

Right enough Martin, but has anyone read it!


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 03:42 PM

'One Green Hill', by John McLaughlin, published by B.T.P. Publications Ltd in 2003, is an interesting book which delves into the background of Roddy McCorley and a number of other Irish songs.
The songs tend to be a little lightweight, but the author seems to have done his work well and it's very readable.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: MartinRyan
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 03:56 PM

BigTim

OK, OK!
Click here for the earlier thread!

Regards

p.s. Re the last post:   He, he!


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: Jimmy C
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 02:29 AM

I lived in Toomebridge for nearly 6 years as a boy. The story we heard was that Roddy's mother was a McErlean from Bellaghy and that Roddy was betrayed by a cousin, over a feud about some land. WE never heard anything about his father although he may or may not have ended up in Van Diemens Land. We heard he was a bit of a highwayman and was in trouble with the authrities before and after the 98 insurrection. WE always assumed he was a non-catholic, not that it matters. Most of the rebels were in fact Presbyterians with a good numbers of catholics, the story is that many of the catholics ran away home when the fighting got rough around Randalstown and Antrim. I have been to the memorial many times. I will be there again this September and may get to visit Duneane.


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: Big Tim
Date: 17 Jun 08 - 03:35 AM

Jim, I am actually the author of 'One Green Hill', which is why Martin is chuckling. 'Lightweight' - never! Thanks for the compliment tho - all copies of the book have now gone.


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: Gulliver
Date: 23 Jul 08 - 11:46 AM

Big Tim wrote: Roddy was written in 1904. Sean South was born in 1928.

But the author, Ethna Carberry, died in 1902.

I think it was already mentioned here that she wrote the song at the time of the '98 commemoration, which would have been 1898.

Don


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: Big Tim
Date: 23 Jul 08 - 02:27 PM

My mistake, a disadvantage of posting from memory.

It was first published in 1902: in the Carberry (Anna Isabella Johnston MacManus) poetry collection 'The Four Winds of Eirinn'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: emjay
Date: 23 Jul 08 - 02:42 PM

Off the subject of Roddy McCorley, but since MacPherson has also been mentioned in this thread, with some suggestion that he was not a fiddler, I will. I remember seeing in the National Geographic several years ago, a picture of a broken fiddle supposedly MacPherson's. The caption said it was in a (or the) MacPherson museum in Scotland. I don't remember the date but if I come across it in my collection of Geographics, I'll post that information.
Martie


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: GUEST,McErlean
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 04:16 PM

does anybody know what roddy mccorley's mothers first name was? it would be really really helpful if someone could help me


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: Marc Bernier
Date: 06 Sep 08 - 04:07 PM

Years ago there was a Irish woman, named Maura I believe, who worked at the front desk at the Griswold Inn in Essex,Ct.USA. Whenever anyone sang Roddy McCorley, she'd come into the bar and tell the story of her Great Great ... ? Grandfather or Uncle or someone being the hangman who hung him. I'm suprised I don't recall all the details of the story I'v certainly heard it enough times.


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: GUEST,Jamieson
Date: 22 Feb 09 - 01:12 PM

I am told I am a great great (add as many as you like) nephew of Roddy McCorley. This from my uncle James Jamieson's geneological research. He was admittedly prone to hyperbole at times. His mother was Mary Flynn.

Does anyone know the geneology of Roddy's siblings?


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 12:47 PM

There is a McErlean grave in Ballyscullion, CO. Antrim, not far from Toome. And members of the family still live there.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 11:28 AM

Around Toome in Ulster Roddy McCorley was always known as a protestant rebel and member of the United Irishmen. His mother was recorded as being a Presbyterian. The fact that her name was gaelic is neither here nor there. Many, if not most Ulster Presbyterians have gaelic names, though they are usually of Scots gaelic origin, eg. Craig, Neil, McLean, etc. In fact his mother's name, McErlean, is almost certainly Scots rather than Irish in origin. the details about his da are not so clear.

