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Origins: The Old Cow of Killylock / Killylough

GUEST,John Moulden 12 Jun 13 - 03:04 PM
MartinRyan 12 Jun 13 - 03:15 PM
GUEST 12 Jun 13 - 03:22 PM
GUEST 13 Jun 13 - 06:50 PM
Artful Codger 14 Jun 13 - 12:04 PM
GUEST,John Moulden 14 Jun 13 - 03:03 PM
GUEST,John Moulden 14 Jun 13 - 03:55 PM
GUEST,John Moulden 14 Jun 13 - 03:55 PM
MartinRyan 21 Jun 13 - 04:21 AM
Jim Dixon 26 Jun 13 - 12:59 PM
GUEST,John Moulden 27 Jun 13 - 07:06 AM
GUEST,John Moulden 28 Jun 13 - 09:31 AM
MartinRyan 28 Jun 13 - 11:24 AM
GUEST 28 Jul 14 - 11:57 PM
GUEST 29 Jul 14 - 12:11 AM
GUEST,leeneia 29 Jul 14 - 10:54 AM
Fergie 29 Jul 14 - 12:04 PM
Mo the caller 30 Jul 14 - 11:56 AM
GUEST,jhon murphy 11 Oct 14 - 06:48 PM
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Subject: Origins: The Old Cow of Killylock
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 12 Jun 13 - 03:04 PM

The song in the DT The Old Cow has been puzzling me for some time.

After a request, made a few weeks before his death earlier this year, by the traditional singer Charlie McGonigle (James Eoghain) of Cloontagh, Clonmany in the Inishowen peninsula of Donegal, for a song he called "The Ould Cow of Bellanlough" - a song his brother Pat had also been seeking. I came across it (while looking for something else, of course)as "The Old Cow of Kinlough" recorded by Séamus Ennis from Thomas Moran of Mohill Co Leitrim, for the BBC in 1953. A search using some of the words in that song led to the version attributed to the Kenny Family, Newfoundland which in the DT. These I passed on to Charlie and Pat.

However, the song's passage to Newfoundland, in better shape than any version from Ireland, irritated me. So, once again, serendipity: I find that the song was written by James O'Kane (1832-1913), a subsistence farmer of Swatragh, Co Derry. He was known locally as "The Miller Kane" and more widely as "The Bard of Carntogher" (a hill in the area). He called it "The Killyleagh Cow" after the town of the name in Co Tyrone (there is another, better known, in Co Down. His poems were collected and published, in 1938, by Michael Hurl, a London based journalist (and the author of "Sweet Omagh Town")who came from the Swatragh area. Another collection, containing the poems in the 1938 volume, augmented by versions in the Sam Henry collection (including unpublished papers), was published, edited by Cíarán Ó Maoláin as "The Bard of Carntogher: the poems of James O'Kane" by the Broc Press of Plymouth, in 1982; with my help.

If there is a barrage of requests I will consider posting the words of the original song. It's not as singable as some of its derivatives.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Old Cow of Killylock
From: MartinRyan
Date: 12 Jun 13 - 03:15 PM

Consider this the first shot in the barrage...


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Old Cow of Killylock
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Jun 13 - 03:22 PM

Yes i would be very interested in seeing the lyrics of the original song


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Old Cow of Killylock
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jun 13 - 06:50 PM

With chune, if possible.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Old Cow of Killylock
From: Artful Codger
Date: 14 Jun 13 - 12:04 PM

Sorry, someone ate my cookie while my back was turned; last post was mine.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Old Cow of Killylock
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 14 Jun 13 - 03:03 PM

Sorry, no tune is possible. Does the DT have one?

Here, following a (minor) barrage of requaests, are the words of the original, and of Thomas Moran's version. Comparison shows that the Moran and Kenny versions both incorporate the same considerable changes.

