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Origins: Fields of Athenry

DigiTrad:
FIELDS OF ATHENRY


Related threads:
Tune Req: Fields of Athenry ROCK VERSION! (36)
Lyr Add: Down by the Clarin's Mossy Banks (10)
Lyr Add: Fields of Athenry - Parody (23)
Where is Athenry? (49)
Fields of Athenry - performed upbeat? (121)
Fields of Athenry - Athenry of Fields (3)
Yes, but how low? (12)
Tune Req: Fields of Athenry (34)
Chords Req: Fields of Athenry (19)
Lyr Req: Hills of Athenrye? / Fields of Athenry (20)
Lyr Req: Oh no not the field of Athenry (47)
Lyr Add: Not the Fields of Athenry (10)
Lyr Req: Fields of Athenry (parody by Les Barker?) (11)
Look at those fields of Athenry (11)
Lyr Req: Fields of Athenrye? / Fields of Athenry (7)


Teru 25 Jun 97 - 12:19 AM
Benjami n Hollister (ben.hollister@bigfoot.com) 26 Jun 97 - 05:21 AM
08 Jul 97 - 03:16 PM
Bert Hansell 08 Jul 97 - 03:33 PM
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McGrath of Harlow 29 Oct 99 - 07:11 PM
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Subject: Fields of Athenry
From: Teru
Date: 25 Jun 97 - 12:19 AM

I found the lyrics to this song in DT, but I should like to correct just one word.

"Travalient's (?) corn" should be "Trevelyan's corn".

As far as I know, Charles Edward Trevelyan was an assistant-secretary to the treasury and was concerned with the relief of the potato famine in Ireland. I am not sure it was successful.

Regards.

Teru


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Benjami n Hollister (ben.hollister@bigfoot.com)
Date: 26 Jun 97 - 05:21 AM

As an interesting or not so interesting aside, I have heard this sung as "for your staunch rebellion born", an obvious corruption of "for you stole Trevelyan's corn", but just shows the changes in folk lyrics.

Benjamin


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From:
Date: 08 Jul 97 - 03:16 PM

Does anyone have the music for this song?

Also, I think I have seen somewhere that it was written by Pete St.John - is this correct?

Regards,

Henrik


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Bert Hansell
Date: 08 Jul 97 - 03:33 PM

As a matter of interest the British government recently apologized for their failure regarding the potato famine. See this report in The Electronic Telegraph.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/et?ac=000289242712046&rtmo=33c2968c&atmo=33c2968c&pg=/et/97/6/2/wfam02.html


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 08 Jul 97 - 04:23 PM

Henrik

Yes, Pete St. John wrote it

regards


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Teru
Date: 09 Jul 97 - 01:15 AM

Bert:

Thank you for your information. I read the report with great interest.

With regards

Teru


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: moloneycaitleen@hotmail.com
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 11:21 AM

I have sat in a room and heard 20 young Irish people sing Fields of Athenry in perfect tune (the Irish can sing ). I love the song and was wondering if anyone could tell who the singer is who released in more rock then traditional folk music, I think it was only redone by this person this year or last because they still play it in clubs in Ireland. I would also like someone to tell me who sings the Irish rugy song "Irelands Call". So please if you could help me it would be grand. DUST


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From:
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 11:35 AM

Pete St John based his lyrics closely on another song. See the Hills of Athenrye thread and follow the links therein.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 07:11 PM

Well, I never knew that. "Based his lyrics closely" is a bit of a misnomer. Most times I sing a song the way I sing it is a little different from the way I learnt it, but I wouldn't say I'd written a new song on the strength of that.

Having said that, the variations from the broadside version (see the clicky thing in the previous piosting by anon) are, I'd say, improvements. More to the point, unless I'm very much mistaken (which I may be) the tune is Pete St John's, which makes it a new song after all. But I'd sooner call it a new version.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Alice
Date: 10 Mar 00 - 09:43 AM

... a new question for this old thread (there are several on the song, but I chose this one to refresh)

I have heard the chorus with "Low lie the fields of Athenry" and "Fair lie the fields of Athenry".
Also the line "our love was on the wing" I have heard as "our love was fresh as spring"... the lyrics are posted in the DT and in the other threads on this song.
Does anyone know which versions of the chorus are closer to the original?

thanks

Alice


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 10 Mar 00 - 10:50 AM

Alice, there are at least 3 other Threads, and on one of them,

Hills of Athenrye

I posted a couple of links to

1888 Broadside
Old AND New Versions

The Broadside version gives some additional information.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Mbo
Date: 10 Mar 00 - 11:37 AM

You mean this song's not traditional? MAN! First Wild Mountain Thyme, now this! Who do we have to make our checks out to if we want to play this, now?

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Alice
Date: 10 Mar 00 - 12:38 PM

Thanks, George, I had read all the other threads, but I didn't see that link to the old and new versions side by side until now. That answers my question! Many thanks.

alice flynn


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: zander (inactive)
Date: 10 Mar 00 - 02:28 PM

Pete St. Johns songbook gives, ' low lie the fields of Athenry ' and 'our love was on the wing ' Dave


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Alice
Date: 10 Mar 00 - 02:35 PM

Zander, go to the Old & New versions link that George provided and take a look.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 10 Mar 00 - 05:29 PM

Mbo, I'm not all that convinced that Pete St. John or the family claiming ownership of those two songs is valid, despite what the legal begals say.

I believe they are both "Traditional", whatever that really means.

I believe both are old songs, whether in the case of the MacPeakes they modified more extensively than Pete St. John.

I suppose that someone will claim the Water is Wide and Carrick Fergus, and such songs.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Mar 00 - 05:59 PM

The words of the Field of Athenry are clearly just a variant on the 1888 version - I'd say it's a good variant, with changes for the better, but the changes are pretty minor. I can't see that Pete St John could call it an original song on the basis of them alone. M

On the other hand it is quite possible that the tune might have been made up by Pete St John, which would give him more of a claim of its being his song.

I think the case for "Will you go lassy go" and the McPeake's is stronger. From what I have seen, the development and change from the "The Braes of Balquidder" or the "Highlands of Heaven" (both on the DT) is a lot greater than it is for the text of Athenry. Of course there might be some intermediate version that I haven't come across.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 10 Mar 00 - 11:07 PM

Every song was written -- or made -- by somebody. If you can identify the songwriter, so much the better (speaking as a songwriter), but I don't see much point in arguing whether a song is "composed" or "traditional." For many so-called "traditional" songs it is possible to find "the original" -- just ask Bruce O. -- but later folk-processed versions may be just as much, or more, fun to sing. And, to my mind, that's what it's all about. Once you've done the Hokey-Pokey and turned yourself around, of course.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: John Moulden
Date: 11 Mar 00 - 05:58 AM

It's clear that the "original" "1888" version, if genuine, obviates Pete St John's claim to authorship. However, the website which has the "broad sheet words" makes it clear that these were posted in a newsgroup and that no-one involved in posting the information has actually seen the ballad sheet; I haven't, in thirty years of looking at such things in the libraries all over Ireland and in Britain. Nor is the name "Devlin" familiar to me as a Dublin ballad sheet printer. Another point is that dates are very seldom given on ballad sheets and they are difficult to date - especially not to a particular year.

