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Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs

GUEST,jim bainbridge 14 Feb 16 - 02:51 PM
GUEST,# 14 Feb 16 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,Mike O'Leary-Johns 14 Feb 16 - 04:32 PM
Thompson 14 Feb 16 - 04:59 PM
GUEST 14 Feb 16 - 06:56 PM
mg 14 Feb 16 - 07:29 PM
GUEST,Musket 15 Feb 16 - 03:08 AM
MartinRyan 15 Feb 16 - 04:09 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 15 Feb 16 - 03:23 PM
Matthew Edwards 16 Feb 16 - 11:22 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 16 Feb 16 - 11:58 AM
GUEST,# 16 Feb 16 - 12:52 PM
GUEST,Jim Martin 17 Feb 16 - 06:11 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Feb 16 - 07:04 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 18 Feb 16 - 01:03 PM
GUEST,John Moulden 18 Feb 16 - 02:45 PM
MartinRyan 18 Feb 16 - 03:40 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 19 Feb 16 - 05:14 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Feb 16 - 05:41 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 19 Feb 16 - 07:36 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Feb 16 - 08:28 AM
GUEST,Desi C 19 Feb 16 - 11:48 AM
GUEST 20 Feb 16 - 01:27 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 19 May 16 - 09:17 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 04 Jun 17 - 01:08 PM
GUEST,henryp 04 Jun 17 - 05:48 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 09 Jun 17 - 12:25 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Jun 17 - 08:27 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 10 Jun 17 - 04:09 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 14 Feb 16 - 02:51 PM

There was a thriving coal industry in Arigna,, on the Roscommon/Leitrim border until closure in 1990.
There was plenty of traditional music (and still is) in the area- the great flute player John McKenna worked at Arigna before leaving for New York.
However, I can find no songs at all from any Irish coalfield (I think there was another one in Kilkenny?) There are plenty of Irish-American songs about the Molly Maguires etc and also UK songs of Irish origin- eg 'Johnny Seddon', from Durham, where many Irish worked in that coalfield.
The John McKenna festival hope to present an event at this year's commemorative festival about McKenna and the Arigna mines, so any pointers to such songs would be much appreciated!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: GUEST,#
Date: 14 Feb 16 - 03:26 PM

http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/mckenna.htm

No luck with any songs from the times the mines were open. There was a CD from a few years back of songs inspired by the area and the mines.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: GUEST,Mike O'Leary-Johns
Date: 14 Feb 16 - 04:32 PM

Jim a piper I know Neil Mulligan {his Father was from Leitrim }
Collaborated with a Poet from Leitrim . To do a programme of Poetry and music about a Miners Strike in the seventies at amine there.
I cannot recall the poets name .
I am not sure if there was something from that which might help.
I will mail Neil and ask if there is any thing that might help .
They might be aware of songs which might be exist.
Mike


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: Thompson
Date: 14 Feb 16 - 04:59 PM

Perhaps 'thriving' is the wrong word. I recall a radio programme that described the miners lying in icy water underground to chip out the coal, and the owners of the mine driving Mercedes.

But coal mining isn't really a *thing* in Ireland. It doesn't have a personality, as it had in England.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Feb 16 - 06:56 PM

Expired cows "going to make calf meal above in Roscrea".. that was a song from the forties or fifties or sixties or seventies about a trade that didn't last beyond the nineties. The composer (I can't remember who) lived in the agricultural community where cows were seen unromantically by all but sympathetically by some. The mining community of Arigna would in many cases have been from a similar community, where the reaction {of people who could) to any remarkable event would be to make a song. But agriculture was ingrained in society, mining was not, so the composition of songs would revolve entirely around the chance of a writer, a recipient community, and after that someone to remember that the songs existed. And since Arigna mining lasted for such a short period, perhaps it's not surprising that any songs they made were not recorded or remembered. The last miners will be old now.. is anybody talking to them?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: mg
Date: 14 Feb 16 - 07:29 PM

i was surprised to find out that there were mines in the dingle area..which supposedly is why so many from dingle migrated to the butte montana area. you might find some irish-american songs from there.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 15 Feb 16 - 03:08 AM

Irish coal mining songs are about as rare as East Anglian mountaineering songs.

Now, peat cutting....

Mind you, as with most contemporary folk songs, I was bemused to see MacColl's Schooldays Over, as written for the radio ballad The Big Hewer on a compilation album of "traditional Irish songs." There was the usual John Connolly song on the same album of course...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: MartinRyan
Date: 15 Feb 16 - 04:09 AM

Wot Thompson said.

