Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Origin: Valley of Knockanure

DigiTrad:
SONG OF THE SHEETMETAL WORKER
THE VALLEY OF KNOCKANURE


hunkin 06 May 04 - 02:09 PM
Joe Offer 06 May 04 - 05:51 PM
Joe Offer 06 May 04 - 06:07 PM
Malcolm Douglas 06 May 04 - 06:16 PM
MartinRyan 06 May 04 - 06:59 PM
Joe Offer 06 May 04 - 07:00 PM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 07 May 04 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 07 May 04 - 10:26 AM
Big Tim 07 May 04 - 10:47 AM
Joe Offer 07 May 04 - 10:58 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 07 May 04 - 10:59 AM
weerover 07 May 04 - 11:41 AM
John MacKenzie 07 May 04 - 12:18 PM
Big Tim 07 May 04 - 02:39 PM
GUEST,T.Mooney 07 May 04 - 03:05 PM
Big Tim 08 May 04 - 03:15 AM
Big Tim 08 May 04 - 05:23 AM
Big Tim 08 May 04 - 02:39 PM
Big Tim 09 May 04 - 04:33 AM
Big Tim 29 Mar 07 - 10:58 AM
Jim Dixon 04 Apr 07 - 11:40 PM
GUEST,emmdee 05 Apr 07 - 11:54 AM
GUEST,ger 05 Jan 08 - 09:00 AM
GUEST,Ger 05 Jan 08 - 02:50 PM
GUEST,Joe Heaney Festival 09 Oct 13 - 08:06 AM
Lighter 09 Oct 13 - 08:34 AM
MartinRyan 09 Oct 13 - 09:39 AM
Lighter 09 Oct 13 - 12:02 PM
MartinRyan 09 Oct 13 - 01:09 PM
Lighter 09 Oct 13 - 01:45 PM
Lighter 23 Oct 13 - 01:19 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: who wrote : valley of knockanure
From: hunkin
Date: 06 May 04 - 02:09 PM

Can anyone help ?

I always thought The valley of Knockanure was written by Brian McMahon, as this is what is stated in Soodlums, - but the DT credits Tim Leahy.

... maybe one wrote the words and one the music ????

Much thanks.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: ADD Version The Valley of Knockanure (Heaney)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 May 04 - 05:51 PM

In 1964, Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger recorded Joe Heaney singing a longer version of this song. The tune is very close to the one in the Digital Tradition, but only the first verse is somewhat similar to the other song. No songwriter attribution is given. I wonder if Roud has something about the source of the song.
On the Joe Heaney CD The Road from Connemara, issued in 2000 on the Topic Records label.
It's a powerful recording.
-Joe Offer-

Track 18:
THE VALLEY OF KNOCKANURE (Roud 13971)
(as sung by Joe Heaney, 1964)

You may boast and speak about Easter week or the heroes of ninety eight,
Of the gallant men who roamed the glen to victory or defeat.
The men who died on the scaffold high were outlawed on the moor.
Not a word was spoken of two young lads in the valley of Knockanure.

'Twas on a summer's evening those two young lads sat down.
They were waiting on a brief despatch to come from Tralee town.
It wasn't long till Lyons came on sayin' "time's not mine nor yours,
Look out we are surrounded in the valley of Koockanure."

Young Dalton grabbed a rifle and by Welch's side he stood.
He gazed across the valley and over toward the hill.
In the glen where armed men with rifles fired galore,
There were Dalton, Dan and the Black and Tans in the valley of Knockanure.

One shot from Dalton's rifle sent a machine gun out of play.
He turned to young Lyons and said "Now try and get away.
Keep wide of rocks, keep close to nooks, and cross by Freeny's moor
And Danny and I will fight or die on the valley of Knockanure."

The summer sun was sinking fast on Kerry by the sea.
The pale moon it was rising over sweet Tralee.
The twinkling stars they shone so far out on the dreary moor,
And when Dalton died, the banshee cried on the valley of Knockanure.

God bless our bold Sinn Feiners, wherever they may be.
Don't forget to kneel and pray for that hero brave Con Dee.
He ran among the Kerry hills to the rich man and the poor.
Salt tears he shed for those he left dead in the valley of Knockanure.