Two further points - if Trevelyan was Secretary around the time of the famine - 1845-49 - his name is not likely to have been widely remembered by the writers of popular songs, or meaningful to their audience by 1888. And - the song, as purporting to originate in 1888 on a ballad sheet is couched in a style of verse and in a style of language absolutely foreign to the medium.

I'm going to check on all these details but I would be very surprised if I find anything to suggest that this posting in a newsgroup was not a hoax, or a fraudulent attempt to muddy a copyright issue.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: zander (inactive)
Date: 11 Mar 00 - 06:40 AM

Thank's Alice, I have not come accross this version before.

Cheers, Dave


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Mar 00 - 07:30 AM

I'd doubt 1888 as a date for Athenry to be written, but it's be quite a reasonable date for a song written earlier to get put into print. Again, the term "broad sheet" can be used in a very loose way sometime to cover just about any relatively informal type of publishing.

Anyway, I'll be interested to hear anything John Moulkder digs up. Strikes me it's be a good idea to ask Pete St John, because he should know. (Alright, you could say he has a vested intyerest in saying he write the words rather than adapted them even if he did adapt them - but I think it's best to assume people are honest about these kinds of things to start with.)


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: cujimmy
Date: 11 Mar 00 - 08:17 AM

I read an artcal by Pete ST John about the song a few months ago in The Celtic View ( magazine of Glasgow Celtic football club ) where he said that 3 ship loads of inedible corn were anchored off the south coast of Ireland and that some starving people tried to swim over and steal some of it, they were caught, charged and then punnished by Transportation.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 12 Mar 00 - 04:49 PM

I'm with John Moulden on this one - I smell a rat! Mind you, there is another Athenry fields song - but unrelated.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Brakn
Date: 08 May 00 - 07:13 PM

Any news of this?


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,Paddy(1)
Date: 08 May 00 - 08:22 PM

Just to add my tuppence worth to this debate

I always felt that

"She watched the last star falling"

is melodic but meaningless (who ever watched all the stars falling?)

It should, of course, be sung as

"She watched the last tarpaulin"

which would give the impression of the final sail (canvass, spineker, etc.) disapearing over the beautiful Irish horizon.

Does this mean I can now claim authorship of this ballad?

Paddy(1)


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: rpm
Date: 09 May 00 - 06:06 PM

To Paddy(1) arrrgggghhh! but to John, I'm no authority but we'd all know a "bobby" or a "peeler" (SP?) if we saw one, why shouldn't we remember Trevelyan. Perhaps more to the point I think that boycott is pretty well authenticated. I try not to live it but we sometimes forgive if we will, but never forget. -Bob


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Barry T
Date: 09 May 00 - 08:53 PM

Brakn said Any news of this?

I relayed to John Moulden the newsgroup source (1996 thread in the Harp Digest) that made reference to the early publishing. I don't know if John actually tried to track down the authors in that thread.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Teasle
Date: 10 May 00 - 03:38 PM

I went to Athenry last year... it was magic1 I was kinda reluctant to go, the song being so full of nostalgia and all ... didn;t want a disappointment. I wasn't let down! The walls of the old town are pretty much intact ... the town and the people were charming - and they have turned the old church into a brilliant museum. The local hurling team had just won its very first championship that day and they were celebrating!

Lots of good, fond memories of Athenry ...

Teasle


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: John Moulden
Date: 10 May 00 - 04:09 PM

My daughter and grandsons live in Athenry so I am frequently there -I still don't like this song however; the one Martin mentions is much more within the traditional idiom.

I have managed to track down the author of the original posting in the harp-list and have indicated my scepticism. He insists that he saw the song in some kind of folio song collection, printed by Devlin of Dublin and that the book is owned by the family of someone he used to play music with. Hoewever he has no more than the copy of the words he made.

He was a little testy at being questioned about this and it would not be possible to elicit any more. However, I am in no way convinced, I'll be in Dublin on three occasions in the next two weeks and any references to Devlin will be fully checked - starting with the Street Directories and then with ER McClintock Dix's bibliographies - this is my field - and I'm almost prepared to wager that I'll find nothing to support this contention.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: John Moulden
Date: 19 May 00 - 06:39 AM

I've now made searches as I said I would; all is negative.

The assertion is that the Fields of Athenry was printed in 1888 in Dublin by someone called Devlin.

1. There is nobody of the name Devlin listed among:
Printers (letterpress or photolithographic)
publishers
booksellers
Music Sellers
musical instument makers or dealers
music and pianoforte warehouses
print sellers
in the city or county of Dublin in Thom's Directory for 1887, 1888 or 1889

2. The catalogues of the two major collections of Irish Books made in the 19th Century - Bradshaw and Gilbert have no printer or publisher of that name listed.

3. There is no Devlin given in John A Parkinson: Victorian Music Publishers (Harmonie Park Press, Michigan, 1990) (Detroit studies in music bibliography no 64) which used the catalogues of the British Library, the National Libraries of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the University Libraries of Oxford and Cambridge and also used the annual Musical Directory (1853 - 1931).

It is agreed that this is not conclusive but it does reduce the likelihood that the assertion is true. I now believe that it is up to those making the assertion to justify it.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Lesley N.
Date: 19 May 00 - 06:39 PM

Good God John - what an incredible amount of research! I'm amazed! Though I admit I am a bit disappointed too - whoever wrote the newsgroup post certainly did an excellent job of it.

I have had to take several songs off my site that turned out weren't traditional (not because anyone asked, but because it's generally my policy - though I am known to make exceptions - like the Flower of Scotland). Guess this one will have to go too.

I started to put up short "error pages" so people know why tunes aren't at the site rather than them coming up with nothing. It makes me feel better anyway!

Thanks for all the hard work!


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 May 00 - 06:47 PM

Well, it's traditional now anyway. Sing half the first line, and sit back and listen to it.

But well done, John Moulden, for running the truth down like you seem to have done.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Barry T
Date: 19 May 00 - 11:27 PM

Yes... good job, John. And thanks!

It would appear that we have the Devlin in disguise!

(Sorry! I couldn't resist!)

Lesley: I won't object if you haul that tune out of the tunebook. Public Domain has been my self-imposed policy, too.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Lesley N.
Date: 20 May 00 - 01:06 AM

I've taken it off both sites now Barry - and put up a file that explains why if anyone searches for it. Reminds me of the Dark Isle - another contemporary, tradtional tune!


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,Dan
Date: 20 May 00 - 11:49 AM

If you read the book "The Great Hunger' by Cecil Woodham-Smith, which I beleive is an articulate and highly accurate account of the famine in the mid 1800's, you will find out about Trevelyan and the rest of the English government leaders, who stood by and watched as the irish starved. Trevelyan did not try hard when it came to saving the Irish and the government at large, did nothing to assist the dying. The apology from Blair and the government was WELL deserved and should have never been required. The famines in Ireland were every bit as bad as the Holocaust in Europe during the second wolrd war, TAL, Dan


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: John Moulden
Date: 21 May 00 - 06:35 PM

Another tuppenceworth:

One penny: Cecil Woodham Smith has been much criticised; I do not wish to suggest that the Great Irish Famine was not a dreadful event, or that Britain's measures to deal with it did not range from the indifferent to the callous but history as politically sensitive as this requires very careful research and most historians (not just conservative revisionists) question her balance.