The West Cork/Kerry mines, incidentally, would have been for copper - and did indeed result in pockets of Irish miners in western USA and Canada. For that matter, some of them in turn would have been Welsh (or Cornish?) - it was a portable trade!


Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 15 Feb 16 - 03:23 PM

Thanks for that info, Mike- am at present working on an item about TP Mulligan, so Neillidh knows me & could be a source of info, for sure!
Please let me know of any results & see you at Whitby?

Other contributors a little dismissive of Arigna's 400 year history- the small, primitive mines were part of the Arigna community just as much as farming - it certainly was 'thriving' -- it wouldn't have lasted otherwise. The miners didn't thrive, that's a given, but it was very much part of the local culture for a very long time.... any more ideas welcome- it all helps


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 16 Feb 16 - 11:22 AM

Guest# mentioned a recent CD of songs and music inspired by the 400 years of mining at Arigna; it is Scars on the Mountain by Colin Beggan and Frank Molloy, but it doesn't seem to include any traditional material as such.

Vincent Woods quotes his own poem in an Irish Times article about the mines, which perhaps illustrates just why the story has almost vanished from the record:

"What's history, he said
I'll tell you what it is
History is the other man's story
The man who owned the pit
Not the story of the likes of us
Who worked in it"


I'm sure that John McGahern, who is mentioned in the Irish Times article, also wrote about the mines somewhere - I'll see if I can find any more.

Matthew


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 16 Feb 16 - 11:58 AM

Thanks Matthew- if you can find anything in McGahern's work, a pointer would be great- have read several of his books but not recently. There was an excellent RTE radio 1 programme about Arigna a few months ago, to which Vincent Woods contributed- think it was in July- the whole hour was devoted to it- 'Sunday Miscellany' which is at 9.05 every Sunday morning

As you say little 'traditional' material in the 'Scars on the Mountain' although that's not to criticise it, just not quite what we are after... it probably doesn't exist


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: GUEST,#
Date: 16 Feb 16 - 12:52 PM

Jim, an email to librarians in towns located near the places the mines were might turn something up. Also, maybe ask the people who frequent the following Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/Arigna/

Also, it could be worth a phone call to

http://www.arignaminingexperience.ie/

Their contact info is on that page.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 17 Feb 16 - 06:11 AM

Some info about Tipperary anthracite mining:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballingarry_Coal_Mines


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Feb 16 - 07:04 AM

Mining was once a widespread occupation in Ireland - it is inconceivable that there aren't songs about it.
Many of these were probably locally made and didn't travel from their areas, and died when the mines did - it has been our experience that many of these survived locally in one form or another, sometimes in the memory of a single singer, and occasionally in family notebooks - Clare is particularly rich is such songs (though none on mining)
There are mining museums at Allihies, Cork (copper mining) and at Castlecomber in Kilkenny.
May be of some use
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 18 Feb 16 - 01:03 PM

Thanks Jim and all who have helped. I am in no doubt that there WERE mining songs in Ireland, although the industry was never on the scale of that in UK, and it always had a rural aspect- there are great photos from Arigna of earlier days, all very rural, if a little blighted by the relics of industry- interesting though!
I lived in East Kent in the 80s, and recall the view of Tilmanstone Colliery near Deal, with fields of apple blossom behind- an amazing sight- don't think any songs survive from there either?
The survival of much of the Co Durham and Scottish repertoire may well be due to collectors in those intensely industrial areas since WW2.
So as far as I'm aware, the equivalent never happened in Ireland, where such concentrated industry simply never existed anyway.
So it seems a whole tranche of industrial song has been totally lost, if it ever existed!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 18 Feb 16 - 02:45 PM

I think Sam Henry collected at least one song about lead mining in the Glenravel area of north Antrim - if it's felt to be relevant I'll hunt it out.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: MartinRyan
Date: 18 Feb 16 - 03:40 PM

I'd be interested to see that, John.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 19 Feb 16 - 05:14 AM

Yes, thanks John- sounds like a unique example, but we live in hope!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Feb 16 - 05:41 AM

Much of the Irish repertoire remains to be 'mined'
It's been our experience in Clare over the last thirty odd years that we only scratched the surface (puns intended)
We have found many aspects of Irish life recorded in locally made songs (the same is the case in parts of Britain).
One old singers told us a couple of years ago that "if a man farted in Church, somebody made a song about it".
I'm convinced that, as research into social history becomes more popular, more songs will emerge - this kind of work is really a book full of blank pages.
It might be worth examining Tom Munnelly's massive collection of field recordings at The Folklore Department at U.C.D. - largely untouched.
Concentrating on areas that had mines might well turn up something.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 19 Feb 16 - 07:36 AM

John Moulden- you mentioned a mining song from the North Antrim area(were there coalmines there?). I mentioned in my very first post a song collected in Durham 'Johnny Seddon' which is a come-all-ye song about the death of a miner. The late Betty & Norman MacDonald did a fine version on a CD some years back.
The song was collected from a collier (Thomas Mitchell) of Irish descent in Chopwell, Co Durham in 1953.
However, Karl Dallas, in his 1974 book 'Songs of Toil' says...

