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Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?

GUEST,paperback 24 May 18 - 10:04 PM
The Sandman 24 May 18 - 04:56 PM
Jim Carroll 24 May 18 - 03:21 PM
David Carter (UK) 24 May 18 - 02:48 PM
Jim Carroll 24 May 18 - 12:45 PM
David Carter (UK) 24 May 18 - 12:25 PM
David Carter (UK) 24 May 18 - 12:23 PM
John Moulden 24 May 18 - 11:35 AM
Jim Carroll 24 May 18 - 09:03 AM
David Carter (UK) 24 May 18 - 08:42 AM
Jim Carroll 24 May 18 - 06:18 AM
David Carter (UK) 24 May 18 - 03:16 AM
GUEST,Greg F. 23 May 18 - 09:16 PM
Jim Carroll 23 May 18 - 07:09 PM
GUEST,paperback 23 May 18 - 04:45 PM
David Carter (UK) 23 May 18 - 04:42 PM
The Sandman 23 May 18 - 04:26 PM
David Carter (UK) 23 May 18 - 03:44 PM
Jim Carroll 23 May 18 - 03:18 PM
David Carter (UK) 23 May 18 - 02:19 PM
GUEST,Observer 23 May 18 - 02:11 PM
Jim Carroll 23 May 18 - 01:42 PM
Jim Carroll 23 May 18 - 01:05 PM
David Carter (UK) 23 May 18 - 12:28 PM
GUEST,Craig 23 May 18 - 11:42 AM
GUEST,Observer 23 May 18 - 11:04 AM
Jim Carroll 23 May 18 - 10:51 AM
Jack Campin 23 May 18 - 10:32 AM
Jim Carroll 23 May 18 - 09:09 AM
Jim Carroll 23 May 18 - 08:48 AM
David Carter (UK) 23 May 18 - 08:02 AM
Jim Carroll 23 May 18 - 06:46 AM
Howard Jones 23 May 18 - 04:04 AM
David Carter (UK) 23 May 18 - 02:32 AM
Jim Carroll 22 May 18 - 08:17 PM
David Carter (UK) 22 May 18 - 04:18 PM
GUEST,Observer 22 May 18 - 03:34 PM
The Sandman 22 May 18 - 12:30 PM
Jim Carroll 21 May 18 - 03:21 PM
GUEST,Harry Rivers 21 May 18 - 03:05 PM
GUEST,Observer 21 May 18 - 03:01 PM
Jim Carroll 21 May 18 - 02:50 PM
GUEST,Harry Rivers 21 May 18 - 02:37 PM
David Carter (UK) 21 May 18 - 02:19 PM
The Sandman 21 May 18 - 02:11 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 19 May 18 - 01:18 PM
Howard Jones 18 May 18 - 05:06 AM
Jim Carroll 18 May 18 - 02:59 AM
GUEST,Observer 18 May 18 - 02:20 AM
Jack Campin 17 May 18 - 12:28 PM
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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 24 May 18 - 10:04 PM

sandman, didn't you read the disclaimer at the end of the movie? Based on a true story


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 May 18 - 04:56 PM

me being silly, hilarious. history is bunk both the official and folk history , however of the two i would give more crednce to folk history rather than the official history ,which is written by the lackeys of the establishment, a prime example is shakespreares version of richard the third, complete cow towing to the tudor dynasty, henry 7[who defeated richard,and his descendants henry 8,elizabeth 1, which defeated richard the third, extremely unreliable history, absolute unreliable bunk


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 May 18 - 03:21 PM

"Courts define murder, not me or you. "
Not in the case of national liberation wars when the courts are appointed by the people you are fighting they don't
Ireland as a colony was in dispute with the British empire constantly - in the particular period we are speaking about land was the issue - this eventually developed into a war of independence
Every nation has the right to oppose those who acts unjustly
Nobody refers to The Isreali, or Indian, or Afican fights for national Liberation as "murders"
Britain was regarded as an oppressor, Leitrim represented that oppression perfectly and needed to be opposed
What do you suggest - take him to court.
"If that point of view is tainted by partiality, that evidence is likewise tainted."
You would rather take the "untainted" evidence of who exactly?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 24 May 18 - 02:48 PM

Courts define murder, not me or you.