The Ould Cow of Ballylough (associated with local Bellanlough – next to Mindoran)

"It's of a ancient ould cow that lived at Ballylough– but she was so thin that she
was hough banned, crough banned, narrow too behind, skinny-linged and jinny-linged, a board across her eyes,

she ate a plough and harrow, and Peter' at the lough,
And she nearly ate the plenishing around Ballylough" –

Pat looked for it unsuccessfully (?Killalough).



THE OLD COW (James O'Kane, Swatragh, Co Derry. 1826-1913)

There's a town called Killyleagh, and a man resided there
Who had an aged cow that he brought to many a fair
But, as she was full of mischief and could not be guaranteed
He always brought her home again, a sorry man indeed.

She was head-stalled and leg-stalled till she could hardly rise
She was haugh-banned and cross-banned, a board across her eyes
She was crumpled of the horns, she was curled on the skull
And she never finished eating for she never could get full

She first attacked a beggarman and put him off his pins
And next she charged a tinker and scattered all his tins
She then assailed a policeman when coming from the town
And with all his Acts of Parliament she pinned him to the ground.

As he lay there, they say, when she stunned him with a pelt
She proceeded to relieve him of his bayonet and his belt
Saying "Now my saucy policeman I'll have you to repent:
For the day that you and Lennox tried to seize me for the rent.

You ill-used me, abused me and hunted me around
Welted me and pelted me and put me in the pound
But I'll have satisfaction in spite of British law -
I'll murder every peeler in the town of Maghera."

Some of her dreadful thieveries I now will let you hear:
In the year of '69 when the hay and straw were dear
She ate a stack of corn that belonged to Frank Kane
Likewise a rick of clover owned by Barney McErlean.

She ate head-gowns and bed-gowns, and other sorts of wear
Jennylines and cinolines and bows off women's hair
She stole a Garibaldi from Neely of the shore
And scattered all the plenishing from Toome to Tobermore.

She once was apprehended and entered in the law
For tackling a lady from the town of Maghera
The lady wore a bonnet and a beauty of a shawl
But went home, alas without them, for the cow had ate them all.

On the morning of her trial a tremendous crowd was there,
All raging, rampaging, against her for to swear
There were counsellors from Macknagh and attornies from Halfgain
And forty-seven witnesses whose oaths could not be ta'en.

With the tearing and swearing the Book itself was tore;
The Court declared such language they had never heard before;
The cow stood there in misery and never dared to speak,
But thought her days were ended and the tears ran down her cheek.

But the brute was cute, for they'll tell you till this day,
In the middle of the bullybait she bolted clean away;
She wrote a letter afterwards, or so, at least they say,
To her owner, Mickey Toner, in the town of Killyleagh:

"I've my grub and my tub - I can hardly eat it all,
I'm never fed on heather like the beasts of Mayogall,
I'm rolling in fine clover here convenient to Armagh,
And bad luch attend the rotten straw that grows round Maghera."

It's clear that the original has been much changed in moving towards the version in the DT. Clues as to how this might have happened is provided by another traditional singer's performance.

The Old Cow of Kinlough - Thomas Moran, Mohill, Leitrim (doubful words bear an *)

In [the village of] Kinlough*, an ould man that was there,
He had an aged cow that he brought to many fairs
She had so many bad faults he couldn't guarantee
And he fetched her home again and a sorry man was he.
When this ould cow come home again her fame went all round
She was ill-used, she was abused, she was often in the pound
The picture of Satan was printed in her face
And she seemed to carry vengeance to the whole human race

She was hough*-banned, cross-banned, board across the eyes
She was curled on the tail, she could hardly rise
You could see he had a fear that the cow he couldn't sell
And she had so many bad faults he was ashamed to tell

She was humped on the tail she was curled on the skull
And for nineteen years before that she never seen the bull.
She faced* upon the policeman one day going through the town
And with all his Acts of Parliament she brought him to the ground.
And the policeman lay there and he calling out for help
And the cow still demanding his bayonet and his belt
She says my saucy policeman I'll make you now repent:
For the day you and long major* seized on me for the rent.