Our hero boys were stout and bold, no counsel would they take.
They ran among the lonely glens where the Black and Tans did lay.
The women of the uplands gazed out across the moor,
Watching Dalton and Dan fighting fifty to one on the valley of Knockanure.

And 'twas God who sent those boys to life, but did not say how long,
For well we knew that England's crew would shoot them right or wrong.
With our rifles fixed right up to fire and bullets quick and sure,
We'll have revenge for those young men on the valley of Knockanure.

Young Eamonn Dalton and Danny Welch were known both far and wide,
On every hill and every glen they were always side by side.
A republic bold they did uphold, they were outlawed on the moor,
And side by side they fought and died on the valley of Knockanure.

I met with Dalton's mother, those words to me did say,
"May the lord have mercy on my son, he was shot in the getaway.
If I only could kiss his cold, cold lips my aching heart would cure,
And I'd lay his body down to rest in the valley of Knockanure."


Track 19:
Actuality; THE VALLEY OF KNOCKANURE
JOE HEANEY:
    "You know in Ireland every six months, the priest comes around to give advice and confessions to the old people, you see, in the cottages. And ther's one particular house they come to every time. Well this day they come to Knockanure in County Kerry and it was in 1922 and there was two wee lads, Eamonn Dalton and Danny Welch was on the run up in the hills and five lorry loads of Black and Tans came to hunt them. And they had a buy a fourteen year old boy called Con Dee bringing them messages to tell them how the Tans was behaving and the Tans, fifty Tans, hundred Tans, I should say, surrounded them with rifles and they told Con Dee to get away somewhere and bring a message to the village that they were willing to die to save the village. And the two fellows died. But the people, the old people coming, as they do there, they come along, old women and men and to spare them, the two lads fought to the death with a hundred Black and Tans up on the hill and saved the village from ruin, because if they ran back to the village, the lads were afraid the Tans would come back and probably kill innocent people."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: DTCorr: Valley of Knockamure
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 May 04 - 06:07 PM

Here's the version in Soodlum's, which is just slightly different from what's in the DT.

The Valley of Knockamure
(Brian McMahon??)

You may sing and speak about Easter Week and the heroes of Ninety Eight.
Of Fenian Men who roamed the glen in victory or defeat.
Their names on history's pages told, their memories will endure,
Not a song was sung of our darling sons, in the Valley of Knockanure.

There was Lyons and Walsh and the Dalton boy, They were young and in their prime.
They rambled to a lonely spot where the Black and Tans did hide.
The Republic bold they did uphold, Tho' outlawed on the moor
And side by side they fought and died In the Valley of Knockanure.

It was on a neighbouring hillside We listened in hushed dismay.
In every house, in every town, a young girl knelt to pray.
They're closing in around them now, with rifle fire so sure,
And Lyons is dead and young Dalton's down in the Valley of Knockanure.

But e'er [ere??] the guns could seal his fate, young Walsh had spoken thro'
With a prayer to God he spurned the sod, As against the hill he flew
The bullets tore his flesh in two, Yet he cried with voice so sure,
"Revenge I'll get for my comrade's death, in the Valley of Knockanure.

The summer sun is sinking low behind the field and lea.
The pale moonlight is shining bright far off beyond Tralee.
The dismal stars and the clouds afar are darkening o'er the moor,
And the banshee cried when young Dalton died, In the Valley of Knockanure.

    Notes: This Ballad tells the story of Jeremiah Lyons, Patrick Dalton and Patrick Walsh who were surrounded and killed by the Black and Tans at Gortagleann, Co. Kerry. It was written by a native of Kerry, Brian McMahon.