"The point about song and lore is that it provides information on the subject from a point of view not usually taken into consideration, and in doing so, it becomes evidence"

If that point of view is tainted by partiality, that evidence is likewise tainted.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 May 18 - 12:45 PM

"but they do not provide justification (for instance of murder)."
I think this hits the nub of the whole argument
How do you define "murder" - national liberation struggle, a fight against injustice and oppression - war maybe
Does the taking of life have to be blessed by some higher authority before is ceases to be murder and becomes acceptable - when does a murderer become a national hero or a fighter for justice?
As far as the accuracy of the songs, John is quite right (as he usually is), as was Bert all those years ago
The point about song and lore is that it provides information on the subject from a point of view not usually taken into consideration, and in doing so, it becomes evidence
In the absence of other evidence, once it is examined for flaws, it becomes a feasible account of an event or situation, particularly when it was made contemporary to events described.
Jim Caarroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 24 May 18 - 12:25 PM

John Moulden:

"The point I would make, as my last word, was provided by Bert Lloyd, of flawed and immortal memory: 'Folk songs do not tell us what happened; they tell what people believed happened' - however, Bert did not say as I think obvious: It is what people believe that tempers their actions. As such Folk History is intensely important in establishing some elements of 'Why?' events unfolded, as distinct from 'What' 'actually' happened."

Well what actually happened is absolutely crucial. Folk songs may provide evidence of motivation, but they do not provide justification (for instance of murder).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 24 May 18 - 12:23 PM

""he was preoccupied with “social life, travel and the opposite sex”"


Doesn't exactly mark him out amongst young men of any social class.

"and left a trail of lovers and mistresses across the continent"

Which marks him out as someone with the resources to do so across the continent rather than closer to home.

And he bequeathed his women servants £20. Seems more likely to be out of respect rather than penance.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: John Moulden
Date: 24 May 18 - 11:35 AM

Folk History is the same as any other history: subject to the deficiencies and prejudice of the sources and to the deficiencies and prejudices of the inquirer.

I pointed above towards elements of my thesis (which can be freely downloaded) and found almost all of what I said was ignored. However, the intention was to indicate a range of inquiries I, and others, had conducted into the 'relative truth' of a number, or range of songs about verifiable events. In doing so I suggested a series of methods whereby a degree of reliability could be established. These might have helped avoid some of the more bitter exchanges herein: - which in any case serve no purpose beyond the tempering of opinion.

The point I would make, as my last word, was provided by Bert Lloyd, of flawed and immortal memory: 'Folk songs do not tell us what happened; they tell what people believed happened' - however, Bert did not say as I think obvious: It is what people believe that tempers their actions. As such Folk History is intensely important in establishing some elements of 'Why?' events unfolded, as distinct from 'What' 'actually' happened.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 May 18 - 09:03 AM

If you quote further you will ffind that he also comments on the fact that all the women servants of the household received financial gifts on his death whereas none of the men did, implying that there might be substance to the rumours
Bit selective!!
It has already been made clear that there is no solid evidence so harping on it is meaningless
The fact that the writers included him on an article regarding the sexual conduct of the landed gentry in Ireland implicates him with the rest of them - if the writers believed he was innocent they would have said so.
It is highly likely that, given his established sexual record , that he "he was preoccupied with “social life, travel and the opposite sex” and left a trail of lovers and mistresses across the continent", makes the accusations even more likely.
He was a man who liked sex, who had an invalid wife, was hated by his neighbors and fellow landlords and spent long periods living in isolated rural areas
He was brutal to his servants (some of them actually colluded in his murder by re-setting the house clocks).
Why is is so difficult to beliebe this upper-class thug didn't help himself to the daughterrrs of his tenants, using eviction as a bargaining chip ?
This fits in perfectly with the story of the girl who drowned herself rather than run the risk of becoming his servant
If you read up on the behavior of any of the landlords in this period, there is very little actual evidence of how any of them behaved
Around here, with the locals place lendlords in two categories - good one and bad ones - and anybody you ask will tell you excatly why they are remembered as they are
Jim Caarroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 24 May 18 - 08:42 AM

Ok, Jim, its there on page 15, I had not read this far as up to then it was all irrelevant. It says, as you have quoted already:

"Leitrim’s batchelorhood undoubtedly lent itself to imputation of lasciviousness
on his part. Otherwise it appears that there was nothing in particular in his diaries to suggest this, nor indeed is he accused of it in the reports of police and of poor law inspectors who accuse him of a host of other malpractices. It may be that the imputation of lasciviousness to him is primarily a way of denigrating him, of underlining and illustrating his oppressive character in the minds of many and of lending some justification for his assassination .... "

So this source, along with all other historical sources, finds no evidence for the accusation which you levelled against Lord Leitrim in another thread and all those posts ago.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 May 18 - 06:18 AM

You have just been given a statement about Leitrim from a document I posted which you dismissed as only dealing with events up to the 18840s
"Because that refers to behaviours in the 1840s, Leitrim's murder was in 1878.""
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 24 May 18 - 03:16 AM

No idea what you are talking about now, Jim. I have read everything you have posted. I have followed your links at least far enough to ascertain whether they are relevant or not.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: GUEST,Greg F.
Date: 23 May 18 - 09:16 PM

to quote Henry Ford history is bunk

As if he was even remotely qualified -with an eighth grade education-to make such a statement.