'Sam Henry collected a fuller version.... from Mrs Sara Morrow of Broughshane, Co Antrim, who called it 'My handsome collier lad'

- is this the song you mean, John?- you mentioned Sam Henry...

'Johnny Seddon' does not seem to be on the Mudcat lyrics list, but it seems was recorded by Jez Lowe 30 years ago


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Feb 16 - 08:28 AM

The Blantyre Explosion (of course Scots) was recorded from Joghn Maguire by Robin Morton and can be found of volume two of Folksongs Sung in Ulster.
I'm pretty sure that Johnny Seddon was recorded from a source singer by Cathal McConnell but I could be wrong about that
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 19 Feb 16 - 11:48 AM

There was indeed a major coalmine in Kilkeny, just outside the town of Castlecomer where I was borm, my father and other relatives worked there, one or two even died there. It was also the richest source of black Marble as mentioned in the song Carrickfergus and much of Kilkenny city's archttecture is built of black marble. Oddly though, I don't know of any Irish coal mining songs.As you say plenty of American and Englih ones. but I will make some enquiries


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 16 - 01:27 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 19 May 16 - 09:17 AM

Well we didn't get anywhere re these songs- aiming at an event at the forthcoming John Mckenna Festival- at Arigna on 12 June- 3pm.
There are songs from the US, Britain and Oz, plenty of tunes but no songs--and i told my pal Ed Pickford about this lack of material- he produced several within a couple of weeks- what a man.
There was copper/barytes 'mining' (more like quarrying really) in the part of West Cork where I used to live but no songs.

Did Ewan MacColl collect in Ireland?- even if he did, the industrial base would have been so much less important musically than in UK that maybe he'd struggle to find anything vaguely industrial even then? Seamus Ennis seems to have concentrated mainly on the music.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 04 Jun 17 - 01:08 PM

Well, a year later, with thanks to all your constructive comments, we went ahead with the event at the Arigna Mining Experience last June with plenty of local music but no local songs- except some written by that amazing Ed Pickford man from Sunderland.
You can see it on youtube under John McKenna Festival at Arigna or something like that.
It was a highly enjoyable event with inputfrom Janet Weatherstone, Andy Redican and Charlie McGettigan and if anyone has found any Irish mining songs in the past year we're doing it again next Sunday 11 June at 3pm so come & sing it for us!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 04 Jun 17 - 05:48 PM

Andy Irvine wrote A Prince among Men;

A gold watch and chain inscribed James Doyle
Never seemed much reward for a life of such toil
But I keep his lamp burning and his old union card
And his bones rest here in this sunlit graveyard.

Only a miner killed under the ground
Only a miner and one more is found
Killed by accident no one can tell
Your mining's all over, poor miner, farewell.

It's a good song, but there are no direct references to Ireland. The words of the chorus draw on Poor Miner's Farewell (Aunt Molly Jackson's 1932 variant of John Wallace Crawford's "Only A Miner Killed" of 1879) printed in the Red Song Book, Workers Library Publishers of New York, 1933.

http://jopiepopie.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/only-miner-1927-only-hobo-1963.html


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 09 Jun 17 - 12:25 PM

Plenty of singers for the event at Arigna Mining Experience on Sunday 11 June at 3pm- not sure how many songs will be Irish, but that's not the point is it? All contributions equally welcome!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Jun 17 - 08:27 AM

There were planty of Irishmen working in mines over in Britain.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish Coal mining songs
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 10 Jun 17 - 04:09 PM

that's quite so McGrath- the Irish, Welsh and Cornish were glad to leave the horrors of 19th century Ireland for work in Britain, although often were simply used by the mineowners to break strikes, undercut wages etc.
One of the worst was Lord Londonderry- his statue was removed from the Market Square in Durham for refurbishment of the square a couple of years back- the man was no better than an aristocratic slavedriver and thug- why the HELL was it put back?
The incomers were innocent victims of unscrupulous capitalists at that time, but in later years became more appreciated contributors to the mining workforce, insofar as the miners got any credit at all from the British ruling class. It seems there are many more Irish flavoured (tunes, phrases) mining songs in Britain than in Ireland- maybe because of the fact that few song collectors ever looked for them?


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