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Origins: Irish folk music about religion

Michael-O 09 May 22 - 02:35 PM
Felipa 09 May 22 - 02:55 PM
Felipa 09 May 22 - 03:46 PM
Felipa 09 May 22 - 04:42 PM
Michael-O 09 May 22 - 04:54 PM
Michael-O 09 May 22 - 04:59 PM
Felipa 09 May 22 - 06:57 PM
Michael-O 09 May 22 - 09:26 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 10 May 22 - 02:50 PM
Steve Gardham 10 May 22 - 03:02 PM
Mrrzy 10 May 22 - 03:35 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 10 May 22 - 03:44 PM
Felipa 10 May 22 - 03:48 PM
Tattie Bogle 12 May 22 - 01:37 PM
Felipa 12 May 22 - 05:06 PM
GUEST,John Moulden 13 May 22 - 09:57 AM
weerover 13 May 22 - 11:06 AM
Tattie Bogle 14 May 22 - 11:41 AM
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Subject: Origins: Irish folk music about religion
From: Michael-O
Date: 09 May 22 - 02:35 PM

Mudcat Community--

I am a long-time lurker at this site, but a first-time poster. I’m writing a grad-school paper and I’m looking for lyrics.

The paper is on Irish church history in the 19th century, and I’m trying to find Irish folk music, more or less of the 19th century, whose lyrics make reference to church in people’s lives (which might be lyrics about faith, Catholic, Protestant, religion, parish, priest, bishop, rosaries, God—I’m not picky). Basically any folk song that indicates people’s interaction with their local, regional, national or international church or religion.

So my boundaries are:
1. Irish
2. Folk song
3. The long 19th century (after the French Revolution, before John Kennedy’s presidency)
4. Including some reference, however oblique, to church

Songs from before the 19th century offer some background possibilities; “The Muster of the North” comes from the 17th century and will play some role in the final paper.

I’m happy to share some more details if anybody has some lyrics in their head, or is simply curious.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts, and thanks for having the community you have.

p.s. For reference, here are some songs I’ve found and why they made the cut:

“Spancil Hill”
Michael Considine, 1870
Relevance: “That Father Dan was coming his duty to fulfill, At the parish church of Clooney, just one mile from Spancilhill.”

“Boolavogue”
Patrick Joseph McCall, 1898
Relevance: song about Father Murphy, priest who became a hero in the rebellion of 1798.

“Lament of the Irish Emigrant”
Helen Selina (Lady) Dufferin/George Barker, 1850
Relevance: “Tis but a step down yonder lane, the village Church stands near / The place where we were wed, Mary, I can see the spire from here.”

"Kilkelly, Ireland"
Peter Jones, 1983, with source material from 1860-1890
Relevance: “And we buried him alongside of mother, down at the Kilkelly churchyard.”


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Subject: RE: Origins: Irish folk music about religion
From: Felipa
Date: 09 May 22 - 02:55 PM

Fill, a rún ó: a mother laments that her son, who trained as a priest, is becoming a Protestant minister. Extensive discussion at https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=14833

The Juice of the Barley - a comical song but with a bit of a sting to it. some verses:

Now I never was much for the learning I'm thinking
But I soon beat the master entirely at drinking
Not a wake nor a wedding for five miles around
But myself in the corner was sure to be found

Then one Sunday the priest read me out from the altar
Saying I'd end up my days with my neck in a halter
Then I'd dance a fine jig betwixt heaven and hell
And his words they did fright me the truth for to tell

So the very next morning as dawn it did break
I went down to the vestry the pledge for to take
And there in that room sat the priests in a bunch
Round a big roaring fire drinking tumblers of punch

chorus - báinne na mbó is an ghamhna
And the cjuice of the barley for me

https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=93815#1809674


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Subject: RE: Origins: Irish folk music about religion
From: Felipa
Date: 09 May 22 - 03:46 PM

Probably many of the Irish language songs I'm thinking are from before the 19th century but I'm thinking of the subject matter rather than trying to date the material. There are some songs which tell of a priest's love for a woman or a woman's love for a priest, for instance An Sagairtín and An Caiseadeach Bán / Thug Mé Ruide

Looking to see where the lyrics are on Mudcat, I came across a thread, songs in Irish about Priests https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=66057#1093190

Thug Mé Ruide and An Caiseadeach Bán https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=66390

================================
The Galway Races is a 19th century song. It doesn't say much about religion but has a great final verse:

There was half a million people there of all denominations
The Catholic, the Protestant, the Jew and Presbyterian.
There was yet no animosity, no matter what persuasion
But fáilte and hospitality inducing fresh acquaintance.

https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=3716#19319


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Subject: RE: Origins: Irish folk music about religion
From: Felipa
Date: 09 May 22 - 04:42 PM

if you do a search you will find loads of recordings online of a song called "The Chapel Gate of Cooraclare". I don't know how old it is or whether the author is known. In the song an emigrant looks back on younger days in Cooraclare, and although it isn't expressly about religion you get a sense of how central the church was to the community. Verses end with the line "around/beside the chapel gate/s in/of Cooraclare" (/ indicates variations)

Marty Marrinan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9grkTZiR5qA

Anne Marie O' Riordan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUpjxrOccv0

Liam O'Reilly https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Axw4ZCQsBMA


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Subject: RE: Origins: Irish folk music about religion
From: Michael-O
Date: 09 May 22 - 04:54 PM

Thanks so much Felipa. I've been searching in English and had missed the Irish language songs completely, and I had not found the Mudcat thread about songs in Irish about priests. There are some lively themes there that will make it into the paper.