He sounds kinda like Trump, no?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 May 18 - 07:09 PM

Because that refers to behaviours in the 1840s, Leitrim's murder was in 1878."
"Leitrim’s batchelorhood undoubtedly lent itself to imputation of lasciviousness on his part. Otherwise it appears that there was nothing in particular in his diaries to suggest this, nor indeed is he accused of it in the reports of police and of poor law inspectors who accuse him of a host of other malpractices. It may be that the imputation of Because that refers to behaviours in the 1840s, Leitrim's murder was in 1878.asciviousness to him is primarily a way of denigrating him, of underlining and illustrating his oppressive character in the minds of many and of lending some justification for his assassination .... There may be some significance in the fact that in his will Leitrim bequeathed £20 to
each of his female se rvants but made no similar bequest to his male servants"

Whoops, I wonder how that got there - that is a direct quote regarding the character of Lord Leitrim from the document - please have the decency to read what I put up.
It wouldn't matter anyway
The description of predatory immorality by the rich and powerful didn't stop suddenly - as I pointed out, it continues to the present day..... Weinstock, Savile, et al
You really should have quit when you wereonly as far back as you were a few postings ago
Jim Caaarroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 23 May 18 - 04:45 PM

"Henry Ford history is bunk, Ford was talking about offical history written by [Jewish] academics."

I may be assuming the worst, as people do, but maybe not.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 23 May 18 - 04:42 PM

Dick you are being silly now. Academic historians use all available sources, place the highest emphasis on material which is corroborated by several sources. I have no idea what you mean by "official history", but academics in any subject do not bow to pressure from anyone to publish conclusions which are contrary to the evidence from their sources, whatever those sources are.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 May 18 - 04:26 PM

"Whether it can be relied upon as a description of that event is very doubtful, and can probably only be known if the details can be confirmed from other sources." so official history written by academic historians is no more reliable than folk history, to quote Henry Ford history is bunk, Ford was tal;king about offical history written by academics.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 23 May 18 - 03:44 PM

"You have yet to comment on the document you were linked to which outlined the sexual behavior of our betters at the height of their powers"

Because that refers to behaviours in the 1840s, Leitrim's murder was in 1878.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 May 18 - 03:18 PM

"However, the specific accusation of droit de seigneur, none of the three historians seem to support"
Slevin actually says that there is no evidence to support it as does Liam Nolan - both thought it credible enough to include in their histories without dismissing it out of hand
Nolan makes the poin that there was a large body of information to hand that he did not use due to his being unable to confirm it
Malclolmson dismisses all criticism of Leitim out of hand
As for your novelist, she deals only with the murders - can't find a comment from her one way or the other
Several things about this; the victims would hardly go about shouting what had happened to them at a time when rape victims wre considered as guilty as their rapists, if not moreso
One victim was said to hev drowned herself to avoid the shame
The families would not make too much of a fuss for fear of eviction
The auhorities would have bent over backwards to cover such events up to save embarrasing his ludship - Irland was a powder keg of revolt and land wars without adding something like this to the already toxic atmosphere.
Despite all this, a century and a half later these accusations have remained as fresh as they were on the day they were made
You have yet to comment on the document you were linked to which outlined the sexual behavior of our betters at the height of their powers
I would say I wonder why but I wouldn't be telling the truth
"Haven't you been paying attention Jim?"
I sure have - as old as I am my sense of smell is as good as it ever was Teribus
Your style of evasion and your cap-doffing sycophancy would have giben you away across the length of a football field
You've just given yourself away by identifying yourself with something Baccy wrote anyway
None so dim.... as they should have said
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 23 May 18 - 02:19 PM

"Leitrim was generally hated - by his tenants, by his fellow landlords and his fellow peers"

Yes, Slevin says that and all of the historians seem to agree on that. However, the specific accusation of droit de seigneur, none of the three historians seem to support. And that is the accusation that you claimed that a song provided support for.