Source: Soodlum's Irish Ballad Book



I have the song in another book, The Very Best Irish Songs and Ballads, volume 3 (Walton Manufacturing, Ltd., 1999). Lyrics are exactly the same except that it says "ere the guns could seal his fate," which makes more sense. The Walton book says Bryan McMahon was a Kerry poet, author, and schoolteacher who died in 1997.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: who wrote : valley of knockanure
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 06 May 04 - 06:16 PM

Roud currently lists two examples: Paddy Tunney, Where Songs do Thunder (1991) pp.47-48 ("Easter week and the heroes of ninety-eight...") and Colm O'Lochlainn, More Irish Street Ballads, pp.84-85 ("It was in the year of twenty one..."). (Roud 9761; number 13971 is no longer assigned).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: who wrote : valley of knockanure
From: MartinRyan
Date: 06 May 04 - 06:59 PM

Written by one Tim Leahy, as far as I know. I'll check.

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: ADD Version: The Valley of Knockanure
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 May 04 - 07:00 PM

Here's the version from Paddy Tunney's Where Songs Do Thunder, (Appletree Press, 1991). This version shares verses with both Heaney and Soodlum, but it's fascinationg to note the vast differences in the three versions. No tune is given.
Tunney attributes the song to Bryan McMahon. -Joe Offer-


The Valley of Knockanure
(Bryan McMahon?)

You may sing and speak of Easter week and the heroes of ninety-eight
Of the fearless men who roamed the glen for victory or defeat
There were those who died on the green hillside, they were outlawed on the moor
Not a word was said of the gallant dead in the valley of Knockanure.

There was Dalton, Walshe and Lyons, boys, they were young and in their pride
In every house, in every crowd, they were always side by side
The republic bold they did uphold, though outlawed on the moor
And side by side they fought and died in the valley of Knockanure.

It was on an autumn evening these three young men lay down
To wait upon a brief dispatch to come from Tralee town
It wasn't long till Lyons came on saying, 'Time isn't mine nor your'
But alas! 'twas late and they met their fate in the valley of Knockanure.

Upon a neighbouring hillside we listened in calm dismay
In every house for miles around a maiden knelt to pray
They're closing in around them now, with rifle fire so sure
And Dalton's dead and Walshe is down in the valley of Knockanure.

For they brought them hence beyond a fence wherein the furze did bloom
Like brothers so they faced the foe to meet their vengeful doom
When Dinny spoke his voice it broke with a passion proud and pure
'For our land we die as we face the sky in the valley of Knockanure.'

There they lay on the damp, cold clay, martyred for Ireland's cause
Where the cowardly clan of the Black and Tans has shown them England's laws
No more they'll feel the soft breeze steal o'er uplands fresh and pure
For the wild geese fly where the heroes lie in the valley of Knockanure.

As the evening sun was sinking beyond the Feale and Lee
The pale moon was rising 'way out beyond Tralee
The glistening stars shone bright afar and gleamed over Cullen's moor
And the banshee cried where our heroes died in the valley of Knockanure.

I met with Dalton's mother, and these words to me did say
'May the Lord have mercy on my son, who fell in the fight today
Could I but kiss his cold, cold lips my aching heart 'twould cure
And I'd gladly lay him down to rest in the valley of Knockanure.'



I found the book at a used-book sale in Howth, the lovely little seaside town at the far north end of the Dublin rapid transit system line.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: who wrote : valley of knockanure
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 07 May 04 - 10:12 AM

Joe

The Irish Traditional Music Archive appears to have sheet music listing Tim Leahy as the author. I haven't seen it yet so am not sure if that refers to words/music/arrangement. The particular page is dated 1963 - which seems late?

Bryan McMahon is, presumably, the late Kerry playwright. (His son Gary, incidentally, wrote the Tom Crean song I posted in a thread recently.) While he certainly wrote a number of songs that have been taken up, I am slightly suspicious of this ascription. I'll see if I can check it.

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: who wrote : valley of knockanure
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 07 May 04 - 10:26 AM

A web search suggests the Brian McMahon ascription is common - but htere's also one to a local poet Paddy Drury.

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: who wrote : valley of knockanure
From: Big Tim
Date: 07 May 04 - 10:47 AM

The original version, the one in O'Lochlainn, was written by Timmy Leahy, of Mount Rivers, Listowel, born in 1908.

The most popular version, the one that we all sing, was written by Bryan MacMahon (1908-98), in 1946. He was a well known writer and teacher in Listowel. Just before Dalton, Lyons and Walsh were killed they visited the MacMahon's house at Gortaglanna (beside Knockanure). I'm still trying to establish if this was the same MacMahon family. MacMahon's version was based on an earlier one by local poet, from Knockanure, Paddy Drury. Here is one of Drury's original verses.