One thing you have to watch out for over this sort of topic in Ireland is that there is a definite move by some people of a catholic background to claim certain people and songs which they admire for their own rather than acknowledge than they originated in the "protestant" community. This movement has grown in strength in recent years. Songs affected are, "Sam Hall", "Henry Joy", "Roddy McCorley", "Love is pleasing", "Peggy Gordon", "Carrickfergus",(yes, it may have been translated into Irish gaelic, but this doesnt mean it was from Munster)and many others. The origins of Irish folk songs can be checked in Henry's authorative, "Songs of the People". When a good prod song can not be "nicked" then they sing it badly as a sort of joke, eg. "The ould orange flute" as performed by the Dubliners. This is all part of a demonization process. An attempt at cultural emasculation to prepare the ground for the widespread dismissal of a whole group of people. Its biggest exponents in recent years in Ireland have been the PIRA, but we all know were it was born - Nuremberg! Watch out!


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: MartinRyan
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 11:34 AM

Hi GUEST

Carrickfergus translated into Gaelic? Love to know where you came across that - not in Henry anyway. There is a macaronic song which contains verses in Irish and in English - but it's definitely NOT a translation in either direction.

Regards

p.s. If you want to stir up political controversy here - better attach a name to GUEST and stick to it. Otherwise you're likely to be deleted.


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 12:45 PM

I have always loved this song, and sung it many times. This has been a really interesting read. The discussion reminds me of a point an old friend tried to make with me years ago. We were locked in one of those endless arguments about "folk" vs. "commercial" songs. He argued that, particularly with respect to Irish or other traditional music, you can see it from one of two perspectives.

First, the words of songs as they reflect history and belief, whether composed or handed down over time. There are passions connected to this that transcend melody or form. I studied folk music as a sort of vernacular literature in two college classes I truly enjoyed. I see and understand why following the evolution of a song such as Roddy McCorley occupies many of us.   

The other study is the musical one - certain songs become popular because they were friendly to the ear, lyrical, memorable or done by someone who helped make them so. In a few cases, you can have it both ways.

Sometimes, a song such as Roddy McCorley becomes widely known simply because of a popular recording by, in this case, The Kingston Trio in the 1960's. The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem gave The Risin' of the Moon and The Auld Orange Flute wide exposure, along with a lot of other Irish songs not widely known outside Ireland prior to their time.      

I am often fascinated by the history of a song, the tradition from which it comes and so on. Selfishly, though, most performers need songs that make a connection with the listener. In that quest, the musical side usually wins out. Audiences, especially now, don't have the patience to endure a history lesson. They want to be entertained.
I guess that is why "traditional" folk music is, and has been, mostly done in more intimate venues and not for larger commercial audiences.
I don't think that's at all a bad thing.


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: GUEST,Roy McLean
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 02:14 PM

Hi Martin Ryan,

So you're going to have me deleted, are you? I guess what I said makes you feel uncomfortable or maybe you just like deleting people.

My primary motive here is not to stir up political controversy, as you put it, but just a long overdue attempt to put the record straight and to warn people of a particularly pernicious trend which is being carefully nutured by various people with the aim of denigrating other people. Also, I have never liked cultural bodysnatchers! I might add that I dont like people who issue veiled threats to others either.

The Carrickfergus thing relates to the fact that some people claim the song to be a Munster one. As I recall, this is based on the fact that someone (i think it may have been one of the Clancy brothers)heard it being sung in Gaelic by a street musician near Cork in the 1950s. My point is that quite a few songs have been written in English and then translated/interpreted into Gaelic and vice versa. Consequently, the language of performance does not necessarily indicate the origin of the song.

However, more annoying was the reaction of one Ulster Catholic acquaintance of mine who said he didnt believe the song was from the "North of Ireland" (to use a Steinbeckism) because "it was too beautiful" to have been written by anyone there. I assume he includes his fellow co-religionists (40%approx of the NI population) among that band of incapable "anyones"!

For your information my name is ROY McLEAN. I trust this will help you in your noble, community spirited efforts to get me deleted.