Pursuing someone to bankruptcy might also provide a reason for someone to hate him.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 23 May 18 - 02:11 PM

Teribus? Haven't you been paying attention Jim? Get in touch with Backwoodsman according to him Iains is Teribus.

Judging from the opinions given on this thread it would appear that the reliability of folk history is very much in doubt. Anyone who does not fall in with your interpretation must be automatically "defending" someone accused with debauchery purely on the basis of unconfirmed gossip and rumour. The FACT is that no-one knows, so best leave it at that.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 May 18 - 01:42 PM

Eexploring
Exploiting a mass tragedy of course
Don't want another typo getting in the away, do we?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 May 18 - 01:05 PM

"If Keegan got that wrong, I wouldn't take the rest of what he says on trust."
Typos and mis-spelling of names is a pretty pathetic defence of s known tyrant David
You are nit-picking to avoid the obvious
Leitrim was generally hated - by his tenants, by his fellow landlords and his fellow peers

You brought up Slevin - that is what her researches revealed   
C'mon - he was a bad lot among badl lots exploring a mass tragedy
Mis-spelling - you have to be joking
No reference to the documented evidence of the general behaviour of landlords in that period
Rather than Teribus's Stalin quote I would much rather accept the wonderful opening to the late Frank Harte's lecture on Irish Political Song given to an audience at the National folk Festival in Sutton onnington

He opened:
"The english have never understood the Irish" - heavy pause - "but the Irish have always understood the English"

I've never seen a shudder run through a roomful of people as it did that morning
Britain still has to get to grips with its shameful behaviour in Ireland
Leitrim was one of many
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 23 May 18 - 12:28 PM

His name was Clements. If Keegan got that wrong, I wouldn't take the rest of what he says on trust.

Wikipedia, quoting Simonsen (who would seem to be at least as reputable a source as a Priest) hints at a more likely motive for the murder.

"The assassins, Nial Shiels of Doughmore, an itinerant tailor, Michael Hergarty of Tullyconnell, and Michael MvElwee of Ballyworiskey, were from the remote Fanad Peninsula. In 1877, "McElwee's father was involved in litigation with Leitrim with the result that McElwee was rendered bankrupt, and his house and farm were sold at auction."

If one thing is more often a motive for murder than sex, its money.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: GUEST,Craig
Date: 23 May 18 - 11:42 AM

The Demon Lover (The House Carpenter) on SingOut!
- somewhat relevant to this thread as it spends quite a lot of time comparing how/when/why the lyrics have changed in different versions

https://singout.org/2012/09/03/the-demon-lover-the-house-carpenter/


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 23 May 18 - 11:04 AM

Or as Joseph Stalin put it:

The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 May 18 - 10:51 AM

Nice one Jack
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 May 18 - 10:32 AM

A quote from Brecht, repeated in a Facebook post just now by the Turkish percussionist Gizem Altinordu as a summary of what the political events of her entire 28-year life have felt like:

The first time it was reported that our friends were being butchered there was a cry of horror. Then a hundred were butchered. But when a thousand were butchered and there was no end to the butchery, a blanket of silence spread. When evil-doing comes like falling rain, nobody calls out "stop!" when crimes begin to pile up they become invisible. When sufferings become unendurable the cries are no longer heard. The cries, too, fall like rain in summer.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 May 18 - 09:09 AM

This fom the latter of Fr. Keegan, accusing Leitrim of abusing Women
Jim Carroll

23. An account of the alleged sexual behaviour of the third Earl
of Leitrim (William Clemence) has been provided by James Keegan,
a Catholic priest from Co Leitrim who emigrated to the USA.
Redpath’s Weekly was published in New York, and Keegan wrote for
it under the name “Pastheen Fionn”. In the issue dated 8
December 1883 he wrote as follows: “One of the motives for the
eviction of the Catholics [by Clemence] was in order for the people of other religions, or of no religion, who had fair wives and daughters and were not chary of their virtue, to be in convenient distance of the [Clemence] castle. I have never been able to make out a single case of a Catholic girl being ruined by Lord Leitrim in the county of Leitrim. To their credit be it spoken, there were Protestants - notably one man - who gave up his house and farm sooner than sacrifice his daughter to the hoary rerobate .... It is not universally true ... that his Lordship’s ‘servant girls’ were all sent off to England and America and elsewhere. No; his Lordship made exceptions; he married some of them to his Orange tenants, and when the happy men afterwards resented further familiarities and refused to live with such vile women, his Lordship evicted them”. It therefore seems that in Keegan’s opinion Clemence specialized in having sex with Protestant women and girls. We have no means of verifying
Keegan’s account.
I thank my former colleague James Heslin, now retired, for giving me a copy of Keegan’s article, cited above.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 May 18 - 08:48 AM