Two Pennies: I did further search in the 1887,88,89 Thom's Directories - I like to be comprehensive (and fair) and remembered that printers, especially of Music were sometimes engravers - and on copper plate - however there was no Devlin among Copperplate Printers or among Engravers in Dublin at those dates. So I'm in the clear as yet.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 May 00 - 06:58 PM

Perhaps you should let Pete St John have the results of your labours, John - he's probably been getting pretty irritated by people knowledgeably saying that, of course, he didn't write the song.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,Paul Burke
Date: 21 May 00 - 07:00 PM

This thread has been getting serious- got to put a stop to that. The song has always got my goat anyway - 'Michael, they are taking you away' - perhaps he mght not have noticed?

But be that as it may as they say- I said to Danny the fiddler in the Union when he played the tune, "I know what rye is, but what's ath?"

Danny looked at me with justified contempt. "Juth tun round, I'll thow ye what ath ith"


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,Paddy(1)
Date: 21 May 00 - 08:21 PM

Moloneycaithleen

The rock version is by Brush Sheils (or the Brush)

Brush was a rock freak in Ireland before it was popular and profitable

Now living on a farm in Co Meath, still doesn't take himself too seriously

More than slightly tongue in cheek version but that's what the Irish are good at

Paddy(1)


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Robo
Date: 21 May 00 - 09:00 PM

Moloneycaitleen . . .

"Ireland's Call" was written by Phil Coulter, I believe. Heard him perform it here in Denver recently. Well done indeed. Don't know who else may have recorded it.

Rob-o


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 22 May 00 - 01:15 AM

John Moulden, thank you for the dedicated research into this. It's much appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Jed at Work
Date: 17 Jul 00 - 05:28 PM

good thread, wonderful song ... our Seamus Kennedy does a beautiful version of this song on one of his recent albums. Made me want to learn everythng I could about the song ...


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: MartinRyan
Date: 16 Mar 01 - 06:31 AM

Heard Pete St. John talking about "Athenry" on radio this a.m. He said it grew out of reading contemporary reports of the transportation of a group of men who attempted to break into government stores of maize in Cork, around the time of the 1847 famine. He picked Athenry as a locale "because it sounded lonely"!

Regards

p.s. For the Irish - it was Michael D. Higgins who showed him the records!


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,John Hill
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 10:25 AM

Try looking here...
http://www.fastdesign.com/music/irish/fldathen.htm
Is it really new or is it old? ... did Pete St. John really write it .. or was it written in 1888. I think I prefer the original lyrics. Why were the names changed?


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 10:40 AM

John: if you read the rest of this thread and follow up some of the links given, you'll find that your question has been quite comprehensively dealt with already, at any rate so far as has been possible.  The site you mention gives no provenance for the "original" text, and presumably got it from either Lesley Nelson's site (from which it has now been removed as of dubious authenticity) or from the original newsgroup posting referred to above.  John Moulden is an expert in his field, and in the absence of new, proven information, his comments should be taken as definitive.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,John Hill
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 10:55 AM

Sorry.. I only had time to quickly skim though the thread... has anyone E-mailed these people to see where their info came from. As you say... one of the locations for it has been removed. On the other hand.. the "original" lyrics must have come from somewhere. Assuming that the owner of the web page didn't make them up.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: MartinRyan
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 11:22 AM

John

In a nutshell, so far, there is no evidence to suggest that this is anything other than a Pete St. John composition.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Noreen
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 12:35 PM

And the 'fastdesign' site mentioned above by John Hill has an interesting approach to classification- many attributable songs are classed as 'traditional' when a quick search would find authors: "God Save The Queen" is traditional English...


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 02:51 PM

It's a huge problem on the Web: people just put up any old stuff cribbed without attribution from other places, without bothering to do even the most elementary research, and other people believe it because it's there.  Rumour and misinformation have never before had such huge opportunities for dissemination.  It's all our duties to make sure -so far as we can- that it doesn't happen here!

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 03:49 PM

So, do we have a copyright date and ond other copyright information for this song? any printed sources? Any corrections to the lyrics that are in the Digital Tradition? I checked ASCAP and BMI - there are three entries under that title, none attributed to St. John. I see that Seamus attributed it to St. John on his CD. Seems we ought to get a definitive version into the database.
Lesley N's "Contemplator" site says The Fields of Athenry was written by Pete St. John and was published in 1985 by Walton Mnf. Ltd., Dublin. Is that considered to be fairly solid information?

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,John Hill
Date: 29 Mar 01 - 07:51 AM

Finding the published song isn't always the end of the story. Someone recently asked if I could find the words to "Granny's old arm chair". I found them in the collection of the Library of Congress. Written by Frank B. Carr "America's Motto vocalist" (whatever that was) published in 1880 in Boston.
Then about 3 weeks later (by accident) I found the same song in the same collection written by John Reid. pub 1881 Boston. There were other songs by John Reid but no other by Frank B. Carr. So was the later Publication the real writer and maybe the earlier one only the performer (Although he claimed to be the writer) What was odd was they were both published in the same town...


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,Victoria McDonnell
Date: 29 Mar 01 - 10:30 AM

Hey Paul B., I hope you were kidding about the meaning of Athenry, inc ase you weren't, it comes from the Irish "Atha Rí", which means "Fort of the Kings" kind of. I was never clear on which Athenry they were refering to in the song, we have one here in Galway, but it's been disputed that the song was for us ::pout::. We do have a bay, but my husband said it was more likely an Athenry up in Ulsterish area somewhere. On a side note, my housemate has his new novelty mobile phone ring set to "Fields of Athenry" much to our amusement.

Victoria McDonnell Galway, Ireland


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 29 Mar 01 - 07:54 PM

I think it's a great song, but very sorry that it has become one of those songs you have to be careful about singing because of its association with a certain Scottish football club: I was planning to sing it on St Patrick's night recently but was warned not to because we were in "unknown" company who might potentially object: this is bigotry at its worst and "sad". Someone else then went on to sing "the Town I loved so well" which is pretty explicit in its regret of the British Army's presence in Derry and it certainly did not offend the "unknown" company. Tattie B


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,Annraoi
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 03:21 PM

"Athenry" < "Béal Átha an Rí" = The mouth of the king's ford (not fort). There may be another such name in Ulster, but it's certainly not a well-known one. But then, there is another Belfast < Béal Feirste other than the one in Co. Antrim/Down and it is on the west coast of the Currán Peninsula in Mayo looking across at Acaill. Not a lot of people know that, to coin a phrase :-)
Annraoi


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,Whistleworks
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 03:34 PM

This absolutely happened. I was sitting next to a very heavily perfumed woman on an Aer Lingus A-320 at Shannon which was preparing to take off to Dublin. She chatted continuously about everything under the sun, as she was a self-proclaimed expert on Ireland. As the plane taxied into position on the runway, you could see purple clover growing along the side of the runway. She saw this and gasped "Look...it's the fields of athenry...it grows wild most everywhere in Ireland". And that's that.

Bob Pegritz


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Subject: sharing Athenry Experiences...
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 04:27 PM

I've been using this song as the beginning of a meddley now for a couple of years... I call it my "Migration Meddly"

Starts with "Fields...", then into "The Outside Track", and ends with "When The Boys Come Rolling Home"

All in all about 10 minuts of soild music, and a great way to end a second set...