PS. Please, no more advice about giving names and "sticking to things"


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: MartinRyan
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 02:57 PM

Hi Roy

Nice to meet you! I've no intention of trying to have you deleted - on the contrary, my comment was made in the hope that you WOULD supply a name and not fall foul of the "no anonymous postings in threads" rule around here. This is pretty strictly applied in threads with political content and less strictly in those that stick to music. That's all.

So - back to the music. I have a particular interest in the Carrickfergus/Do bhí bean uasail song, the earliest evidence for which seems to be a 19C. broadsheet song called The Young Sick Lover. This has verses in English alternating with verses in (phonetically rendered) Irish. The verses are not translations of each other.

If you know of any evidence for the Carrickfergus set on its own, before, say, mid 19C. - I'd be very interested in seeing it. Equally, I'd love to see a set in Irish pre-dating the Young Sick Lover date. I've seen no trace of it. I have absolutely no idea which, if either, came first - and I doubt if anyone else does.

Like most singers, I also have met the sort of ignorant comments you encountered. My usual reaction is to wait for an opportunity to slip in a song that shifts their perspective on a familiar one.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: meself
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 03:09 PM

Now we'll see if a soft answer really does turneth away wrath ...


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: MartinRyan
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 05:23 PM

Click here for the main thread on Carrickfergus

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 06:20 PM

Glad it was established, more than once above, that Roddy McCorley antedates Sean South. A similar tune is also used for ' The Sash my father wore' and also the Scottish Breakaway. The latter is cerainly later , as it mentions the second Liz, but what about the sash?


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: MartinRyan
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 06:30 PM

Can't say I see much resemblance between the tunes of Roddy and The Sash . As far as I know, the latter derived from "The Hat my Father Wore" the tune of which which in turn seems to derive from one of several songs called "Irish Molly". There's a long discussion of it around here somewhere...

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 06:55 PM

The guys I learned all of these from, Scottish celtic supporters, used more or less the same tune, maybe they did it to annoy protestants.


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: GUEST,Roy McLean
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 08:32 PM

Regarding whether Roddy McCorley was a protestant or not I would like to offer the following. I have relatives from the same area Roddy McCorley was from and over the years I have heard many stories about the 98 rebellion and characters involved in it. Here are some of the things I have heard and also discovered about Roddy and people he associated with. I will include personal "thoughts" where appropriate.

[1] He was a protestant rebel from Duneane. His mum was documented as being a presbyterian (parish record). However, the McCorley Family seem to have had a burial plot in the local Church of Ireland (COI)churchyard. This was later destroyed by vandals, but records of it still exist and I believe someone even has photos of various McCorley headstones. One of the last burials in the plot was a certain Rodger McCorley who was buried in 1760. This would appear to be Roddy's grandfather. Apparently the name "Rodger" ran in the McCorley family. Someone in the thread above mentions that catholics often used to be buried in prod church yards. I have consulted clergymen from both sides of the divide over this and they all regard it as being extremely unusual. The general consensus is that the catholic clergy in particular would have done their best to prevent it. Moreover, the idea that catholics could have held a family plot in a prod church yard was though to be basically impossible.

[2] Roddy's da is a rather vague figure. He owned a mill, but he disappeared from the scene very suddenly. Some people say he was transported for sheep stealing or because of his political beliefs. However, no record of his trial or subsequent transportation has ever been found. Interestingly, amongst local people there is a persistant rumour that all was not well in Roddy's family and that is was divided by a bitter dispute over land or property or something. Some people have linked Roddy's da's sudden disappearance to this dispute and indeed even Roddy's own later betrayal and capture. Anyway, after the departure of his da the mill passed to his da's brother, ie. Roddy's uncle. His mum subsequently remarried a presbyterian guy from Randalstown, a United Irishman(UI) called Orr. It was this man who inducted Roddy into the UIs.
THOUGHT: If Roddy's da owned a mill, he was most unlikely to have been a catholic because the Penal Laws of the time would not have allowed it. Some people have attempted to explain this by saying his da was not a mill owner , but merely a mill worker. However, if this were the case the mill could not have "passed" to Roddy's brother as it would not have been Roddy's da's to pass, as it were.