I wan't aware of Slevin's work but I do know that Malcommson was an unashamed advocate of Leitrim's good character - hardly borne out by the description of him by his colleagues in The House of Lords
Your insistence of "real historians" can hardly include a writer of fiction as an expert
This is probably the most revealing evidence of the likelihood of it having happened
SEXUAL INTEMPERANCE AND MONEY ON AN IRISH ESTATE 1840S

This, from a review of Slevin's book makes interesting reading
As a young man he was preoccupied with “social life, travel and the opposite sex” and left a trail of lovers and mistresses across the continent. His siblings relied on him as the only one capable of dealing with their mother’s mental illness, which he apparently did with patience and love.
Hardly attributes that we normally associate with Lord Leitrim, a man we are more used to describing as an embittered tyrant and oppressor who was disliked by his fellow-landlords as much as by his tenants.
In the Mohill & District Historical and Heritage Society talk on April 11,
“He was not a bad man if he got his way”
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 23 May 18 - 08:02 AM

Well Jim, you know even less than Wikipedia then. There are two more recent (than Dolan) books on Leitrim, by Fiona Slevin in 2006 and A.P.W. Malcolmson in 2008. Undoubtedly both would have counted Dolan's research amongst their sources. As they dates are so close whether they were aware of each other is unclear. There is a third, broader from the title, book by Mary Lydon Simonsen in 2017, although Mary Lydon Simonsen is mostly a writer of fiction.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 May 18 - 06:46 AM

"You are right that in order to access the material from which to form a balanced viewpoint you probably need access to a university library"
You are missing the point David
Governments actually remove historical documents they deem sensitive
I've already mentioned the post Easter Week trials - they have never been available and I doubt if they ever shall be
Recently masses of British documents disappeared in an administration "botch-up", including the 'Zinoviev Letter' - accident or or chnge of political circumstances
The other example I mentioned, that of the David Ben Gurion manuscripts, was most definitely the latter.
A period of history almost contemporary with Leitrim - that of the Congolese enterprises of Leopold II, King of Belgium provide an example of the powerful hiding their misdeeds on a grand scale
10 million Congolese tribesmen died in the ruthless pursuit for rubber, churchmen wrote about it, protesters like Mark Twain produced pamphlets on it, yet a little more than a decade after the events the world was plunged into war, one of the slogans that brought about that bloodbath was "The Rape of Gallant Little Belgium"
When Leopold's business crumbled into ruins his staff spent three days incinerating the records.
No great importance has been attached to Leopold's behaviour in the intervening 120 years
We are told what is considered fit for for us to know on certain subjects, no more   
"Fiona Slevin,"
Who he/she?
As far as I know, the main research on Leitrim was done by local researcher, Liam Dolan, a non historian
He drew his information from local records, newspapers, parish documents and contemporary local accounts
If his and local claims contradicted documented accounts of Leitrim's behaviour you might have a point
There is no documented account as far as I am aware, local records and accounts and the songs and stories are all we have to go on.
There seems to be a lot of "it didn't happen because it's detrimental to Britain's colonial record if it did" going on here
We don't know for certain, but it's more than possible that it happened - that's what empowered maen do, given the opportunity - go ask the victims of Harvey Weinstein or Jimmy Savile or the rapist priests...
I really think we've said all that needs to be said on this particular song (one of a dozen or so on the same evil character)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 23 May 18 - 04:04 AM

History is not the work of any one historian. Like any academic discipline, it is an attempt to reach a consensus on what happened, why it happened, and what were the consequences,based on an understanding of known facts. Like any academic discipline, knowledge is imperfect as not all the facts can be known, and of course different people will come to different conclusions. Where enough historians can agree then something can be said to be decided, but only for now. Knowledge evolves over time as new facts emerge and new interpretations are made.

All sources are unreliable until their provenance can be established. The problem with folk history is that those provenances are usually unknown. In most cases we do not know where the story or song originated, whether the author was an eye-witness or based it on hearsay, whether details were changed to make a better story or to achieve a rhyme, or to what extent the story was altered in subsequent re-tellings. That is the very nature of folk history.