I'm going to approach the Irish language songs as if they fall in the early part of my survey--early 1800s or before, when the language was still vital. Is that a reasonable assumption do you think?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Irish folk music about religion
From: Michael-O
Date: 09 May 22 - 04:59 PM

I hit submit before I saw your post on Cooraclare. That looks great.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Irish folk music about religion
From: Felipa
Date: 09 May 22 - 06:57 PM

We have an approximate date for An Casaideach Bán: "composed by Tomás Ó Casaide around 1773". Thug Mé Ruide appears to be a later folk adaptation borrowing from other songs as well as from An Casaideach Bán.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Irish folk music about religion
From: Michael-O
Date: 09 May 22 - 09:26 PM

"The Chapel Gate of Cooraclare" and "An Casaideach Bán" both look like they're going to be bulls-eyes. I'd be surprised if they aren't both prominent in my final written product.

Thanks again, so much, for all your thoughts on this.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Irish folk music about religion
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 10 May 22 - 02:50 PM

Tempted to mention An Raibh Tú Ar An gCarraig? although mass rocks and all that probably fall on the very early end of your time frame.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Irish folk music about religion
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 May 22 - 03:02 PM

There are lots of ballads of the Romeo & Juliet type, where one of the lovers is Catholic and the other Protestant. In some one of the lovers converts to the opposite religion. Have a browse through the James N Healy books. You'll find plenty. The name Reilly/Riley is often a feature. The Reynolds and the Laverys feature in the old Molly Bawn ballad.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Irish folk music about religion
From: Mrrzy
Date: 10 May 22 - 03:35 PM

The old orange flute? He went with the old flute to play for the Mass, but the instrument shivered and sighed, O alas

Ahem! Ahem! Me mother has gone to church
(From the children's medley, Clancies at Carnegie Hall)

I will take her to the church to wed and a rebels's wife she will be
(Merry ploughboy)...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Irish folk music about religion
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 10 May 22 - 03:44 PM

Your reference to bishops made me think of Christy Moore's 'Casey' . Outside your timeframe, I am afraid.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Irish folk music about religion
From: Felipa
Date: 10 May 22 - 03:48 PM

re Peter Laban's comment, some people say An Raibh Tú ag an gCarraig is a veiled reference to the mass rocks of penal times, when Catholics weren't allowed to build churches. But I'm more convinced by people who say no, it is more straightforward, a cautionary tale about love. Carraig (rock) is a word which appears in many placenames.

I'm glad to see other people are finally weighing in with suggestions. The fact the Mudcat site has frequently been down of late may account for the delay in participation. "The Ould Orange Flute" suits the proposed time frame of Michael-Os paper; the first known publication date is 1907 and it is likely the song originated in the (late) 19th century.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Irish folk music about religion
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 12 May 22 - 01:37 PM

A more light-hearted, if un-PC song. but plenty of references to the differences between Protestants and Catholics: The Orange and the Green. It's in the DT, and sung to the tune of "The Wearing of the Green".
Can't do a "blicky" - error 500 - so here it is, slightly different words, as sung by Paddy Reilly.

THE ORANGE AND THE GREEN
Chorus (after each verse)
Oh, it is the biggest mix-up that you have ever seen.
My father, he was Orange and me mother, she was green.

My father was an Ulster man, proud Protestant was he.
My mother was a Catholic girl, from county Cork was she.
They were married in two churches, lived happily enough,
Until the day that I was born and things got rather tough.

Baptized by Father Riley, I was rushed away by car,
To be made a little Orangeman, my father's shining star.
I was christened "David Anthony," but still, in spite of that,
To me father, I was William, while my mother called me Pat.

With Mother every Sunday, to Mass I'd proudly stroll.
Then after that, the Orange lodge would try to save my soul.
For both sides tried to claim me, but I was smart because
I'd play the flute or play the harp, depending where I was.

Now when I'd sing those rebel songs, much to me mother's joy,
Me father would jump up and say, "Look here would you me boy.
That's quite enough of that lot", he'd then toss me a coin
And he'd have me sing the Orange Flute or the Heroes of The Boyne.

One day me Ma's relations came round to visit me.
Just as my father's kinfolk were all sitting down to tea.
We tried to smooth things over, but they all began to fight.
And me, being strictly neutral, I bashed everyone in sight.

My parents never could agree about my type of school.
My learning was all done at home, that's why I'm such a fool.
They've both passed on, God rest 'em, but left me caught between
That awful colour problem of the Orange and the Green.


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Subject: RE: the Orange and the Green
From: Felipa
Date: 12 May 22 - 05:06 PM

I think the Orange and the Green is probably a 20th century composition. So looking for information on Mudcat, I see that the lyrics are by Tony Murphy from the Liverpool area. Tony died in 2017 in his early 80s.

https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=80905

https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=16809

But Michael-O should be able to find songs with similar themes, such as The Ould Orange Flute, originating nearer to the time his project focusses on.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Irish folk music about religion
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 13 May 22 - 09:57 AM

There are masses of songs with religious content in the printed ballad tradition. For clarification see my thesis "The Printed Ballad in Ireland" which can be downloaded. There is also material pertinent to the interplay of religion and politics in my website - John Moulden on Irish Songs


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Subject: RE: Origins: Irish folk music about religion
From: weerover
Date: 13 May 22 - 11:06 AM

Further to John's post, the Bodleian Library collection of ballads and broadsides is readily available online and contains many Irish ballads with religious reference. I'm sure a number will represent the period you are interested in.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Irish folk music about religion
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 14 May 22 - 11:41 AM

Yes, Felipa, I realise now that the OP asked for 19th Century so my answer was a bit out!

He possibly may find something in the Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA)?


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