A few thoughts on St. Patrick’s Day

Today is then St. Patrick’s Day. There will be a variety of events, by far the most prominent will be cultural and sporting. I had intended writing a blog on what I view as the way in which the sanitisation of the entirely legitimate nationalist culture of St. Patrick’s Day has actually become a cause of further division. When I discussed it with Mick, however, he challenged me to do something about the religious angle.

The reality is that St. Patrick’s Day seems to have become increasingly unrelated to religion. Once it was a day when Catholics all went to mass. Us Prods did not go to church (unless it was Sunday) but on the nearest appropriate day the history of and the Protestant claims about St. Patrick were often mentioned. Now, however, the day seems dominated by sporting events and parades of varying degrees of cultural relevance to Ireland / Northern Ireland – floats with Star Wars characters are not exactly a traditional feature of Irish culture but they are entirely harmless. It seems in some ways that the American version of St. Patrick’s Day once somewhat sneered at in Ireland has been adopted wholesale. A very major dynamic of the whole day, however, and one that frequently causes problems is drunkenness on an epic scale, far too often associated with antisocial behaviour which has in the past degenerated into rioting: before anyone complains I am not ignoring the drunkenness and antisocial behaviour on the 12th of July.

The religious aspect of St. Patrick’s Day does not preclude secular celebrations and things like the Rio Carvinal specifically occur immediately before Lent each year. However, the religious and cultural significance of St. Patrick seems in danger of being washed away in a river of booze on which float naff floats.

Patrick does indeed seem to have been the most important individual in bringing Christianity to this island whether it was then inhabited by (in descending order of sanity) non specific peoples oblivious to the competing claims of those who lived in the same place over a millennium later, Celts, Gaels, the Ulster Scots (hat tip to Prof McWilliams – the man to whom I am indebted for supervising my doctorate), the Cruthin, the lost tribe of Dan or anyone else anyone wants to mention. His religious legacy is profound and he is indeed claimed by all the major Christian denominations here. Furthermore from mainly the north eastern part of the island, Christianity spread to much of Scotland and Northern England which again whatever one’s views of religion has enormous cultural significance.

Whilst all of us who are religious should note the significance of St. Patrick even those without religious beliefs can celebrate Patrick. The communities he helped inspire led to significant cultural achievements here. Once this was known as the land of Saints and Scholars. The illuminated manuscripts of the Bible were pioneered here of which The Book of Kells is probably the most famous. The fact that Armoy was once the cultural and religious capital of the Kingdom of Dalriada always amuses me.

Clearly a patron saint’s day means different things to different people: the more so if ownership of him is contested by groups which contest so many other things. St. Patrick, however, was an individual of great significance and part of what became an important historical, cultural and religious society. He is in fact not the property of any of us and without wishing to be elitist maybe it is time we pointed up a bit more of the cultural and religious achievements of Patrick and focused a little less on green dyed alcohol or utterly irrelevant fancy dress.

, ,

  • Mark

    If St Patrick as you say clearly means different things to different people , why ask us to focus a little less on green pints and leprechaun g-strings .

    Happy Paddy’s Day Turgon …

  • To be honest, Tugon, and as a catholic my memory of the day from youth is we went to mass in the morning and that was about it. Mind you that was in the 70s and 60s in Co Derry and we didn’yt give it much thought. Hallowe’en was bigger in school years. It’s become almost compulsory in more recent times but I mark it as i wish to.

  • Drumlins Rock

    I might go see the AOH in Dungannon, the American tripe does my head in, no harm guys, and I’m not a sports fan.

    The Saints & Scholars theme is a neglected side of our joint history, Ireland and Scotland were essentially one at that time, Turgon could take it further with Irish missionary monks spreading across Europe, there is probably sometihng in the faith and simple lifestyle they promoted that would appeal to the most secular of us even.

    Maybe we can develope our own style of celebrations reflecting that type of life? nah cant see that happening.

  • When I was a scholchild, it was an entirely religious day. I recall 1961 being Patrician Year and being the proud owner of a lapel badge, sod thru primary school.
    Certainly there was talk that some neighbours might be the sort who would “drown their shamrock” but it was always talked about in a disapproving way…my family being teatotal.
    Certainly when my uncle reported back on his first St Patricks Day parade in New York, it seemed exotic to me in West Belfast where the idea of a “parade” was actually frowned upon by authorities and really only considered by people who many considered “looking for trouble”.