There was Jerry Lyons from Duagh, Pat Dalton from Athea,
Paddy Walsh from Ballydonoghue, and Con Dee who got away,
Over hill and dale, Con gave leg-bail, while the bullets pierced the ground,
Then jumped the streams at the Bog Lane [Knockanure], and blinked the devil's hounds.

Ignore everything Joe Heaney says on the historical background: it's fiction. Con Dee, who moved to Chicago, has written his version of the tragedy and it bears little relation to Heaney's, which seems to be, let's say, based on the oral tradition.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: who wrote : valley of knockanure
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 May 04 - 10:58 AM

Hi, Tim - when did the incident at Knockanure take place? Was it 1922, as Heaney says?
Can you post the lyrics from O'Lochlainn, or is it one of the versions I've already posted above? I have O'Lochlainn's Irish Street Ballads, but not More Irish Street Ballads.
-Joe Offer-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: who wrote : valley of knockanure
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 07 May 04 - 10:59 AM

Big Tim

Thank you for sorting out the three threads of the story!

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: who wrote : valley of knockanure
From: weerover
Date: 07 May 04 - 11:41 AM

Can I smell a chapter of Big Tim's next book a-cooking?

wr.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: who wrote : valley of knockanure
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 07 May 04 - 12:18 PM

I have a copy of the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makesthem [sic]Songbook published by Tiparm Music NY, and dated 1964 [3rd printing]
It will of course come as no surprise that it is headed
Arranged and adapted by Liam Clancy and copyrighted by Tiparm Music 1963. It also says this action occurred in the "Black & Tan" war in 1921. The words are similar to Soodlums as quoted by Joe Offer.
John


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: who wrote : valley of knockanure
From: Big Tim
Date: 07 May 04 - 02:39 PM

12 May 1921, repeat (!) 1921! The killings were by the Black and Tans (though wearing RIC uniforms) during the War of Indep. which ended in 1921. The Tans commander was Scottish.

Joe H: fantastic singer but not fussy about historical accuracy!

wr: hopefully!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: who wrote : valley of knockanure
From: GUEST,T.Mooney
Date: 07 May 04 - 03:05 PM

I first heard that song sung by a local musician (piper) one Paddy Mulcahy in one of the local pubs. It would have been late 50s or so. This is in Co.Waterford but, obviously the song was, by then, a fairly well know ballad, but it was definately in the time before "ballad sessions" in public houses became so popular.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: who wrote : valley of knockanure
From: Big Tim
Date: 08 May 04 - 03:15 AM

The four IRA men were on the run. They got careless and used a main road, rather than crossing the fields as they usually did. They were going to the MacMahon house to collect a bicycle, about halfway between Athea and Listowel. They were surprised by the Tans and lined up and shot in cold blood. They had just come from Mass and Communion in Athea, as they had done for the previous four days during a "Mission". They were unarmed at the time, so had to surrender. The first to be shot was Jerry Lyons. When this happened, Con (Cornelius) Dee decided, as he was going to die anyway, to make a run for it. He did, and almost immediately took a bullet in the thigh but managed to keep going. He ran for about three miles and survived. He was never recaptured but remained in hiding until the Truce.

Gortaglanna is the name of the crossroads and bridge (where the men were sitting chatting when captured). Knockanure is the relevant townland. It's fairly flat farmland, not mountainous as implied by the song.

This background is based on accounts by witnesses. Mainly, one of the MacMahon family, who noted the Tan commander's Scottish accent. In June '21 Con Dee made a sworn statement to a Justice of the Peace. In 1958 he published his account of the event in the "Shannonside Annual". (These local publications are held by Tralee library). The River Lee, mentioned in the song, flows near Tralee (it's not of course the BIG River Lee!). The River Feale is a few miles south. Often they are mistakenly sang as "field and lea"

Timmy Leahy (as his family called him) worked as a railway signal man in Listowel, where he lived. He played the button accordian and wrote songs.