Folk history may be able to tell us a lot about a community's attitudes to something, both around the time of an event and subsequently. Whether it can be relied upon as a description of that event is very doubtful, and can probably only be known if the details can be confirmed from other sources.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 23 May 18 - 02:32 AM

You are right that in order to access the material from which to form a balanced viewpoint you probably need access to a university library (often a question of distance, not permission) or to pay for some journal subscriptions. You are reading books written from a particular viewpoint, and these have often not been through any review process, although some may have (for instance) been submitted to RAE or REF. But if the havn't then you need to take them all with a pinch of salt. Not that they are all nonsense of course. And not all serious historians work in universities. The author of the primary source on the issue of Lord Leitrim, which started all of this, is Fiona Slevin, who as far as I can see does not hold a university position, but whose research seems to adopt academic methodology. So you need to assess the capabilities of the author, unless through a formal review process it has already been done for you


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 May 18 - 08:17 PM

"Academic historians write academic papers"
Laargely for other academics - a totally incestuous exercise
Take six histories on one subject and you are quite likely to arrieve at twice that many conclusions.
History is a balance of facts and analysis - quite often, when the facts correspond their analyses clash a major interest of mine is the political history of the late 19th/20th century of Europe
I am now on my (at least - lost count) 20th major work on the left movements of the early twentieth century
All contain valuable information, few agree overall
In the end, you make up your mind base on the sum total of all, plus your own understanding, on both factual and philosophical understanding of the subject
Unless you come into these subjects at 'Ladybird Books' level, that is what you need to do.
For 150 years, the history of the Irish Famine lay dormant, for political/social reasons
Since the 150th anniversary in 1995, the subject has blossomed, and continues to do so.
Governments and institutions protect themselves by setting time limits to which they can legally restrict public access to certain information
Without naming names (for fear of closing this thread), despite that time now being long expired, one Government has not so long ago recalled a large number of documents regarding a major historical political figure
No historian is free of such restrictions
There is an aura of supposed unbiased purity surrounding formal historians which needs bursting
All historians come to their subjects burdened by often deliberate misinformation and prejudices of their own and past generations, just like Sinbad was burdened by The Old Man of the Sea
Like Sinbad, they need to rid themselves of that burden if they are going to make sense of their subjects
In this respect, formal history is no more reliable than is folk history (in many ways, probably less, as folk history is subject to no restrictions
Jim Carroll

PS
A favourite passage of mine describing the function of History - From James Stephens's Irish Faairy Stories (1920)
Once, as they rested in a chase, a debate arose among the Fianna as to what was the finest music in the world.
‘Tell us that’ said Finn, turning to Oisin.
‘The cuckoo calling from the tree that is highest in the hedge,’ cried his merry son.
‘A good sound’, said Finn. ‘And you, Oscar,’ he asked, what is to your mind the finest of music?’
‘The top of music is the ring: of a spear on a shield’, cried the stout lad.
‘It is a good sound’, said Finn.
And the other champions told their delight the belling of a stag across water, the baying of a tuneful pack heard in the distance, the song of a lark, the laughter of a gleeful girl, or the whisper of a moved one.
‘They are good sounds all,’ said Finn.
‘Tell us, chief,’ one ventured, ‘what do you think’.
‘The music of what happens,’ said great Finn, ‘that is the finest music in the world’.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 22 May 18 - 04:18 PM

Academic historians write academic papers and publish them in journals like these ones. They also write books. Their publications are peer reviewed, cited by others, sometimes supportively, sometimes critically. In the UK, their work is also reviewed for the Research Excellence Framework. They do not write for establishment or other figures, whether in the UK or France. The situation in the 18th and 19th centuries, well I cannot say so much about that. But I know that academic historians now, as opposed to folk historians like David Irving, have standards of objectivity and transparency which they must meet as a condition of their academic employment.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 22 May 18 - 03:34 PM

Official Establishment History is written by Academic historians, since these academics CANNOT agree on who were the victors, historically their work becomes unreliable, these academic historians write french and english history, and cannot agree, that makes their work unreliable.

I hate to disabuse you Sandman but most history, "official", "establishment", or otherwise is actually written by "academic" historians all of whom have studied history and know what is required in terms of objective research and analysis to arrive at whatever conclusions they reach. I would love to hear from you which academic historians declare that Napoleon won the Napoleonic Wars.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 May 18 - 12:30 PM

Official Establishment History is written by Academic historians, since these academics CANNOT agree on who were the victors, historically their work becomes unreliable, these academic historians write french and english history, and cannot agree, that makes their work unreliable.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 May 18 - 03:21 PM

My apologies Harry - responded in a hurry and misread your question
Lousy at multi-tasking
Teribus -
"The Warlike Sailor" and "The Nottingham & Mars".
Despite the few who wish it was - Broadside History is not 'Folk History
Te folk tended to comment on the results of war on those who were forced to fight it rather than war itself anyway
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: GUEST,Harry Rivers
Date: 21 May 18 - 03:05 PM

I sometimes wonder if contributors to Mudcat can actually read because they seldom bother to do so.