[3] After the rebellion, a number of rebels formed themselves into various bands rather than surrender, eg. The Dickson Crew, The Steele Gang, etc. One of the best known of these bands was the "Tommy Archer Gang". An ancester of mine was a member of this gang and another member of it was a certain Roddy McCorley. The gang leader, Tommy Archer was an interesting person who has been much missrepresented, not least by the Roddy McCorley society of West Belfast who describe him as a member of the catholic Defenders, but sure wasn't Mother Theressa a good prod, God bless her! Archer was a protestant shoemaker from Ballymena. He was also a member of the local militia. However, he appears to have become greatly impressed by the cause of the United Irishmen and he eventually rallied to their banner. By all accounts, he fought very bravely during the rebellion particularly at Antrim. I have heard two good songs about him. One in Donaghadee & Belfast and the other in Carrickfergus. Bizarrely, in one he is referred to as "Wullie" Archer. Don't think the Dubliners or Wolfetones will be recording either of them, though! Anyway, Archer and his boys became outlaws in order to survive, take revenge on certain individuals and gain money to further their cause. Yes, there may have been some private pocket lining, but certainly in Archer's own case he seems to have been a true "patriot" and revolutionary who genuinely believed in his cause and was not interested in personal wealth. The Archer Gang, of which Roddy was a member, were described by the authorities as being a group of around 8-10 "desperados", all presbyterians. Tommy Archer himself was later tried and executed in Ballymena. Tommy and Roddy had together both succeeded in escaping from government forces prior to their executions.

[4] It is worth noting that in the immediate aftermath of the rebellion quite a lot of the prod rebels had started to feel a certain resentment towards catholics. This was because of the following reasons: Firstly, they felt that the catholics had failed to really support them in the Ulster Rebellion; Secondly, the relatively few catholics (mainly Defenders)who had risen had either refused to fight, as at Ballinahinch or run away when things got tough, as at Antrim; Thirdly, catholics had acquired a growing reputation as informers. The catholic church had condemned the rebellion in no uncertain terms and ordinary catholics were being exhorted by their clergymen on a daily basis to betray the vile rebels; Lastly, the protestants were becoming increasingly turned off by the increasingly vicious sectarian flavour of "Catholic Irish Nationalism" as shown by the wholesale slaughter of prods by the Boys of Wexford and others. These feelings were a large part of what drove the prod descendents of the 98 rebels into the ranks of the Orange Order later on in the 1800s. THOUGHT: Anyway, back to the Archer Gang, I think the question must be asked - How likely is it that Roddy would have been welcomed into a closely knit gang of protestant exrebels if he had been a catholic, given the emotions of the time? Maybe he would have been. I am not sure.      

[5] After his capture Roddy is supposed to have said words to the effect, "If I had stayed among my own presbyterian folk I would never have been betrayed." Similar sentiments are attributed to him in the two poems, however, interestingly the word "own" has been ommitted in them. THOUGHT: If he did say the words, "my own presbyterian folk", this would be a strong indication that he considered himself a presbyterian.

{6} After Roddy's execution one of his buddies in the Archer Gang, a certain Sam Neill, is rumoured to have said perhaps in a foretaste of the great Jimmy Hendrix: "Twas a cruel shame what they did to Roddy, but ye can tell ma folk, didna worry there aint no hangman gonna put a tow rope around me." Interestingly, Neill was never caught. Some say he made it to America or France. Others that he lived out his days peacefully in another part of Ireland under an assumed name. I wish I knew.

[7] Regarding the Father Devlin business at Roddy's execution. I can find no mention of his presence at Roddy's execution either in newspapers or government reports. I feel his sudden appearance may have been an attempt by the catholic church or individual catholic romantics to "write themselves into" what was essentially in Ulster a "protestant rebellion". The catholic church, despite having forcefully condemned the rebellion, was very keen to exploit the rising tide of nationalist feeling that was growing among ordinary people. It did this by grossly exaggerating the role of catholic clergymen in the rebellion. Also, the asthetic, romantic catholic poets of the day would have felt much more "sexy" about themselves if they could have claimed to be part of 98. "Lets face it, its the sexiest show in town. All those lovely green jackets with gold trim. Why leave it to a lot of dour prods. Never mind that they did the fighting and dying."