Dr Bryan MacMahon was an academic and writer. There is quite a lot about him online. Some of Paddy Drury's stuff is also online, including his most famous, risque verse! He was a spailpinn.

Joe: I'll post Leahy's version, which is completely different, later, if nobody else does first.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: who wrote : valley of knockanure
From: Big Tim
Date: 08 May 04 - 05:23 AM

I should add that photos of the Knockanure monument to the men are also online. Perhaps some one could provide a "blicky"? Just search under "Knockanure".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: who wrote : valley of knockanure
From: Big Tim
Date: 08 May 04 - 02:39 PM

This is Paddy Drury's version, from the "Shannonside Annual", 1960. As far as I can ascertain, it was never written down by PD, or rather, never published. This version is based on the memory of Jerry Histon, presumably a local man. The verses are a bit jumbled but here they are anyway.

May the Lord have mercy on those youths,
Their hearts were loyal and pure,
That were caught and shot in that lonely spot,
The Fort near Knockanure.

From the tyrants and their bloody crew,
No mercy could they find,
But God consoled their weeping friends,
In their sorrow left behind.

There was Jerry Lyons from Duagh,
Pat Dalton from Athea,
Paddy Walsh from Ballydonohue,
And Con Dee, who got away.

Over hill and dale, Con gave leg bail,
While the bullets pierced the ground,
They jumped the streams at the Bog Lane,
And blinked the Devil's hounds.

Then the mountainside, he slow did stride,
Though wounded then and sore,
And he shed a tear for his comrades dear,
Who were dying in their gore.

Those martys bold, now dead and cold,
To the lorries were thrown in,
And in Listowel the tyrants told,
They were ambushed in that glen.

We have two more whom we sad deplore,
That in our Parish fell,
Mick Galvin and Jack Sheehan,
In Heaven now they dwell.

Accurate in detail. Dublin Castle sent out a press release that HMG forces had been attacked by "100 rebels". Untrue: totally, utterly and completely. Before they were shot, the men were in fact thrown into B & T lorries and driven a mile towards Athea. Unsure as to what to do, they then turned back to
Gortaglanna, and shot the men.                                       

Galvin and Sheehan were killed in the War in separate incidents (Sheehan very close to where the Knockanure men died, half a mile).

Re Knockanure, the Tans were "in a bad mood", angered at the murder, three weeks previously, of Sir Arthur Vicars, of "Irish Crown Jewels" infamy, who, incongrously as it may seem, lived in a Big House in Knockanure. Look it up!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: who wrote : valley of knockanure
From: Big Tim
Date: 09 May 04 - 04:33 AM

Joe here, at last, is Leahy's version, said to have been written in September 1921. From O'Lochlainn's second ballad book.

It was in the year of twenty-one,
All in the month of May,
Some of our noble [Flying] Column boys,
Were strolling on their way,
They came from Mass that morning,
Their souls were now secure,
But little they thought that they'd be shot,
In the Valley of Knockanure.

On a bridge near Gortaglanna,
Those boys a rest did take,
They were waiting a dispatch to say,
What move they were to make,
With feelings strong to move along,
And make themselves secure,
But it was their lot that day to be caught,
In the Valley of Knockanure.

Now when those boys were taken,
They were beaten black and blue,
Into the lorries they were thrown,
Alas, what could they do?
They dare not ask for mercy now,
But they prayed they might endure,
Their torments for their motherland,
In the Valley of Knockanure.

Those heroes names I'll now relate,
Who were captured on that day,
Paddy Walsh and Jerry Lyons,
And Dalton from Athea,
Con Dee from Ballylongford,
He surprised the Tans I'm sure,
When he made that dash for liberty,
From the Valley of Knockanure.

Near an ancient fort those boys were shot,
And there their bodies lay,
Till Ireland's sons a tomb will raise,
To them some future day,
So pray the Lord may grant them rest,
Their souls with Him secure,
For a martyr's death those heroes met,
In the Valley of Knockanure.

What woe and grief to parents came,
That night when told the tale,
In every house they knelt and prayed,
Along the River Gale,
For those gallant boys who gave their lives,
Our freedom to secure,
And relieve Con Dee, who wounded be,
In the Valley of Knockanure.