Now this maid in the shade lay as happy as a queen
Poor crummy all alone she was grazing on the green
Looking out for a chance when the bonnet she espied
Oh she slipped off the hoose*-band and up she did rise.
She roar and she tore of the bonnet in the air
Saying Cead Mille Failte, you are welcome there
I'm looking for a long time for something made of straw
Since I ate the Garibaldi me teeth is good and aw*.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Old Cow of Killylock
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 14 Jun 13 - 03:55 PM

The tune used by Thomas Moran is very similar to "Hot Asphalt" aka Bonaparte crossing the Rhine (hornpipe).


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Old Cow of Killylock
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 14 Jun 13 - 03:55 PM

The tune used by Thomas Moran is very similar to "Hot Asphalt" aka Bonaparte crossing the Rhine (hornpipe).


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Old Cow of Killylock
From: MartinRyan
Date: 21 Jun 13 - 04:21 AM

Thanks, John - just seeing this now.

Regards


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE OULD COW (H. B. Kane)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 26 Jun 13 - 12:59 PM

From Tony Pastor's Book of Six Hundred Comic Songs and Speeches by Tony Pastor (New York: Dick & Fitzgerald, 1867), page 38:


THE OULD COW.
Written by Mr. H. B. Kane, Killylough, County Derry, and sung by William Carleton.

Air—"The Cuckoo's Nest."

Up in Killylough, a man he lived there.
He had an aged cow he brought to many a fair.
She had so many bad faults, he could not her guarantee,
So he fetched her home again; a sorry man was he.
She could stick; she could kick; she was narrow too behind.
She was a thief; she had bad teeth; and for milk she had no sign.
You may see by her appearance, the man could not her sell.
She had a great many other faults he thought ashamed to tell.

It's when that she came home again, her fame went all around.
She was ill-used; she was abused; she was often in the pound.
She had the picture of Satan just printed in her face,
And she seemed to carry vengeance to the whole human race.
She was head-stalled, leg-stalled, a board across her eyes.
She was hock-baned, cross-baned, till she could hardly rise.
She was rumped on the tail, and curled on the skull,
And for nineteen years before she never seen the bull.

One fine summer's evening, she some way lost her legs.
She seized upon a rag-man, his bag and all his rags,
And she next attacked a policeman who was coming from the town,
And with all his Acts of Parliament she brought him to the ground.
As he lay there, they say, calling loud for help,
The cow still demanded his bayonet and his belt.
"Ah," said she, "my saucy policeman, I'll make you to repent
For the day that you and Lennox seized me for the rent."

It's some of her eating I mean to let you hear.
In the year of '59 when the fodder it was dear,
She eat a stack of corn of a man they call Frank Kane,*
Likewise a cock of foreign grass of Bernard Mackerlane.
She eat head-bands, bed-gowns, and other kinds of gear,
She eat crinolines, Jenny Linds, and bows of women's hair,
And she eat a Garibaldi of Felix at the loch,
And she nearly eat the plenishing of all Killylough.

But now she is apprehended, and entered in the law,
For meddling with a fair maid that came from Maghara.
She had a dandy bonnet and likewise a shawl,
And for a while's diversion she parted with them all.
As this maid in the shade lay as happy as a queen,
While Crummie all alone she lay grazing on the green,
And looking for her prey, the bonnet she espied,
So she slipped off the hock-band and up she did rise.

She roared and she tore up the bonnet in the air,
Saying, "Caed Mille Faltha, but you are welcome here,
For I am looking out this long time for something made of straw.
Since I ate the Garibaldi, my teeth is good, you know."
She roared and she tore up the bonnet in the air,
Saying, "Caed Mille Faltha, but you are welcome here,
For I am looking out this long time for something made of straw.
Since I ate the Garibaldi, my teeth is good, you know."


[* Note the song's author is also named Kane.]


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Old Cow of Killylock
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 27 Jun 13 - 07:06 AM

Jim Dixon, Many thanks for this very useful reference; good research!