;-)


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 08:18 PM

I just read a review in "The Herald" of the Dubliners' concert in Glasgow where the reviewer - a certain David Keenan - referred to the Fields of Athen Rye (sic)


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 08:57 PM

A priest in our parish is from Galway. He says Athenry is kind of a dumpy place, not very impressive at all. True?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Fiolar
Date: 31 Mar 01 - 08:42 AM

To Guest - Whistleworks. Quite believe it. I once recall reading a description of a holiday spent in Ireland by a lady writing for one of the British Sunday papers in which she describes her enjoyment of Irish dancing. I enjoyed the piece until I came to the part where she mentioned the grace of the reel and "the high-stepping bodhran." Nuff said. Some Irish person must have had a good laugh. Nothing against tourists. I think they are great but once when I was in Grasmere looking at the graves of the Wordsworths, one of the blue rinse brigade came up and shouted to her friends - "Oh, look here is another Wandsworth."


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,Victoria McDonnell
Date: 05 Apr 01 - 07:48 AM

True Joe, Athenry is quite a little hole. Then again, I live in Galway City and find most of the tiny towns in the county to be odd and full of small minded people. Gort is most likely the strangest, and then there's all of Co. Clare where, we joke, they're scared of electricity and other new fangled things.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: John Moulden
Date: 05 Apr 01 - 12:53 PM

As one of the movers in this matter - let me say that I have just returned from three days in Athenry - and that my daughter lives there - and that I like the place and its people. No one has any right to an opinion until they know at least as much about the place and its people as those who live there. There's more than one kind of small mindedness.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Big Tim
Date: 05 Apr 01 - 01:54 PM

I've been on four continents and 28 countries, I've been in Athenry too, and found it no better or worse than than anywhere else in the world. In fact I found it as pleasant and peaceful as anywhere else in Ireland and I've been in all 32 counties. Victoria, I agree with you on another thread but not on this one.

Here is a selection from a Pete St John interview in the "Daily Record" newspaper (Scotland's most popular) Feb 19 1999. "It's a song about the potato famine in Ireland, it's that simple. I'd gone to Galway and read some Gaelic tracts about how tough life was in those dreadful times. The people were starving and corn had been imported from America to help them but it was Indian corn with a kernel so hard that the mills here in Ireland couldn't grind it. So it lay useless in stores at the docks in Dublin. But nobody trusted tha authorities, the Crown, to tell them the truth so hundreds of starving Irish marched on the city to get the grain. Some were arrested and shipped off to Australia in prison ships. I wrote a ballad about [in 1979], inventing Michael, Mary and a baby - a family torn apart because a husband stole corn to feed his family...all this information came from Galway so I set the song in Athenry, a little Galway village where the potato fields lay empty". The article was in the "Daily Record" becos the Song has acquired a controversial reputation here after being adopted by the fans of (Glasgow) Celtic, a "Catholic" football team. Pete finished up "it's a song about hard times in Ireland's history, a bit like Flower of Scotland is the same to the Scots. But bigotry? It's about as sectarian as I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles".

I can't vouch for the accuracy of Pete's research, but that is what the man has placed on record.

Recently I read Alexander Irvine's autobiographical novel "The Souls of Poor Folk" (1921)set with his family (which was Protestant) in Antrim town during the famine era. His family was starving, the boy (the young Irvine) stole some turnips from a field but his mother, the saintly heroine of his other great little novel "My Lady of the Chimney Corner", made him take them back.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: John Moulden
Date: 06 Apr 01 - 09:06 AM

It's ironic that Pete St John should have chosen "I'm forever blowing bubbles" as the epitome of non-sectarianism. A long time ago (at least thirty-five years) before I was interested in keeping records of such things, a man from the then Irish Free State whom I had met in a Youth Hostel, told me that in his childhood he had been whistling or singing "I'm forever blowing bubbles" and had been told by one of his parents never to do so again - "That's what the British soldiers sang while they were torturing Kevin Barry."

I don't know whether it is true or untrue. Belief has nothing to do with truth.

What's sectarian is very subjective.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Fibula Mattock
Date: 06 Apr 01 - 09:34 AM

Tim - you've reminded me! "My Lady of the Chimney Corner" has got to be one of the greatest love stories ever written, and I don't just mean the love between Alexander Irvine's parents, but the love he put into writing it. It's a fantastic book.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Apr 01 - 10:01 AM

Of course since "I'm for ever blowing bubbles" is the national anthem of West Ham Football Club in the East End of London, which has a fairly hard reputation, there are circumstances when singing or whistling it would guarantee some kind of fracas. Anything can cause trouble if you know where to look for it.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,Victoria McDonnell
Date: 07 Apr 01 - 11:11 AM

Oh, come on now John, I was just kidding!


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: John Moulden
Date: 08 Apr 01 - 08:05 AM

Thank you, Victoria, for withdrawing the remarks.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Big Tim
Date: 08 Apr 01 - 11:22 AM

Hear, hear, didn't really think you were too serious. Welcome back to Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Apr 01 - 09:22 PM


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 04:03 PM

Sorcha posted a link to Pete St. John's Web-Page. He mentions that it's at the top of the Irish charts. http://www.petestjohn.com/


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: forty two
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 05:49 PM

Well, after all these good words about TFOA, I must say that it is probably the best way for a punter in Ireland to make themselves seriously unpopular at a session. "Play us the Fields Of Athenry" is just about guaranteed to have you shown the door. Nice as the tune may be, I honestly believe it is played out for the time being. It'll come round again sometime. Maybe a bit like Blowin' in The Wind - it's time for it to come out of the closet again!!


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 06:18 PM

Forty Two,

Try this version of Blowing in the Wind


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: ard mhacha
Date: 31 Jul 01 - 05:29 AM

I have been listening to and have been interested in folk music for the over the past fifty years and I can tell all of you that The Fields of Athenry was unheard of until the early eighties. It was never classed as a folk song by any of the local folk singers, but if you want to sing it do so, as songs go its a dam sight better than most.Oh, and yes Athenry is a dam sight better than most towns, I stayed in it overnight many moons ago, and there was no mention of the song. Slan Aed Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 May 02 - 11:14 PM

Just noted that Peter St. John is still not credited with authorship of "The Fields of Athenry in the DT.
This thread has a lot of information and misinformation. For those who want the lyrics and a note on the song (© 1979) in a capsule, see : Fields of Athenry
(http://www.3pintsgone.com/lyrics/StValery/FieldsofAthenry.htm)


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: DonD
Date: 07 May 02 - 04:10 PM

I'm in awe of the research of John Moulden and the knowledge of Malcolm Douglas and so many others. In this case, the Devlin was NOT in the details.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 07 May 02 - 06:10 PM

From: http://www3.clearlight.com/~acsa/songfile/FIELDSAT.HTM
 
"The song was written in 1979 [by Peter St. John] and recorded by Paddy Reilly, whose best-selling single launched an album of the same name. However, over the past 17 years more than 400 cover versions have been made with conservative estimates on single sales put at five million. The song was based on a true story of the fate of one young couple during the Irish famine.
 
The song tells the story of Lord Trevelyan who brought a supply of corn back from America in a bid to battle starvation during the potato famine in the mid-nineteenth century. Unfortunately it was Indian corn too hard to be milled, so useless. However, local people thought it would save them and so broke into the stores, were arrested, and subsequently deported to Australia.
 
The song could be about anyone Scots, Irish, [or]English. It is about poor innocent people and how they are victims of natural disasters. It's easy to say why it's been so popular in Glasgow because in 1846, the year the song's set, over 150,000 Irishmen, women, and children fled to the city where many were treated with generosity. But I've heard the song sung everywhere from San Francisco to Melbourne."