Again, this version is very true to the facts.
1. They were sitting on the bridge. 2.They had just come from Mass. 3. "waiting a dispatch" - the Column had been temporarily stood down to allow an infectious skin complaint, the result of rough, on the run living, to clear up. 4. They were badly beaten up. 5. They were thrown into the lorries and driven around for a spell. 6. The River Gale (or, Galey) is, geographically, the relevant river: the men often followed it's course, to avoid using roads (it's jsu north of Gortaglanna). The Feale, which runs through Listowel, and the Lee are further away. MacMahon has used them simply for local flavour.

The names of those who murdered Sir Arthur Vicars, for alleged informing,have been published. None of the Knockanure Four were involved.

O'Lochlain's note includes, "written by Tim Leahy of Listowel. My friend Bryan MacMahon also made a version".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: who wrote : valley of knockanure
From: Big Tim
Date: 29 Mar 07 - 10:58 AM

Here's an update, based on info supplied by a Knockanure local historian. Two main points: yet another early song on the subject, and, another possible contender for authorship of the standard version.

The other song was written by local folk poet and seanchaí (traditional storyteller) Paddy Drury (1865-1945). This "witty and likeable spailpin (seasonal farm worker)" came from The Bog Lane, Carueragh (Carhooearagh) in Knockanure. Drury's verses were plain but accurate,

May the Lord have mercy on those youths,
Their hearts were loyal and pure,
That were caught and shot in that lonely spot,
The Fort near Knockanure.

From the tyrants and their bloody crew,
No mercy could they find,
But God consoled their weeping friends,
In their sorrow left behind.

There was Jerry Lyons from Duagh,
Pat Dalton from Athea,
Paddy Walsh from Ballydonoghue,
And Con Dee who got away.

Over hill and dale, Con gave leg-bail,
While the bullets pierced the ground,
Then jumped the streams at the Bog Lane
And blinked the Devil's hounds.

Then the mountainside, he slow did stride,
Then wounded then and sore,
And he shed a tear for his comrades dear,
Who lay dying their gore.

Those martyrs bold, now dead and cold,
To the lorries were thrown in,
And in Listowel the tyrants told,
They were ambushed in that Glen.

Two different versions of Drury's song were published in the 'Shannon Side Annual', in 1957 and in 1960. One version is, interestingly, set to the air of 'The Dawning of the Day'. Another version of the song, said to have been written by a P. Collins of Drombeg, now appears to be irretrievably lost.

Duagh is a village about three miles south of Knockanure, itself located half way between Listowel and Athea. It's worth noting the origin of the Knockanure place name, from the Irish 'cnoc an úir' –"hill of the yew [tree]". Ballydonoghue is a townland five miles north west of Listowel. The neighbouring townland here is Coolard and early press reports gave this as the home of Paddy Walsh. The Bog Lane refers to Coilagurteen bog. Here, another IRA-man, Jack Sheehan, was killed by the Tans on 26 May 1921: ambushed while on a brief visit home to see his parents.

So, there are at least six different versions, by five different authors, all apparently to the same tune. The 'main' version is usually credited to Dr. Bryan MacMahon (1909-98), a noted Kerry writer and teacher, known locally as "The Master". (This was the common term for teachers in rural Ireland, until about 1970). His version is dated 1946. MacMahon, from Listowel, some five miles west of the scene of the crime, got the factual details of the incident from Pádraig Ó Ceallacháin (Patrick O'Callaghan), an old-IRA man and head teacher, 'Master', at Knockanure National School.

However, claims for authorship have more recently been advanced on behalf of a man called James Kiely Ó Mahony of Athea. These are based on the assertions of his granddaughter, made to the highly respected Kerry poet Dan Keane of Coilagurteen (born 1919). It is widely accepted that MacMahon didn't originate the song. One possible scenario is that James Ó Mahony did in fact write the original, a rough and ready version, which Pádraig Ó Ceallacháin then gave to MacMahon, a man with a considerable literary reputation, to be "polished up". However, this is now impossible to verify and there remains considerable debate in north Kerry and west Limerick as to who should be credited with authorship of 'The Valley of Knockanure'.