    The importation of the American secular ideas used to make me feel uncomfortable. Orignally a Protestant thing in USA, it was quickly hi-jacked by Irish immigrants (navvy and domestic servant) to celebrate the fact that they were visible in a society which did not value them.
    It was also a celebration of survival.
    It has been sanitised…….is 4th July without the American flag possible? Lets not offend Confederates (actually 4th July in Vicksburg was very different up t WW2) or celebrating Bastille Day in a way not to offend French monarchists seems absurd.
    As is the celebration of St Patricks Day without Irelands National Flag……..lest we offend those whose Irishness is merely ethnic as well as a nationality.

    To some extent St Patricks Day is still religious……albeit a new religion of “shared ecumenism” which seeks to subvert all legitimate (and peaceful feelings) to a greater false god of causing no offence.
    Drawing the meaning out of 12th July by re-making it as a shared experience is of course a second feast day for the new god, to whom we must al bow.

    While I deplore copious amounts of alcohol intake in the Holy Land….the students have got it right….it is a celebration of survival and a reminder that we are still here.

  • Harry Flashman

    “To be honest, Tugon, and as a catholic my memory of the day from youth is we went to mass in the morning and that was about it.”

    My recollection also, unless we went down to Dublin for a few days as a special treat to stay with my auntie (I well remember Harold Wilson’s resignation news coming over the car radio on one such trip in 1976).

    The Dublin parade was a tedious affair involving endless floats from commercial organizations in Dublin with no relation to St Patrick -I recall Abel Alarms had about twenty odd floats one year- and involved standing in the cold for two hours near Grafton Street waving a cheap plastic tricolour before Mum and Dad would repair to the bar of the Shelbourne (after Holy Hour of course) for a few hot whiskeys and Club Oranges for us weeans.

    The first time I encountered the idea of celebrating St Patrick’s in Derry was in 1984 and a couple of mates said they had gone out for a few drinks to celebrate, complete surprise to me. It wasn’t until about 1991 that I can ever remember St Patrick’s Day being a big event in the North.

  • babyface finlayson

    Turgon
    “it was then inhibited by (in descending order of sanity) non specific people’s”.
    And we are still inhibiting it today.

  • Zig70

    As a kid in the 70’s/80’s St Patrick’s Day in Downpatrick had a parade. Always a light hearted affair. Parades should be for kids. I was on a few floats as well which was good fun. Not sure if I remember many tricolors. Always went to mass, often in Irish (took in as much in either language). A common event was also the run up Slieve Patrick (I think that is the name) in Saul to the big cross and then roll back down again.
    At QUB in the 80/90’s we would sit outside on sofa’s in the holyland and enjoy the craic without anyone trying to beat us off the streets, before heading to the union or Laverys.
    Now it is typically a quick look at the parade in Dublin which the kids love and off to the all Ireland club final in Croke to watch Cross win again from a 5pt deficit.

  • dwatch

    Good article Turgon, and followup posts by others. I remember taking some US citizens down to Downpatrick to show them St Patrick’s grave in a Prod cathedral graveyard some years back. http://www.discovernorthernireland.com/Down-Cathedral-and-Saint-Patricks-Grave-Downpatrick-P3000
    Then I was informed by a historian in the nearby museum that St Patrick was buried in six other known sites in Ireland.

    Meanwhile I suppose all golf fans will be singing this new drinking song this weekend in their golf clubs.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/golf/blog/devil_ball_golf/post/raise-a-glass-to-the-rory-mcilroy-is-no-1-irish-drinking-song?urn=golf,wp9314

  • Turgon

    babyface finlayson,
    Thanks I have fixed that.

  • ranger1640

    Researchers claim that St Patrick actually fled to Ireland to avoid becoming a tax collector. Once there, however, it is claimed he took up an even more dubious occupation – as a slave trader.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2116153/Is-legend-St-Patrick-just-bit-blarney-He-runaway-tax-collector-turned-slave-trader-says-expert.html#ixzz1pMp0SIDg

  • Harry Flashman. For some reason I remember that Wilson resigned on the 16th, so, the day before St Patrick’s in 1976, and had no real interest or insight into Westminster politics at the time. Little did we know the boiling summer we were about to experience.The Yanks did to St Paddy’s day what they had already done to Hallowe’en, turning both into something they never were before.