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: IanC
Date: 08 May 02 - 04:48 AM

Something that interests me. I wondered if Pete St. John got the title from the "[battle]field of Athenree" where the invading army of (the Anglo-Norman) Robert the Bruce was defeated by the (Anglo-Norman) forces in 1316. Bruce had his brother Edward crowned King of Ireland, but it didn't last long. A reasonable account is here.

Just wondering.
Ian


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST
Date: 08 May 02 - 07:06 AM

"nothing matters when your free" BOLLOX


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: paddymac
Date: 08 May 02 - 07:44 AM

From George Seto's, 07 May 02: "It is about poor innocent people and how they are victims of natural disasters."

The song is about poor and innocent people alright, but there was nothing "natural" about the disaster that was visited upon them. It was instead the result of deliberate policies of the British government rooted in economics, classism and racism/ethnicity. In short, it was an act of deliberate genocide, not a natural disaster.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: MartinRyan
Date: 10 Sep 02 - 05:52 AM

Here's a LINK to the other "fields of Athenry" song mentioned earlier in this thread.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Teribus
Date: 10 Sep 02 - 09:25 AM

Pleasant enough song but wildly inaccurate in historical terms, if you read Woodham-Smiths book referred to in a post above.

Some examples to back up that statement:

No recorded instances of famine relief storehouses ever having been broken into. Plenty of demonstrations, but no break-ins, no thefts. Woodham-Smith investigated the option of hungry Irish commiting crime to escape the country by transportation - the only instances she could come up with were all in the north around Belfast and all were for common or garden burglary.

Convict transports to Australia left mainly from ports on the south coast of England - the ones that sailed from Ireland sailed from only two ports, Cork and Dublin. Popular myth has depicted these these as hell voyages - in fact loss of life averaged was very low as after the initial convoys captains were paid on the number delivered alive so they had a vested interest in their "cargoes".

There is also some belief that the famine was masterminded by the British Government to deal with the "Irish Problem". This ignores the fact that having first arrived in England the spores that carried the blight then swept throughout mainland Britain and Europe.

Some of the comments above seem to give the impression that the famine in Ireland was the only thing that the Government of the day had to deal with - it wasn't (one small example: in the same period in the north-east of England, round the Newcastle area in the same period over 500,000 people died as a direct result of crop failures and disease - put in context that amounts to half the recorded death toll for the whole of Ireland).

Aid for famine relief came from basically three sources:

The British Government - approx 9 million pounds.

The British Society of Friends (Quakers) - 2.5 million pounds

America (greatest contributers being among the Indian nations) - 1.5 million pounds

Very few American ships transported the emigrants (Passage was charged and passengers had to have goods or money to the value of £10 - they also had to be in good health). Charitable Aid shipped to Ireland from America on American vessels was charged at normal cargo rates, similar aid shipped on British vessels was transported free of charge.

Entry point for the bulk of Irish fleeing the famine was down the St. Lawrence - their main point of entry into the United States was Chicago, the emigrants crossing the Great Lakes. "City of Chicago" is a much better song and definitiely more accurate regarding this episode in history.

As to manufactured indifference those of you who can remember it - think back to the famine in Ethiopia and the Sudan - even with the entire world aware, with means of distribution at their disposal (ships, aircraft, helicopters, trucks) still thousands died each day. In the Ireland of the mid 1800's the only means of delivery was by sailing vessel and horse drawn wagons. Apply that to the west coast of Ireland where there were few ports, scant wharehousing and poor roads. To transport one wagon of relief supplies requires five wagons of forage for the draught horses - Not easy.

History viewed with present day values and taking individual incidents in isolatation is about the worst way of arriving at any conclusion you can get. Take whatever incident view that in the context of it's time, look at the big picture, then view that incident as seen from all sides - you then stand a better chance at arriving at the when's, the why's and the how's.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Bearheart
Date: 18 Sep 02 - 01:10 PM

Thanks for the hard work folks have done on this-- it's a favorite, and nice to know more about it.

This is what I like about Mudcat-- there are folks here who are truly dedicated. And while I can always find someone who gets excited about the same things I do, there's enough diversity that we can all work hard at different things and then pool our resources/info...I give thanks for those who have the resources and energy to do this kind of research. Thanks John M and others!


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: ard mhacha
Date: 18 Sep 02 - 01:47 PM

Population of Ireland 1841 9 million, population of Ireland 1849, 2 and a half million. What a magnifcent effort by England, after all according to one of their top ministers "it was God`s will".Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Shields Folk
Date: 18 Sep 02 - 06:59 PM

Ard, your statistics may give the impression that six and a half million people died as a direct result of the Potato Blight and British Government Policy. I would appreciate if you would point out that this was not so.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Blackcatter
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 12:45 AM

This has got to be close to the record for the oldest thread "naturally" refreshed over the years - it was started over 5 years ago. And I know there are several other Athenry Threads, because this is the first time I've added to this one, but I know I've added to others. I think I even started one last year...

pax yall


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Big Tim
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 03:29 AM

Irish population figures:

1841 - 8,197,000, 1851 - 6,514,000, 1861 - 5,788,000, 1871 -5,398,000, 1881 - 5,146,000, 1891 - 4,680,000, 1901 - 4,459,000. Source; The 'History Today' Companion to British History.

The exact Famine death figure is unknown. It is generally estimated that about 1 million people died of starvation and (mostly) famine induced disease. The Famine was one of the major causes of the 1848 Young Ireland revolt, the founding of the Irish Republican Brotherhood in 1858 (which planned the Easter Rising) and the motivation for many Irishmen taking up arms. For example Dan Breen, who said "the thing that always hurt me ...was the genocide of the starvation in'47". The importance of the Famine cannot therefore be underestimated. The facts and the figures are terrible enough, there is no need to exaggerate or distort them.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Teribus
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 07:01 AM

Very informative post Tim.

Also a good point made by Shields Folk, but I doubt very much if you will get that admission.

That someone, AT THAT TIME, described it as being "Gods will", is, I suppose, one way of insensitively describing a natural disaster ( a prominent Hindu religious leader in India used the same words to describe the recent outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease - so it happens, even today). Could it have been averted - no. Could the effects have been mitigated - yes, with hindsight. To attribute it to a deliberate policy of genocide on the part of the British government after the event, requires an extremely selective study of political, economic and sociological history of the period in general (i.e Europe not just the British Isles).

One interesting footnote contained in C Woodham-Smith's book, "The Great Hunger", outlines the career of Sir Charles Edward Trevelyan after the famine. He went out to India as a provincial governor. Two of the states he was responsible for were hit by drought and resulting famine. He managed these crises well, due mainly to lessons learned from his earlier experiences in Ireland - hindsight is a great thing - learning from past mistakes and experience is greater and a lot more relevant.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: ard mhacha
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 07:11 AM

Teribus, Dr Gobbells would have found you a useful ally, according to you the English were helpful and beneficial. England, Scotland and Wales also had potato blight, how did they avoid the terrible plight of famine. Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: ard mhacha
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 08:38 AM

From a lecture given by James Donnelly, Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In the historiography of the Famine so-called revisionist historians have tended to minimise the role of British government responsibility, in contrast to earlier nationalist historians and a long line of Irish revolutionaires who approvingly recalled John Mitchell`s famous dictum"The almighty indeed sent the potato blight, but the English created the Famine".