The text you quote is actually from Will Carleton's "Dandy Pat" Songster, one of ten sections of the Tony Pastor book. It was published in 1864.
What we have are two apparent claims to authorship - HB Kane, Killylough and James O'Kane Swatragh. The latter was born in 1832 and so was over thirty when the Dandy Pat Songster was published. Is it possible that these claims are for the same person? The 1938 volume to which I referred at the outset of this thread was compiled by a journalist who had never met The Miller. I conjecture that the version in the Songster could be his original and that the version, in much less assured verse, in the 1938 volume, has been confused in oral transmission. The reference to 'a garibaldi' is consistent with an origin around 1860 when Garibaldi's campaigns to unify Italy reached a successful conclusion. The Garibaldi was a blouse-like garment, adapted from Garibaldi's characteristc wear, worn by women.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Old Cow of Killylock
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 28 Jun 13 - 09:31 AM

I decided to look for James O'Kane in the Irish Census Records. These are online for 1901 and 1911. The only James O'Kane who was 78 in 1911 (ie born 1832) lived in the townland of Tullykeeran. He also had a son Francis and this fits with the Frank O'Kane who communicated some of his father's songs to Sam Henry. I consulted the 1 inch Ordnance Survey map of the area (Third Series, revised 1958-9, amended 1967) and find Tullykeeran at 280404 (to the nearest kilometre). About 3 km away, to the south-east, towards Maghera, is Killelagh Lough. This must be the place given in the song as Killylough or Killyleagh. Of the other places mentioned in one or other version, Macknagh is a further 3 km west of Killelagh. Halfgain is not on the maps I've been looking at but is within about a km to the south-east of Maghera.

The two orally transmitted texts - that of Thomas Moran and that of the Kenny family - have affinity with the text in the Will Carleton Songster. This helps us understand the lines of tranmission better than we did.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Old Cow of Killylock
From: MartinRyan
Date: 28 Jun 13 - 11:24 AM

Good work, as ever.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Old Cow of Killylock / Killylough
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jul 14 - 11:57 PM

I just happen to come across this blog and was very interested. I am the great granddaughter of James O'Kane. I thank all of you for your interest and comments. My mother, Margaret McPeake, was his granddaughter. I have visited Ireland and the North of Ireland many, many times even living there for a year at one time and nine months at another time. I have often heard people talk about the "Miller Kane" and have heard them sing many of his songs, especially around Swatragh, Maghera and Tamney,etc. and more importantly after having a "wee bit of the good stuff."

Thanks for your interest.

Margaret Murphy


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Old Cow of Killylock / Killylough
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 12:11 AM

I forgot to mention that the Frank O'Kane mentioned is my
great uncle Francis O'Kane, who my mother adored and who also wrote poetry The Barney McErlean mentioned is probably their neighbor. The McErlens lived next to them and were great neighbors.

Margaret Murphy


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Old Cow of Killylock / Killylough
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 10:54 AM

This is an enjoyable song. I looked up garibaldi

a woman's or children's loose blouse, originally bright red in imitation of the shirts worn by Garibaldi and his followers.

The original Garibaldi was an Italian patriot. I used to live down the street from a bar named Garibaldi's.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Old Cow of Killylock / Killylough
From: Fergie
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 12:04 PM

Great work being done on this thread. Well done to everybody especially John Moulden, for his forensic research into old songs and ballads. Ferg


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Old Cow of Killylock / Killylough
From: Mo the caller
Date: 30 Jul 14 - 11:56 AM

Garibaldi .... I didn't really think it was, but the word brings to mind garibaldi (squashed fly) biscuits, a sort of sandwich with currants in the middle. Thanks for the other meaning.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Old Cow of Killylock / Killylough
From: GUEST,jhon murphy
Date: 11 Oct 14 - 06:48 PM

I was thrilled to see your excellent scholarship regarding my great grandfather, Miller Kane. As a young boy I spent summers in Northern Ireland in one of the residences of the Miller. In addition to the book published by Broc Press, there appears to be a later reprint which I have had difficulty obtaining. If any readers no how these would be obtained, the information would be greatly appreciated. John Murphy, JFLMurphy@yahoo. com


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