  • galloglaigh

    I’ve spent many a Saint Patrick’s day in the States. I was in New York in 2001 and it was great craic. To be honest it was what is done in Derry on a much larger scale -see the parade first, then on to a pub for pints. Southie in Boston was much more of an Irish style celebration – a small local led parade, watched by hundreds, who either took the wains home, or went to a pub for cans of beer in plastic glasses. I actually worked a shift in one of Southie’s local Irish pubs. It was madness to be fair!

    Harry

    In the 70’s and 80’s in Derry, people had to hide their shamrocks and badges; parades, in the likes of Creggan and Shantallow, usually ended up in a volley of plastic bullets from the RUC, followed by a baton beating for anyone caught by the army snatch squads.

    I would say that’s why we didn’t see much celebration?

  • Ní Dhuibhir

    It’s odd that it’s the Downpatrick parade of all things which is a focus of dispute at the moment, because it’s always seemed a low-key, light hearted, thoroughly inoffensive local celebration in the Father Ted tradition (‘A child has become lodged in the tunnel of goats…’). My favourite float ever was a flat bed truck with a home made sign on the front reading ‘What did St Patrick say when he drove the snakes out of Ireland?’. A mass of primary school aged children writhed happily on top, each one inside a sleeping bag, above the words ‘Are youse alright in the back?’

  • dwatch
  • Politico68

    The DownPatrick fuss is beyond ridiculous and it shows the extent that some Unionists will go just to find a reason to keep the two communities seperate.

  • JR

    Well done Loughgiel!! Bringing hurlings most coveted prize back to Ulster for only the second time. Great for Ulster Hurling!

    Well done to the DUP mayor for crossing the cultural devide to be part of such a historic day.

  • Politico68

    JR where can i find that image of Ireland you have on ur profile?

  • separatesix

    JR You’re straying from the point as usual, you know Turgon has no interest in quasi-political Gaelic games. it shows your juvenile mentality. Stick to the subject! you should have your account suspended.

  • separatesix

    Apart from being served green custard at School on the 17th of March, it means very little to me, It seems like a tacky excuse for a booze-up. I think the Status of St Patrick’s day should stay as it is in NI, I don’t think it warrants people getting the day off work in retail.

  • separatesix

    That DUP Mayor is a useful idiot for nationalism, a traitor a bit like Rev Latimer. Both have lost all credibility.

  • JR

    Politico,
    I did it myself in Windows paint. I made it from a map of Ireland and the electoral map on the ARC website.

  • separatesix

    Draw as many Irredentist “all you’ve got left is Larne” maps as you want you’re still in a UK region. With a secretary of state the Royal mail delivering your post and the NHS stitching you up, pounds and pence still ringing through the tills.

  • socaire

    Only because ‘your’ army is bigger than our army. Yah sucks boo

  • lamhdearg2

    FROM THE BBC
    “The first and deputy first ministers are travelling to the United States and Canada for a series of meetings during St Patrick’s week”
    st pats WEEK!

  • Zig70

    st pats WEEK! Maybe someday it will graduate to a glorious fortnight. sic. A public holiday would be a fitting recognition of it’s importance to half the province. Just back from Croke, brilliant day out for £20 and the Ulstermen kicked butt. (though Cross didn’t start playing till the second half). Hope the DUP mayor had a good day out though I missed the anthem at the start of the hurling match. Did it get played? Was it played especially early? Did he stay for the football? Anyway, I’d like to see an end to the posturing over anthems from either side and good on Mayor Stevenson for leading with maturity.
    Certainly beats going to mass 🙂

  • JR

    Saw kate winsor on the News presenting shamroc to soldiers. Thought it was Ironic the band were playing Fainne geal an lae. An asling composed in the 1700’s predicting the End of English Rule in Ireland.

  • BluesJazz

    JR
    Good to see the Duchess relating to her Irish subjects:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/kate-middleton/9150333/Duchess-of-Cambridge-toasted-by-Irish-Guards.html

    The band were actually playing ‘killalea’.