This essay is deliberately intended as a challenge to the revisionist historiography of the Famine, in which Mitchell and other nationalist propagandists are dismissed as the creators of the baseless myth of genocide.

My contention is that the idea of genocide had taken firm root in Irish political consciousness long before Mitchell published his most influential works on the subject. And it is also my contention that while genocide was not committed, what happened during and as a result of the clearances had the look of genocide to a great many Irish contemporaries. Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Teribus
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 10:08 AM

Ard Mhacha you claim that I say that .

"....the English were helpful and beneficial."

I quote what Cecil Woodham-Smith stated in her book relating what aid was sent to Ireland. I also repeat what difficulties that relief effort had to overcome. I also state my own opinion that with the benefit of hindsight things could have been done differently to mitigate the effects of the famine.

You then ask the following question:

"England, Scotland and Wales also had potato blight, how did they avoid the terrible plight of famine."

The Highlands of Scotland certainly didn't avoid the terrible plight of famine and that is covered very well in John Prebbles book about the Clearances. The rest of mainland Britain suffered to varying degrees, the north-east of England particularly. Two things that tended to mitigate the effects of the blight in mainland Britain were, the reforms in methods of farming during the agrarian revolution a hundred years before, coupled with a far more developed transport system (roads, railways, canals, harbours, etc.).

I note that you still do not acknowledge that the blight affected not only the British Isles but the whole of Europe. Take a look at immigration figures to the USA and the countries of origin from where those immigrants came - then research the reasons why. Scandinavia was particularly badly affected and resulted in mass emmigration of Norwegians and Swedes to the United States.

In your second post you contend:

"In the historiography of the Famine so-called revisionist historians have tended to minimise the role of British government responsibility, in contrast to earlier nationalist historians and a long line of Irish revolutionaires who approvingly recalled John Mitchell`s famous dictum"The almighty indeed sent the potato blight, but the English created the Famine"."

Not surprising, really, as the nationalist historians and the "long line of Irish Revolutionaries" you mention had an axe to grind and a message to be got across - you are the one that later in your post refers to them as propagandists.

Surely if the British government were hell bent on genocide in Ireland they could have done it at a damn sight less cost to themselves (I refer you to my earlier mail on costs and contributions, and to Cecil Woodham-Smiths Book - and she in no way can be described as a revisionist historian).

The last paragraph of your last mail, I think is extremely well put and goes a long way to accurately explain how this period is viewed by many.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Shields Folk
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 10:14 AM

The figures given above of 500,000 dying as a result of the Blight in North East England would suggest that they did not "avoid the terrible plight of famine"

The fact that the urban centres in the North East of England were booming and could accomidate a displaced rural population goes someway to explain why there wasn't a large migration from the area. Indeed the growth of North East industry accomidated large numbers of Irish migrants peacefully into the urban industrial population.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: ard mhacha
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 11:06 AM

How silly of me to be out with those population figures, only half the population disappers, as The Times stated "In a few years a Celtic Irishman will be as rare in Connemara as a Red Indian on the shores of Manhattan" What a loving caring people. Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Big Tim
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 01:49 PM

What's the authority for 500,000 dead in England? Personally I think that's utter rubbish. Hardly anyone died in England, or Scotland, which did suffer hardship in many areas of the Highlands, but no fatalities. See Prof Tom Devine's book on the subject. About 10,000 died in Belgium. Ireland suffered incomparably worse because there 40% of the pop were dependent on the potato for survival. That crop largely failed for 4 or 5 years and the government made little effort to supply alternative food: tho it was enonomically and logistically possible to do so. In that sense John Mitchel (not Mitchell) was right. The question I ask is: if England had suffered a similar disaster what the government have stood so idly by? Personally, I doubt it.

The decline in Ireland's pop was mainly due to emigration: caused by changes in farming practice: grazing instead of tillage, "sheep instead of people" in shorthand. Tha Famine made eviction easier for landlords and emigration more necessary, but it is simplistic to claim that it was the sole cause. Come in Pete St John!


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Blackcatter
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 11:44 PM

"To attribute it to a deliberate policy of genocide on the part of the British government"

Maybe not genocide, but certainly little desire to aid the situation. Anyone who defends the British government during this period is ignoring the British governments own writings on the subject. This was not a 6 month famine. It lasted years. little was done, unlike in the rest of Europe. And yes, the majority of the population loss was due to emmigration - thank goodness. imagine how many more would have died if emmigration wasn't possible (See the famine that killed millions in 20th Century China, for an example).


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jun 03 - 06:08 PM

Hey people!
I've just being reading through all the messages!

Can I just say that the fields of Athenry belonged to my late uncle Packie!

I now live in Belfast after moving from Galway sometime ago! But just reading some of these messages have made me remember the days we ran around those fields!

Anyway if you want to contact me e-mail me at jorgecelticfc@hotmail.com

I would appreciate some feedback!

Cheers
Low lie the fields


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Big Tim
Date: 17 Jun 03 - 04:25 AM

I went to see the fields a few years ago: there are an awful lot of them, surely Uncle Packie didn't own all of them!

The thing I liked best of Athenry is that there is a street there named after Thomas Davis.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,Pat "the Verse"
Date: 27 Jul 03 - 05:23 AM

Who cares , at this stage we`re all tired hearing the song , and the couple of parodies are much better , a bit like Willy McBride really . Funny story , though , one evening at a trad/folk session
in Wicklow ,I received a request to sing either "Willy McBride" or "The Green Fields of France"!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Jul 03 - 05:32 PM

Of course Eric Bogle tries to get people to call it by the name he gave it, "No Man's Land".


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Green Man
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 09:33 AM

Miserable bl**dy song.

Wonderful when sung in tune and close harmony tho.

:-)

D


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,brendanmaloney
Date: 20 Oct 03 - 01:03 AM

i just watched the movie veronica guerin, there was a version of this song played when she was shot. it was sung by a child with an incredible voice. has anyone here ever heard a version fitting this description? i can't find the information for it anywhere and i would apreciate any help


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Oct 03 - 02:18 AM

Brian O'Donnell, age 10.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: MartinRyan
Date: 20 Oct 03 - 10:01 AM

BrendanMalony

The singer (I imagine GUEST is right about the name) is a young traveller lad who often busks on Grafton St.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,Justin Fawsitt
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 12:30 PM

The charm of "The Fields Of Athenry" can best be experienced in a crowded, boozy pub on ballads night. The simple cadence "Low lie the fields..." is hard to resist, especially after a few drinks, as the usual pub cacophany coalesces into a sort of harmony. Beautiful!
God, I wish I was there right now...


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,Teadoir
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 05:25 PM

Personally, I rather like the song, whatever some might think.

The Dropkick Murphys routinely play an excellent version at their shows. Interesting to see sweaty punks shouting the verses back at the stage from the pit... Folk punk, who'ld've thought?

Which leads me to a question... Just how is one supposed to produce and release anything with out fear of legal repercussions? Especially when sometimes you just come across some one in a pub singing something you like and the devil if THEY know where the tune comes from? There is the Mudcat of course, but not everything's been so well researched as we see here in this thread...


Teadoir


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Teru
Date: 10 Feb 04 - 04:49 AM

When the FIFA World Cup was held in Japan and Korea in 2002, supporters for the Irish National Team sometimes sang this song as well as "Spirit of the Gael".

Does anyone know why the Fields of Athenry was chosen as the supporters' song ?