[8]Of course, if Toome was as catholic then as it is today then there may not have been any prod clergy around and any self respecting catholic clergyman would probably have felt himself honour bound to attend to a dying fellow christian.

[9] Another point is that certain sections of the government would probably have been quite keen on portraying rebels as "mere catholics" in the hope that it would diminish them in the public eye. The prod rebellion had been a big shock to them. They had just lost America to the Scots-Irish and now they were about to lose Ireland or at least Ulster to them as well. They would rather pretend that it never happened. This was undoubtedly the reason behind the extension of the amnesty to most prod rebels after 98.

[10] Regarding the name "Roddy". This can be seen as a more informal version of Roderick, Roger or even Rodney. It can also be seen as an anglisation of the Gaelic name Ruaidhri particularly in Ireland or Scotland. Some people (Big Tim above)have also claimed it to be an informal version of Rory from Gaelic Ruairi. However, while it seems that names like Roddy, Rory, Roy, etc. share the same root in Gaelic of "red" something or other, it seems to me that Roddy(Ruaidhri) and Rory(Ruairi) are two distinct names. I only know of one Irish catholic called Roddy and that is Roddy Doyle, but I know quite a few Irish protestant Roddys. You would probably find that most catholic Roddys are named after Roddy McCorley rather than being called Roddy as a diminutive or informal rendering of Rory. I don't know any Rorys who are referred to as Roddy whatever religion they are. Roddy is much more common in Scotland than in Ireland. I think in relation to Roddy McCorley, the case for seeing the Roddy part of his name as standing for Rory(usually a catholic indicator in Ulster)is very weak, especially when he himself was officially named in government records as Rodger and that relatives of his were named Rodger on their tombstones.      

[11] I am well aware that most of the above is in the realm of folklore and hearsay and as such will be of little consolation to a man like Big Tim who craves hard facts. However, I have good news for Tim. Surely all this business about whether Roddy was a prod or not could be sorted by a quick look into the local church records under births, deaths and marriages. The catholic records do not go back very far, early 1800s if you are lucky, but the prod ones should go back much further. It should be very easy to work out what Roddy and his family's religous affiliation was. I would do it myself, but I happen to be far,far away across the foam at the moment.

Regards ( to Martin Ryan: I am looking into the Carrickfergus thing. More later. To "meself": How's your wrath?)

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: meself
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 12:37 AM

Thanks for that post; it is very interesting, indeed.

(As for "wrath" - well, you must admit you did seem a little, um, "touchy" in your earlier response to Martin Ryan. My own wrath is on smoulder at the moment, thank you.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: MartinRyan
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 03:01 AM

Thanks for that, GUESTRoy

I'm heading off for a fortnight well away from the Internet and will look forward to a good look at your post when I get back.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: GUEST,Roy McLean
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 04:09 PM

An error has been pointed out to me concerning my most recent post above which I should like to correct. The last line of point two should of course have started with the words, "passed to Roddy's DA'S brother" rather than "passed to Roddy's brother". Sorry for any confusion caused and also for the various spelling mistakes. I wrote in great hurry, in the middle of the night, in 35 degree heat minus air conditioning while the marimba dance music drifted up from the bar below. However, its not the Marimba, but another song that enters my mind -
               
      "Then tell me Willie Wilson, tell me why you hurry so
       Has Tommy Archer called you and the other boys to go
       A riding round the country from the Port up to Coleraine
       A searching not for gold, but blood for those lay slain"

No prizes for guessing the tune!