If half of you knew half as much as you think you know, you'd be dangerous.

I'm not going to waste any more of my time.

Adieu.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 21 May 18 - 03:01 PM

David Carter has pointed out the major flaw in The Sandman's argument. In researching any event in history a vast array of sources written from different perspectives are studied in detail - the "Establishment and Official history" represents only ONE of those perspectives.

"Folk History IS RELATED BY THE PEOPLE WHO WERE THERE, and who do not have a vested interest in using it as government propoganda, and in my experience is less unreliable than the Establishment official history."

Robert Burns wrote a song that recalls the events relating to the Battle of Sherrifmuir fought in November 1715. Burns actually talked to two people who fought in the battle (One who fought on the Government side and the other who fought on the Jacobite side), he also talked to someone who had stood and watched the battle from afar (This was a battle that Rob Roy MacGregor "sat out" having arrived too late to take part in it). Those three people that Burns talked to "WHO WERE THERE" all gave markedly different accounts of what they saw and experienced as individuals. Go to the location of the battle and you can instantly see why. The perceptions were that the right flank of the Jacobite Army defeated to left flank of Argyll's Army, the right flank of Argyll's Army absolutely trounced the left flank of the Jacobite Army, the action fought by the centres of both was very inconclusive as neither side could determine what was happening to their respective rights and lefts. So from the song written on the accounts of people WHO WERE THERE tells you nothing, so this particular piece of FOLK HISTORY is not so much unreliable as being totally useless.

See further up in the comparison between "The Warlike Sailor" and "The Nottingham & Mars". Many examples exist illustrating horrendous errors in folk history as portrayed in song. I have yet to come across any lyric of any folk song that corrects history.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 May 18 - 02:50 PM

"Now, would you categorise EP Thompson as an Establishment historian? "
Neither Thomson not marx were 'Folk Historians'
We have a recording of a lecture he gave in Birmingham where he acknowledges his indebtedness to 'Folk History'
Marx was an economist - Fred Engles was the historian (but not a folkie) - can't wait to see the film if it ever moves further West than Dublin
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: GUEST,Harry Rivers
Date: 21 May 18 - 02:37 PM

Sandman,

If you can't say who wrote it ("An impossible question Harry and getting more so as time passes"), how do you know, definitively, they they were there?

"Folk history IS RELATED BY THE PEOPLE WHO WERE THERE" . . .   really?

Now, would you categorise EP Thompson as an Establishment historian?

What about Karl Marx?

Harry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 21 May 18 - 02:19 PM

Thats why we have academic historians who can analyse the reliability of all of the contemporary sources, and reach a balanced, if not necessarily final, view.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 May 18 - 02:11 PM

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 16 May 18 - 02:36 PM

"That's why we start with "Who wrote it?"."
An impossible question Harry and getting more so as time passes.
Far easier to ask "who does it represent"
Jim Carrolll
Establishment and Official history represents the establishment point of view. French Establishment history represents the French government at the time it was written,   English establishment history represents the English government at the time it was written., AND YETCAN THEY CONTRADICT EACH OTHER THUS MAKING THEM UNRELIABLE
My Nephew went to school first in England and then in France, AND DISCOVERED that they both had won the same wars, the conclusion to this that Establishment history is unreliable
Folk History IS RELATED BY THE PEOPLE WHO WERE THERE, and who do not have a vested interest in using it as government propoganda, and in my experience is less unreliable than the Establishment official history.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 19 May 18 - 01:18 PM

Me: "Mentions linking Guthrie's “creosote dumps” lyric to crop poisoning, Federal subsidies, prices &c first appear here on Mudcat,..."

Minor correction: It appears Joe may posted, or provided info, to Google Groups or another folk site in the late 1990s before Mudcat. He would know better than I.