  • BluesJazz

    *Killaloe*

  • JR

    I know I heard.

  • BluesJazz

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killaloe_March

    Not too sure it’s what you said it predicted JR

    But sure wasn’t it a grand sight to see? Inclusive and all that.
    I’m sure the Irish Guards would have appreciated Pippa along with her noble sister.

  • JR

    I am sure they would BJ, I am not sure the Soldiers are her subjects yet. They might one day be her Husbands though.

    Here’s the lyrics of that song if you are interested.

    Maidin moch do ghabhas amach,
    Ar bruach Locha Léin;
    An Samhradh teacht’s an chraobh len’ais,
    Is ionrach te ón ngréin,
    Ar thaisteal dom trí bhailte
    poirt is bánta mine réidhe,
    Cé a gheobhainn le máis ach an chúileann deas,
    Le fáinne geal an lae.

    Ní raibh bróg ná stoca, caidhp ná clóc;
    Ar mo stóirin óg ón spéir,
    Ach folt fionn órga sios go troigh,
    Ag fás go barr an théir.
    Bhí calán crúite aici ina glaic,
    ‘S ar dhrúcht ba dheas a scéimh,
    Do rug barr gean ar Bhéineas deas,
    Le fáinne geal an lae.

    Do shuigh an bhrideog sios le m’ais,
    Ar bhrinse glas den fhéar,
    Ag magadh léi bhios dá maiomh go pras,
    Mar mhnaoi nach scarfainn léi.
    ‘S é dúirt í liomsa, “imigh uaim,
    Is scaoil ar siúl mé a réic”,
    Sin iad aneas na soilse ag teacht,
    Le fáinne geal an lae.

  • Harry Flashman

    “Harry Flashman. For some reason I remember that Wilson resigned on the 16th, so, the day before St Patrick’s in 1976,”

    You recall correctly, I told you I heard the news on the car radio on the way down to Dublin to see the parade, which would be held the next morning, what’s your point?

  • Harry Flashman

    “In the 70′s and 80′s in Derry, people had to hide their shamrocks and badges; parades, in the likes of Creggan and Shantallow, usually ended up in a volley of plastic bullets from the RUC, followed by a baton beating for anyone caught by the army snatch squads.”

    What a load of moping balls!

    I lived in Derry, you would buy your sprig of Shamrocks or green piece of ribbon with a gold harp on it in the wee shop on the way to Mass, you’d pin it on your lapel and wear it for the rest of the day, or for a couple of hours before the shamrocks wilted or the piece of ribbon unraveled as you pulled at the loose threads. You then spent the rest of the day off school mooching about with nothing to do.

    Trust me, this never resulted in a volley of plastic bullets, it really didn’t. I don’t know what fantasy world you inhabited, you’ll be telling me next that the Tans in their Crossleys were machine gunning Irish dancers in Guildhall Square.

  • Harry Flashman. I wasn’t giving the date to contradict what you were saying, just that I’ve a very good memory of the time as a 21 yr old. Funny how two years earlier there were two elections which produced the same PM Wilson, and two different PMs in ’76 with no election.

  • ranger1640

    Just to keep the Royal and Irish thing going.

    Watch the clip below, you can all marvel and watch Her Majesty’s Irish Guards March along the Mall in London to the SASH.

    Please insure the volume is at full for this most wonderful sound.

  • socaire

    Amhrán iontach.

  • ranger1640

    Socaire, I think so too. I hope this is the proper translation, go raibh maith agat.

  • dwatch
  • carl marks

    This year i had one of the paddy’s day in a long time, thanks to the lovely sunshine.
    As usual i spent it on Slemish Mountain that makes about 25 times in 55 years, for the last 5 as a steward on the hill.
    A custom that has been observed for long before Paddy was supposed to come to this island and possibly longer than Christianity has been about anywhere.
    And later that night in a gloriously mixed company a nights craic, good music. and free stew in the Crosskeys pub.
    So keep your parades and your Christianity and your flags i think my way beats the rest of you into the corner.

    JR says:

    Well done Loughgiel!!
    indeed great result.

  • carl marks

    This year i had one of the paddy’s day in a long time,.
    sorry should of course be
    This year i had one of the best paddy’s day in a long time,

  • lamhdearg2

    carl, why march 17 for your pagan ritual, surely slemish is open all year.