I know the wirter of this song is Pete St. John who wrote "Spirit of the Gael"...


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: dianavan
Date: 10 Feb 04 - 09:05 PM

My favorite song! I nearly cry every time I hear it. I don't think it would have the same effect if it were recorded. There's something about the human quality of the harmonies and the sincerity with which it is sung.

d


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,Noodles
Date: 06 Apr 04 - 04:00 PM

Hi i am a big fan of the fields ot Athenrye and i was just wondering if any one had the music notes for it cause i think it would be great to be able to play it.


Regards
          Noodles
          -x-x-x-x-


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: Blackcatter
Date: 06 Apr 04 - 05:28 PM

There are people at Mudcat who are usually happy to research the background of songs - just start a thread (after looking through the other threads on the song, which might have the info already) to ask the question.


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 06 Apr 04 - 05:35 PM

Noodles,
At JC's Tune Index, they have tunes in many formats, including, MIDI, abc, and PDF...

Fields of Athenry


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Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 06 Apr 04 - 05:38 PM

You might, in particular, like this PDF version, since it includes the words....

Fields of Athenry in PDF


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 04 - 01:51 AM

To Moloney,

   The more rock than traditional style of Fields of Athenry is by the Dropkick Murphys, Irelands call is by Irish Rebel.

GuinnessBoysof49


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 04 - 01:53 AM

Sorry moloney didnt notice the date was 1999.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 04 - 01:59 AM

moloney

Only read yours up until now damn the Tullys Dew

Guinness


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: erinmaidin
Date: 21 Apr 04 - 05:06 AM

Only on Mudcat can one see so much written about so little.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,Lark
Date: 05 Aug 04 - 01:41 PM

I wonder how many Americans have posted on this thread... I heard this song for the first time at a Dropkick Murphys concert in Boston, surrounded by those very same "sweaty punks" and figured chances were slim that the Murphys were the composers! I am in a university a-capella group that sings (badly) Irish music (after a few too many drinks) at the top of our lungs, but I was unfamiliar with Athenry. Quite a controversy surrounding it! I'll have to do a tad more research before I dare introduce the song to the rest of the crew. Is the general consensus that Trevelyan was assistant-secretary to the treasury?      
Oi.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 05 Aug 04 - 03:31 PM

Charles Trevelyan - History of
It only mentions him working in Ireland as Private Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, who was Lord Houghton.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 05 Aug 04 - 03:48 PM

For further reading:

An Gorta Mór - The Great Hunger

Political Ecology & the Irish Potato Famine - (see pages 11 and 19 for mention of Trevelyan

Mentions acting Treasury Minister Charles Trevelyan

Assistant Secretary & Greatest of the Vitorian Civil Servant


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 05 Aug 04 - 03:52 PM

To fix the last link above:

Assistant Secretary & Greatest of the Victorian Civil Servant


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,Jackie - j.santo@ntlworld.com
Date: 21 Aug 04 - 06:53 PM

I have a book called Star of the Sea by Joseph O'Connor. It quotes Charles Trevelyan as saying:
"The famine is a punishment from God for an idle, ungrateful and rebellious country; an indolent and un-self-reliant people. The Irish are suffering from an affliction of God's providence."

It also quotes him as being Assistant Secretary to Her Majesty's Treasury, 1847. (Knighted in 1848 for overseeing famine relief)

Does anyone know how accurate this is?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Aug 04 - 08:45 AM

See here

But it's wrong to see this as being anti-Irish as such. What was evident here was an insanely dogmatic Economic Liberalism at work - there is little doubt that, if it had been English people starving, his attitude would have been the same - see this passage putting it more in context.

Strange how the term "liberal" has changed its meaning.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: Alice
Date: 22 Aug 04 - 02:17 PM

10 year old Brian O'Donnell, singing the chorus of Fields of Athenry in the film score for Veronica Guerin, can be heard in this sound clip. The movie track is called "Bad News".
Click here

from www.cinemusic.net/reviews/2003/veronica_guerin.html
Veronica Guerin (film)
soundtrack
quote
..."Bad News" performed by Brian O'Donnell from the scene following
Veronica's murder. Gregson-Williams wrote and orchestrated these songs,
performed emotionally by O'Connor. "Bad News" is probably the most
touching track on the album, as Gregson-Williams outlines in the liner
notes. He heard a boy (O'Donnell) singing on the street for money in
Dublin when he arrived to spend a few days on the set of the film.
Later, he tracked the boy down again and recorded him singing six or
seven folk songs a Capella in a quiet alley. Gregson-Williams chose
"Fields of Athenry" from the recording and added his own music around
the song for the moving scene to create a piece of music that is as
authentic as one could get. Easily the best track on the album,
Gregson-Williams' most complex orchestration with violin, flute, and
french horn follows O'Donnell's song, backed by light marching percussion..." end quote



- Alice


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,Slim Jim
Date: 22 Aug 04 - 03:25 PM

McGRATH please apply for a brain transplant, "there is little doubt that had English people been starving, his attitude would have been the same", duck here comes a flying pig.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Aug 04 - 03:45 PM

You underestimate the strength of fanatical political dogma, Slim Jim. Trevelyan believed that the deaths of uneconomically viable people in a famine were a price worth paying for economic and social changes he wished to see.

It's a way of thinking that has been common enough over the last century in a number of regimes, and it still is today. People who think like that aren't too worried about the nationality of the people who pay that price.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Aug 04 - 03:47 PM

You underestimate the strength of fanatical political dogma, Slim Jim. Trevelyan believed that the deaths of uneconomically unviable people in a famine were a price worth paying for economic and social changes he wished to see.

It's a way of thinking that has been common enough over the last century in a number of regimes, and it still is today. People who think like that aren't too worried about the nationality of the people who pay that price.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,David k
Date: 16 Mar 05 - 01:30 PM

anyone got the brush shields versioin ?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: Tradsinger
Date: 16 Mar 05 - 03:12 PM

I'm surprised that no-one has mentioned Peter St John's "Rare Old Times" which IMHO is a much better songs than the F of A.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,anyone know where to get the instrumental of
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 07:54 AM

anyone know where to get the unstrumental of athenry


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,Bainbo
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 10:07 AM

Love the idea of an UNSTRUMENTAL. That'll be unaccompanied voices, then? If it's not a word already, it should be! :)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,UNSTRUMENTAL
Date: 02 Apr 05 - 06:03 AM

Hehe, sorry, i did mean instrumental.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST
Date: 09 May 05 - 10:51 AM


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Subject: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: erinmaidin
Date: 13 May 05 - 08:51 PM

Met a woman a week or so ago, fairly in her cups she was, who insisted that her gran wrote "Fields of Athenry". Would love some solid evidence to find out if it is at all possible that she is telling the truth! Anyone?
I moved this message here from another thread on the same topic.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 13 May 05 - 09:26 PM

In my time, I've met drunks who claimed all sorts of things like that. I don't think that you need attach any weight at all to what she told you; unless her grandmother was a man called Pete, perhaps.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,seamus
Date: 25 Sep 06 - 01:35 PM

who sings the fields of athenry in the soundtrack of the film veronica guerin ?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: MartinRyan
Date: 25 Sep 06 - 06:12 PM

Guest Seamus
The answer is given elsewhere in this (marathon) thread as Brian O'Donnell.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,The Establishers
Date: 29 Sep 08 - 01:09 PM

Hi to all
Wow this thread has taken some reading and also has enlightened me for one .
Myself and my wife have worked in the entertainment industry now for 10yrs and have over the last 2 yrs put Fields Of Athenry in our sets
yes i say sets as we have in all 5 seperate sets of songs and this great song is in all of them .
we have performed it in england ,northern ireland and europe and have always had a great response and never been shown the door .
well done   Pete St john if you did write it and if not well done anyway for reviving the song .