Two blunt questions Joe:

how long have you been accusing American farmers and farm workers of "creosote dumping," or whatever, and

have you ever done a proper fact check before now?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 18 May 18 - 05:06 AM

"My main objection was you attributing motives to me I do not have"

No more so than you did with me, Jim, but let's leave it there.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 May 18 - 02:59 AM

"Band" isn't a folk song and was written many decades after the event
I don't think it attempted to convey anything other than the emotional and physical effects of war, which is what, in my opinion, makes it a good song
The main value of the songs we have been discussing is that they were mainly made while the 'corpses were still warm' so to speak and the represent views based on being there, views that are seldom if ever covered by formal histories.
Some were deliberately made for a purpose; a case in point being 'Patrick Sheehan' created by author, Charles Kickham to discourage Irishmen from enlisting to fight in British wars
It was a work of fiction, but it was based on the experiences of a former soldier
It was made when the author observed an ex-soldier who ha been blinded at Sebastapol reduced to begging on the streets of Dublin because his army pension had expired - a song describing a peiod of history rathe than actual events.
Apart from acting as a propaganda piece, it also forced the authorities to review their policy on pensions
Jim Carroll

Patrick Sheehan (Laws J11; Roud 983)
Tom Lenihan
Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay
Recorded 1977
Carroll Mackenzie Collection        

Tom Lenihan
My name is Patrick Sheehan, and my years are thirty-four;
Tipperary is my native place, not far from Galtymore;
I came of honest parents but now they are laid low
And many a pleasant day I spent in the Glen of Aherlow.

My father died, he closed his eyes outside our cabin door;
The landlord and the sheriff, too, were there the day before;
And then my loving mother, and sisters three also,
Were forced to go with broken hearts from the Glen of Aherlow.

For three long months, in search of work, I wandered far and near;
I went into the poorhouse to see my mother dear.
The news I heard near broke my heart; but still, in all my woe,
I blessed the friends that made their graves in the Glen of Aherlow.

Bereft of home, and kith and kin with plenty all around;
I stayed within my cabin, and slept upon the ground.
But cruel as my lot was, I ne'er did hardship know
Till I joined the English army, far away from Aherlow.

‘Rise up there,’ says the corporal, ‘you lazy Irish hound,
Why don’t you see, you sleepy dog, the call to arms sound?’
Alas I had been dreaming of days long, long ago.
I awoke before Sebastopol, but not in Aherlow.

I grouped [groped] to find my rifle, how dark I thought the night;
Oh, blessed God, it was not dark; it was the broad daylight;
And when I found that I was blind, my tears began to flow;
I longed for even a pauper’s grave in the Glen of Aherlow.

Oh, Blessed Virgin Mary, mine is a mournful tale,
A poor blind prisoner here I am in England’s dreary jail;
Struck blind within the trenches where I never feared the foe,
And now I'll never see again my own sweet Aherlow.

Dear Irish youths, dear countrymen, take heed in what I say,
And if you join the English ranks you'll surely rue the day,
Whenever you are tempted a-soldiering to go,
Remember poor blind Sheehan from the Glen of Aherlow.

Conversation after the song between Tom Lenihan, Pat Mackenzie and Jim Carroll:
Tom: Patrick Sheehan is a ballad I bought from Bully Nevin years ago.
Jim: Yeah, so it was on the ballads?
Tom: It was on the ballads.

“‘Patrick Sheehan’ was written by author Charles Kickham (1826-1882) under the pseudonym Darby Ryan Junior, and was printed in 'The Kilkenny Journal' in October 1857. Its purpose was to protest the arrest in Dublin of a veteran soldier of that name who had been blinded in the trenches before Sebastopol and had been discharged on a pension of sixpence a day; at the time of his arrest the pension had expired. The song became very popular and was soon to be heard all over Ireland. It was said to have shamed the authorities into awarding Sheehan a life pension of a shilling a day. It has been found in America and as far afield as Australia. There appears to have been only one English version, got from a singer in Portsmouth Workhouse in 1907, taken down by George Gardiner. We recorded incomplete sets from several Travellers and full versions from Vincie Boyle and Martin Reidy."

Reference:
Songs of Irish Rebellion, Georges-Denis Zimmerman.
The Constant Lovers; Selections from the Hammond and Gardiner collection , Frank Purslow (ed).
Jim Carroll
See also
Patrick Sheehan sung by Vincie Boyle

LISTEN HERE


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 18 May 18 - 02:20 AM

"describe all the mistakes you can find in The Band Played Waltzing Matilda".

That Professsor set a really easy question/assignment Jack and if he expected three pages from the first verse, you'd get double that from the second.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: How reliable is Folk History ?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 May 18 - 12:28 PM

Somebody here once reported that an Australian history professor once ste as an assignment or exam question, "describe all the mistakes you can find in The Band Played Waltzing Matilda". The students were expected to get about three pages just from the first verse.


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