There is yet another verse, which surfaces occasionally, author unknown (to me). It must have been written many years ago as the writer Frank O'Connor recalled hearing it sung during his internment in 1922-23. Even at such an early date, the process of various incidents being mixed up, and of resulting historical inaccuracy, had already begun. In fact, this song is about the death of Patrick Hanley, a mentally challenged, innocent man who was murdered by Crown forces at 2 Broad Street, Cork City on 17 November 1920.

I met Pat Hanley's mother and she to me did say,
"God be with my son Pat, he was shot in the runaway,
If I could kiss his pale cold lips, his wounded heart I'd cure,
And I'd bring my darling safely home from the valley of Knockanure.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origin: Valley of Knockanure
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 04 Apr 07 - 11:40 PM

"Brewer's Dictionary of Irish Phrase & Fable," page 831, credits Bryan MacMahon for THE VALLEY OF KNOCKANURE, but it doesn't give any lyrics.

You can see the page with Google Book Search.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origin: Valley of Knockanure
From: GUEST,emmdee
Date: 05 Apr 07 - 11:54 AM

This is taken from a book "Ballads from the Pubs of Ireland" by James N Healy. (Mercier Paperback) "Paddy Drury's lament for the three Republican soldiers ... is among the finest writing of its kind to be found in Ireland".
m.d.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origin: Valley of Knockanure
From: GUEST,ger
Date: 05 Jan 08 - 09:00 AM

I am looking for the tune in ABC format of this song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origin: Valley of Knockanure
From: GUEST,Ger
Date: 05 Jan 08 - 02:50 PM

I am looking for the tune in abc format of this song


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origin: Valley of Knockanure
From: GUEST,Joe Heaney Festival
Date: 09 Oct 13 - 08:06 AM

The Valley of Knockanure by Joe Heaney

http://www.joeheaney.org/default.asp?contentID=1091

And you know in Ireland every six months, the priest comes around to give advice and confessions to the old people, you see, in the cottages. And there's one particular house they come to every time. Well, this day they came to Knockanure in County Kerry and it was in 1922, and there was two wee lads, Eamonn Dalton and Danny Welch, was on the run up in the hills, and five lorry-loads of Black and Tans came to hunt them. And they had a boy, a fourteen-year-old boy called Con Dee bringing them messages to tell them how the Tans was behaving, and the Tans, fifty Tans, hundred Tans, I should say, surrounded them with rifles and they told Con Dee to get away some way, and bring a message to the village that they were willing to die to save the village. And the two fellows died. But the people, the old people coming, as they do there, they come along, old women and men; and to spare them, the two lads fought to the death with a hundred Black and Tans up on the hill and saved the village from ruin, because if they ran back to the village, the lads were afraid the Tans would come back and probably kill innocent people.


You may boast and speak about Easter week or the heroes of Ninety-eight,
Of the gallant men who roamed the glen to victory or defeat.
The men who died on the scaffold high were outlawed on the moor.
Not a word was spoken of two young lads in the valley of Knockanure.

'Twas on a summer's evening those two young lads sat down.
They were waiting on a brief despatch to come from Tralee town.
It wasn't long 'til Lyons came on saying, 'Time's not mine nor yours.
Look out – we are surrounded in the valley of Knockanure.'

Young Dalton grabbed a rifle and by Welch's side he stood.
He gazed across the valley and over toward the hill.
In the glen where armed men with rifles fired galore,
There were Dalton, Dan and the Black and Tans in the valley of Knockanure.

One shot from Dalton's rifle sent a machine gun out of play.
He turned to young Lyons and said 'Now try and get away.
Keep wide of rocks, keep close to nooks, and cross by Freeny's moor,
And Danny and I will fight or die on the valley of Knockanure.'

The summer sun was sinking fast on Kerry by the sea.
The pale moon it was rising over sweet Tralee.
The twinkling stars they shone so far out on the dreary moor,
And when Dalton died, the banshee cried in the valley of Knockanure.

God bless our bold Sinn Féiners, wherever they may be.
Don't forget to kneel and pray for that hero brave Con Dee.
He ran among the Kerry hills to the rich men and the poor.
Salt tears he shed for those he left dead in the valley of Knockanure.