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: GUEST,Roy McLean
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 11:22 AM

"Then tell me William Wilson, tell me why you hurry so
Has Tammy Archer called you and the other boys to go
A riding roun the country from the Port up to Coleraine
Searching for your comrades whom they say have died in vain

By the waning a the moon, by the waning a the moon
We ride wi Tammy Archer by the waning a the moon

We search not for our comrades whose names we mind wi pride
Who fell outside ould Antrim town or by Bann water side
Our quest is for fair booty to maintain our noble cause
An crush the hands would slave us under foreign foeman's laws

We ride out on the darkest night, no moonbeams light our way
No bridle glint or flickered flint our presence doth betray
And when dawn streaks the eastern sky at peeping o the day
By mountain glen or wooded height ye'll find us far away

Death to all informers, those men who're bought and sold
Base cattle in the market place, so shameful to behold
Ye know we hai no pity, our hand we will not stay
Wi your liver and your inards inards the price ye'll surely pay"

... with respect to the folk at Bonnie Before, Carrickfergus


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: GUEST,Roy McLean
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 05:01 PM

Re my post above(5 up)which touches on the subject of catholic burials in protestant church graveyards, I have just received further information from one of the clergymen who I initially consulted and who told me he thought it highly unusual. This gentleman tells me that after our conversation he did some further digging and has since found out certain things which have caused him to revise his opinion. It appears that while it is extremely unusual in living memory, catholics were, in fact, sometimes buried in prod churchyards in earlier times. He gives examples of three catholic burials from the 1700s in Lambeg Church of Ireland(COI)(can drums waken the dead?). It seems that this was as a result of the Penal Laws which curtailed the construction of religious buildings/sites for denominations other than the established church, ie. COI. This led to catholics along with dissenters sometimes, if not often, being buried in COI churh yards as they were the only ones available at the time. It seems that this practice continued up to the beginning of the 1800s when the Penal Laws started to be relaxed. It must be remembered that Roddy was not buried in Duneane COI until around 1860, so maybe his burial in a COI churchyard at this relatively late date could still be seen as an indication of prod religion.

As a matter of interest, many years ago I remember asking my own grandfather, a presbyterian, about family burials. He told me that his own grandfather had told him that long ago the family members were all buried in a corner of a particular field on the family farm rather than in any churchyard. There was no marker, but everybody knew where the corner was. He told me the name they gave to this burial corner. It was an ancient sounding word, but sadly I can not remember it now. Can anybody help? He said that this was the common practice among presbyterians at the time.
The above post about catholic burials in prod churchyards is from me. Sorry, I forgot to add my name. Regards ROY McLEAN (you see "meself", my wrath is postively mouldering now, not even smouldering. What a pussy I've become!)


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: meself
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 05:44 PM

Better have the doc check your testosterone levels ... !


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: GUEST,big tim
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 08:11 PM

According to the two standard works on the subject, 'The Surnames of Ireland' by Edward MacLysaght (1957), and 'The Surnames of Scotland' by Robert F. Black (1946), both McCorley and McErlane are surnames of Irish Gaelic origin.


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: GUEST,Roy McLean
Date: 01 Aug 09 - 02:22 PM

I agree both McCorley and McErlane seem to be of Irish Gaelic(IG) origin. However McErlean(Roddy's mum's name)as opposed to McErlane, seems to be of Scots Gaelic(SG)origin to me. The "lean" ending is a give away. The fact is, as I'm sure you realise, its difficult to be dogmatic about these things because if you go back far enough they were probably all Irish as we are told that it was ancient Irish tribes who first brought the Gaelic language with them to Scotland. In this way all Gaelic can be seen to have basically Irish origins.

