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An Spailpin Fanach

Related threads:
Lyr Req: Spailpin Fanach- wandering spalpeen (20)
Lyr Req: An Spalpin Fanach (3)
Lyr Req: An Spailpin Fanach (3)
an spailpin fanach? (4)

GUEST,Finn McCool 20 Oct 02 - 04:26 PM
GUEST 20 Oct 02 - 04:58 PM
Brían 20 Oct 02 - 11:34 PM
GUEST,Philippa 21 Oct 02 - 08:13 AM
GUEST,Ceejay 21 Oct 02 - 09:45 AM
Brían 21 Oct 02 - 10:49 AM
GUEST,Finn McCool 21 Oct 02 - 02:15 PM
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Subject: An Spailpin Fanach
From: GUEST,Finn McCool
Date: 20 Oct 02 - 04:26 PM

Dear Catters,

I have been trying unsuccessfuly to find a translation of An Spailpin Fanach, a song that appears on the Boys of the Lough's CD Farewell and Remember Me. Can anyone help me out? I am also interested in the background of this song and any other recordings of it.



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Subject: RE: An Spailpin Fanach
Date: 20 Oct 02 - 04:58 PM

Philippa gave a translation by George Sigerson here An Spailpin Fanach
It is not 100% accurate but it will do until a better one comes along.

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From: Brían
Date: 20 Oct 02 - 11:34 PM

I did this for someone else. It's not a perfect translation, but sadly Annraoi is not here to correct it for me so here goes:


I am a happy, talented labourer
And everyone, provide women to me!
As I shake my seed twice in the Spring on the brow of the fallow land.
As I shake my seed twice in the Spring on the brow of the fallow land
My hands on the plow behind the horses
tearing down the slope of the hills.

Five hundred farewells to my father's district, for ever to the Loving Island,
To the crowd of young men I left behind in the town who did not fail me in my time of need.
Dublin is burned, Galway is raised(in rebellion) we will light the bonfires
There will be wine and beer at my father's table, that will help the aimless labourer.

he first day in Ireland that I was enlisted, I was happy and well satisfied.
And the second day that I was enlisted, I was worried shaken.
But the third day that I was enlisted, I would have given five hundred pounds to leave,
And I would have gived that and anything else, but I was not able to get my pass.

I was a fine day in the market of Killkenney, and it began to rain heavily,
I drew inside and put my back to the wall and began to call for quarts(of beer)
Didn't I call in a shebeen keeping woman, hoping for the service of my spade
And devil a drop from then till morning, wasn't it paid for by the aimless labourer.

One day as I was down in Galway, the river was running down the slope.
There was trout and eel and a bundle of sticks and every sort of living creature.
There were young women there, reared and learned,
They were slender, gentle and fine.
And devil a woman if I sat with her, wouldn't I put the black on the white to her(pull the wool over their eye).

It's been a long day since I have been in a house without a friend, a great, long year and a season,
because I am courageous, talented labourer a teasin' the gentle maidens.
There are two and ten jealous women, competing for the service of my spade,
It was the prayer of the oul' wans, as I come across the threshold,
"Now behave yerself", you aimless labourer.

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Subject: RE: An Spailpin Fanach
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 21 Oct 02 - 08:13 AM

Please add this sort of information to existing threads rather than to new ones. That way we would keep lyrics and translations together.

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Subject: RE: An Spailpin Fanach
From: GUEST,Ceejay
Date: 21 Oct 02 - 09:45 AM

Brian, a 'spalpeen fawnach' was really a nomadic labourer or even a seasonal labourer even though 'fánach' does have the meanings of 'wandering'or 'lost'. These were men from the poorest districts of Ireland who walked each year to the wealthier farming areas of the country to get work. There were many tales in the folklore of places like Co Tipperary of the 'cunning tricks played by cunning spalpeens on their good natured employers to avoid working at the pace required or to seduce the heiress to the farm. Of course the spalpeens themselves had their own tales and songs about the incredible feats of strength and endurance of their kind, about the unreasonable demands of the boss and about the farmers' wives or daughters who fell in love with them, (eg 'A Spailpín, a Rún').

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Subject: RE: An Spailpin Fanach
From: Brían
Date: 21 Oct 02 - 10:49 AM

Sorry about that, Phillipa. I posted that rather late and wasn't paying attention. Thanks for the additional info, CeeJay. I originally did the translation for someone to help them understand the Irish language. Helping someone understand the socio-political context of this song would be a book!


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Subject: RE: An Spailpin Fanach
From: GUEST,Finn McCool
Date: 21 Oct 02 - 02:15 PM

Thanks to all for the info on this tune, and also for posting the previous thread as well.

--Finn (not really a guest, but I have to get my cookies in order)

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