Our hero boys were stout and bold, no counsel would they take.
They ran among the lonely glens where the Black and Tans did lay.
The women of the uplands gazed out across the moor,
Watching Dalton and Dan fighting fifty-to-one in the valley of Knockanure.

And 'twas God who sent those boys to life, but did not say how long,
For well we knew that England's crew would shoot them right or wrong.
With our rifles fixed right up to fire and bullets quick and sure,
We'll have revenge for those young men on the valley of Knockanure.

Young Eamonn Dalton and Danny Welch were known both far and wide,
On every hill and every glen they were always side by side.
A republic bold they did uphold, they were outlawed on the moor,
And side by side they fought and died in the valley of Knockanure.

I met with Dalton's mother, those words to me did say,
'May the lord have mercy on my son, he was shot in the getaway.
If I only could kiss his cold, cold lips my aching heart would cure,
And I'd lay his body down to rest in the valley of Knockanure.'
Notes

There has been some confusion about authorship of this song; see discussion at mudcat. A contributor who calls himself 'Big Tim' posted the following there on 8 May 2004:

'The four IRA men were on the run. They got careless and used a main road, rather than crossing the fields as they usually did. They were going to the MacMahon house to collect a bicycle, about halfway between Athea and Listowel. They were surprised by the Tans and lined up and shot in cold blood. They had just come from Mass and Communion in Athea, as they had done for the previous four days during a "Mission." They were unarmed at the time, so had to surrender. The first to be shot was Jerry Lyons. When this happened, Con (Cornelius) Dee decided, as he was going to die anyway, to make a run for it. He did, and almost immediately took a bullet in the thigh but managed to keep going. He ran for about three miles and survived. He was never recaptured but remained in hiding until the Truce.

'Gortaglanna is the name of the crossroads and bridge (where the men were sitting chatting when captured). Knockanure is the relevant townland. It's fairly flat farmland, not mountainous as implied by the song.

'This background is based on accounts by witnesses. Mainly, one of the MacMahon family, who noted the Tan commander's Scottish accent. In June 1921 Con Dee made a sworn statement to a Justice of the Peace. In 1958 he published his account of the event in the "Shannonside Annual." (These local publications are held by Tralee library). The River Lee, mentioned in the song, flows near Tralee (it's not of course the BIG River Lee!). The River Feale is a few miles south. Often they are mistakenly sung as "field and lea."

'Tim Leahy worked as a railway signalman in Listowel, where he lived. He played the button accordian and wrote songs. Dr Bryan MacMahon was an academic and writer. There is quite a lot about him online. Some of Paddy Drury's stuff is also online, including his most famous, risque verse! He was a spailpín.'


This recording was issued on The Road from Connemara (Cló Iar-Chonnachta CICD 143 / Topic TSCD 518D).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origin: Valley of Knockanure
From: Lighter
Date: 09 Oct 13 - 08:34 AM

I have a possibly unreliable recollection from long ago that the tune is known as "Youghal Harbor."

Is it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origin: Valley of Knockanure
From: MartinRyan
Date: 09 Oct 13 - 09:39 AM

Lighter

"Youghal Harbour" is the air used (nowadays) for Boolavogue - amongst many other Irish songs.

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origin: Valley of Knockanure
From: Lighter
Date: 09 Oct 13 - 12:02 PM

Ah. That explains it.

So what *is* the other tune called?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origin: Valley of Knockanure
From: MartinRyan
Date: 09 Oct 13 - 01:09 PM

Good question! The Knockanure setting is very well known so, if I hear it lurking in another song, I tend to react "That's the Valley of Knockanure tune"! I'll let it fester in my brain for a while and see what comes out...

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origin: Valley of Knockanure
From: Lighter
Date: 09 Oct 13 - 01:45 PM

Thanks, pal.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origin: Valley of Knockanure
From: Lighter
Date: 23 Oct 13 - 01:19 PM

This very useful site turned up no similar tunes - except "Knockanure" itself!

http://www.folktunefinder.com/


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 18 October 10:41 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.