Leaving aside the question of nationality, religious affiliation is a different matter again. Religion depends on various factors, such as time scale, ie. did emmigration occur before or after the "Scottish Reformation". For example if we take the name Maginess if the name holder's ancestors emmigrated from Scotland before the 1500s he will probably be catholic, but if they arrived after the 1500s he will probably be protestant. The other main factors were the Penal Laws and intermarriage(according to some researchers, this was much more common that many people today believe, especially between catholics and presbyterians - Oh for the good old times!!). The point I'm trying to make is that surnames in Ulster, whether they they be of IG,SG or whatever orgin are not always a sound indication of religion. I personally know of many protestants with names like: Murphy, O'Boyle, O'Neil, Kelly, Ennis, McIlwaine, Donnan, Feeney, Healey, Conor, Quinn etc, etc.(particularly on the Shankill Road and North Down). Moreover, I know of many catholics with names like: Adams, Hume, Bell, White, Smith, Hastings, Jones, Fitt, Carson, Stephens, Williams, Johnson etc. Its all a bit of a minefield. I find it fascinating. This name "crossover" thing is so common that I feel that we do not really understand the real nature of it. Its true origins are probably buried under centuries of bigotry and propaganda. (to "meself", surely there are more pleasant and fulfilling ways to test your testosterone than going to the quack!)


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: GUEST,GUEST, Roy McLean
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 07:45 PM

To "meself",
What an old fraud you are!! I just saw your post on the "Carrickfergus" thread. You really got stuck into that "Aisling" fella!(last June) Talk about "smouldering wrath"! Still he deserved it. Better get out off here before Marty gives me a bollicking! Keep well.


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: GUEST,Jerome Colburn
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 02:02 AM

Thanks, all, for the interesting posts. From this thread I first learned of the Archer gang. Roy's mention (on 7/16/2009) of Tommy Archer being called "Wullie" in a song raises the question of a relationship to Willie Archer (The Banks of the Bann). Thoughts?


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: meself
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 11:01 AM

Hmmm - just caught GUEST,GUEST,Roy McLean's last post, from two years ago - not sure what he was on about - but then, checked my post on the Carrickfergus thread, and not sure what I was on about -


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: GUEST,Roy McLean
Date: 22 Dec 12 - 02:52 PM

Greetings Jerome! Thomas Archer seems to have gone by various forenames. I believe "Thomas" was his proper given name, but he is often referred to colloquially as "Tam" ( a Scots abbreviation of Thomas/Tom); "Tom" and even "Willie/Wullie". The latter name may have been simply a case of an outlaw using an alias. Alternatively, maybe his given name was "Thomas William Archer" from which all the others mentioned here could have been legitimately derived. In one song Ive heard he was described as "Dark Tam" a man of "medium height, but extremely powerful build, like a bull".


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: GUEST,gutcher
Date: 22 Dec 12 - 07:33 PM

Have just read the whole of this thread.
Two comments:--Anent Roddys father having been transported to Van Demians Land, surely the time scale precludes this.
Erland was/is a good Norse name in Shetland. Easy to see how it would become McErlan/d on its journey down the west coast of Scotland and over to Ulster.


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: GUEST,Beachcomber
Date: 23 Dec 12 - 08:25 AM

I do not post this thread in order to cause any kind of political controversy nor is it because I have any preconceived ideas about rebels and rebellions. I would like just to know if the IRA leader in Belfast in 1920s named Roger McCorley was , in fact, the descendant of the Roddy McCorley being discussed in this thread ? I believe that Roger subsequently joined the Free State Army with a commission after the signing of the Anglo -Irish Treaty Agreement ? Can anyone verify or otherwise ?


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: MartinRyan
Date: 23 Dec 12 - 04:10 PM

Never heard the story - and suspect it would be well known if true or even likely. Any sources?

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: facts behind 'Roddy McCorley'
From: GUEST,GUEST, Wee Pat
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 12:20 PM

just a filling piece as I have lived in the area......

the mcerlanes are still plentiful in the Ballyscullion area where Roddy was supposedly betrayed by both the mcerlanes and the duffins. There is an old story in the area of the widow mcerlane stirring the pot of porridge saying it wasn't warm enough - biding her time until the militia came for Roddy. The Mcerlanes still get chided for their part even to this day - its like an unwanted stain on their character.

As to whether Roddy was catholic or protestant - I always heard he was a protestant but from a mixed marriage. His father owned a mill in the Duneane townland (at lismacloskey or milltown) both of which are right beside the COI church he his buried at. Incidentally, I know numerous people who claim to be related to him and all are catholic as are the Mcerlanes and duffins from ballyscullion.


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