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: MartinRyan
Date: 29 Sep 08 - 01:24 PM

He wrote it!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,GUEST, Gerry
Date: 17 Oct 08 - 03:22 PM

All I did was to look up the lyrics and I found myself - somehow - here.
Many thanks to all contributors for an enlightening read. I have a mate, Roy, who's played a few gigs with Pete St. John in the past, and he told me that Pete wrote it. That seems pretty well confirmed now.

Thanks again

Gerry


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: Frank_Finn
Date: 17 Oct 08 - 05:39 PM

Here is another version of Fields Of Athenry

Composed by Tony Waldron and John Flanagan

Down by the Clareen's mossy banks one evening I did stray
To while away the leisure hours before the close of day.
My mind began to wander to the days long long gone by
When I roamed as free as Gaoth na Sí o'er the fields of Athenry.

T'was often with our dogs and sticks just at the break of day,
Barefooted o'er the dew clad grass we carelessly did stray.
To hunt the rabbits and course the hare 'til the moon rose in the sky.
Those were the happy days we spent, round the fields of Athenry.

Then homeward bound at evening time we'd wend our weary way
And we'd talk of the thrills and all the spills that we had throughout the day
And when the new moon we would see up in the evening sky
And we'd hear the curlew's plaintive call round the Fields of Athenry

And we had some famous hunting dogs I'll mention but a few.
There was Red and Speed and Rebel brave, we had noble Murty too.
But Bruno was the king of all as o'er the sod he'd fly
And 'twas woe betide the hare that strayed 'round the fields of Athenry.

All through the long hot summer days through those green fields we strayed.
While a youthful blood coursed in our veins and death seemed far away.
Sure we thought we were immortal that 'twas just the old that died.
Ah but now there's few of the friends I knew round the fields of Athenry.

I remember well young Jimmy so wild without a care.
As he sped across the moorlands you could see his flaxen hair
Just to watch himself and Rebel it would fill your heart with joy.
As they hunted for the rabbits 'round the fields of Athenry.

I recall to mind young Joseph who left for the Irish guards.
He was tall and square with long blonde hair he outran us all by yards.
But still in all his ramblings beneath an alien sky,
In his heart he was home a-hunting round the fields of Athenry.

Ah but now I'm old and my head is grey and I'm bowed with the weight of years.
When I think about those happy times sure my eyes grow dim with tears.
But still I love to ramble where the trout rise to the fly.
Down by the Clareen's mossy banks that flows through Athenry.

And when the Lord will call for me and my final peace be made.
On that hallowed hill above the town 'tis there I will be laid.
And when the final judgement comes with its fanfare from the sky
I will rise and then I will hunt again 'round the fields of Athenry


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: MartinRyan
Date: 17 Oct 08 - 05:57 PM

Frank

A very different (and in my opinion), much more "traditional-feeling" song - though written after Pete St. John's one! I've told the story elsewhere in this forum of how I sang a shortened version of Tim Dennehy's already shortened version of John Flanagan's original, in Kinvara a few years ago - and found out that John was sitting in front of me at the time!

Great song.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: Frank_Finn
Date: 17 Oct 08 - 06:56 PM

Hello Martin. A great song indeed and a refreshing alternative to the more popular version. I know the air but have not performed it yet. It is a common enough air but what other song is sung to it. Racking my brains here!!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: MartinRyan
Date: 17 Oct 08 - 08:12 PM

Frank

Whenever you get that feeling, the answer is always the same. It's a version of "The Star of the County Down"! On at least one occasion I've sat through a session and sung only songs to versions of that tune - without anyone realising it!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: Frank_Finn
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 08:05 AM

Of course   --- thats it


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,SinnFein
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 05:26 PM

DKM's version rocks.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,SinnFein
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 05:29 PM

That would be The Dropkick Murphys.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: ardmacha joe
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 08:24 AM

There are many fine versions of The Fields of Athenry.I agree with an earlier answer Pete St John wrote these words


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: trevek
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 09:38 AM

I believe Robert Kee gives a list of some of the cargoes departing from Ireland at the time. There was an amzing amount of food, including meat, being shipped abroad.

With regards to Pete St John's alleged use of older songs, I always thought "Flight of Earls" sounded a lot like the Wevford song "The Auld Caubeen".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: trevek
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 09:42 AM

Did anyone else giggle when they heard FoA played in the film "Dead Poets' Society"? The film is set in the 1950's, at least 25 years before the song was written.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,JOM
Date: 01 Sep 10 - 03:18 PM

What puzzles me is why Pete St John has never been able his copyright and c ollect royalties, if he is indeed the author of the song


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Subject: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: mg
Date: 08 Apr 12 - 05:25 PM

Is this an older song? I came across this on internet that says it was published in 1888 but I am not sure where this is from

https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://www.iisresource.org/Documents/0A1_Irish_History_Song.pdf&embedded=true

Were the words older and Pete St. John put the tune to it or is my internet find not true? mg


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: BobKnight
Date: 08 Apr 12 - 05:37 PM

As far as I'm aware it was written by Pete St John.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: KHNic
Date: 08 Apr 12 - 05:40 PM

"The Fields of Athenry" was written in the 1970s by Pete St. John.A claim was made in 1996 that a broadsheet ballad published in the 1880s had similar words; however, the folklorist and researcher John Moulden found no basis to this claim, and Pete St. John has stated definitively that he wrote the words as well as the music.

OK, it's from Wikipedia, but Pete St John.com
seems to agree, and who are we to doubt him.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Apr 12 - 06:00 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Apr 12 - 07:51 PM

A good idea to read a thread before posting to it...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jun 12 - 06:17 PM

Interesting thread. I just surfed in because I found the incredible spectacle of Irish football fans singing "Fields of Athenry" in the dying minutes of their teams crushing loss to Spain quite moving. Euro 2012: as Ireland is eliminated their fans raised the roof. New respect for "football" fans


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: MartinRyan
Date: 01 Dec 14 - 05:13 AM

Harking back to my story about who showed Pete St. John the Famine records - the man in question (Michael D. Higgins) is now President of Ireland!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 01 Dec 14 - 07:39 AM

Given that it's recent, I'm so tempted to write an extra verse for Tuam, that field being on the Athenry Road...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Oct 16 - 10:12 AM

My friend Martin wanted to sing this song but because of the football problem scandal that was going on this did not make him very happy at first but myself and my mum and the rest of my group Braveheart said this is not a song for entertaining for old folks homes but when he made an album of him singing songs the person he was working on the backing track for this album who I can't name was impressed by his record and the album is a success in my music record collection. Peter St. John the writer of this song I can not get a record the song as far I know the first record was by a folk singer called Paddy Riley cause that is how I first heard the song and that is how Marten my friend got to no it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 26 Oct 16 - 12:53 PM

Crikey!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fields of Athenry
From: banjoman
Date: 27 Oct 16 - 07:03 AM

A version of FOA has become a standard anthem of Liverpool Football Club


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