  • carl marks

    lamhdearg2 (profile) says:
    18 March 2012 at 6:43 pm

    carl, why march 17 for your pagan ritual, surely slemish is open all year.

    Not quite sure why 17 March but I suspect it’s got something to do with the beginning of spring as Christmas was the pagan midwinter festival .
    Also not quite sure if you would call it a ritual, have never seen anyone do any mumbo jumbo on the hill but I’m told that a Few Christians in the car park were giving tracts and offering blessings does that count.
    17th is a traditional day for families to climb Slemish, so that why i was there yesterday. And you are right it is open all year round and i would go up the hill on a regular basis over the year.

  • Perhaps the early Christians didn’t much care for the earlier March 17 festivities. Some still disapprove of libations around Ballymena on that and any other day.

  • lamhdearg2

    by ritual i mean
    Definition: any customary observance or practice
    “as usual””
    i am not saying your engaged in any mumbo jumbo.

  • carl marks

    lamhdearg2
    Understood,
    I like Mountains and Slemish is despite being technically a hill is one of my favourite places.
    While i deny any Mumbo Jumbo on the day i suspect that by the end of the night in Crosskeys i was mumbling a bit.

  • carl marks

    Nevin (profile) says:
    18 March 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Perhaps the early Christians didn’t much care for the earlier March 17 festivities. Some still disapprove of libations around Ballymena on that and any other day.

    While what you say may well be true the 17th at Slemish is refreshingly free of politics and religion, apart from the ‘Kiss me I’m Irish hats’( mine must be broke hasn’t worked in years) it is free of symbols.

  • DT123

    Original lyrics of Killaloe.

    Print
    Cite
    Share

    Killaloe is the Regimental Quick March of the British Army regiment, The Royal Irish Regiment (27th (Inniskilling) 83rd and 87th and Ulster Defence Regiment). It also has informal, historical associations with other Irish Regiments and Brigades; as an unofficial march by the Connaught Rangers and Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and at brigade level in World War II by the 38th (Irish) Infantry Brigade.
    Contents

    1 History
    2 Lyrics
    2.1 Original Lyrics
    2.2 Connaught Ranger Lyrics
    2.3 Royal Irish Ranger lyrics
    3 External links

    History

    “Killaloe” is a popular march in the Irish Regiments of the British Army, written in 1887 by a 41-year-old Irish composer named Robert “Ballyhooly Bob” Martin of Ross, for the Strand located Gaiety Theatre musical production “Miss Esmeralda”, a burlesque production based on “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. Mr E. J. Lonnen, playing Frollo the monk, sang the song to great acclaim.

    Robert Martin was the elder brother of Violet Martin, more famous as “Martin Ross” of the literary cousins “Somerville & Ross”, who wrote “Memories of an Irish R.M.” and other stories. Bob Martin gained his nickname from his even more famous hit of the time “Ballyhooly March”. As a Galway estate landowner he was related through his bohemian cousin Willie Wills, the famous Victorian court artist and composer, to General John Doyle, who founded the 87th, later the Royal Irish Fusiliers. Martin was so impoverished by the Land League rent strikes that he moved to London and turned to journalism, burlesque song writing and politics. He worked for the Sporting Chronicle, nicknamed “The Pink’un”, on account of the colour of the paper, a Victorian version of “Private Eye” crossed with “News of the World”.

    He was also a member of the Pelican Club, a notorious group of aristocracy, gentry, sportsmen, army officers, sporting journalists and other colourful characters who believed in living life to the full, usually well beyond their means, and who held court at Romano’s restaurant in the Strand, near the Gaiety Theatre. A significant number of the aristocracy scandalised Victorian society by marrying “Gaiety Girls” who provided the glamour in the burlesque productions, hence the nickname “The actressocracy” for these socially climbing girls. PG Wodehouse took many of the exploits of this Victorian social group, he was a young reporter at the time, and subsequently reset them very successfully in the 1920s and 30s, around the expoits of Bertie Wooster and his butler Jeeves.

    Martin was politically active as a boycotted landowner, staunch unionist, political activist, an “Emergency man” and a close associate of Arthur Balfour, first Secretary for Ireland and later Prime Minister. His virulent Anti Home Rule views are reflected in his songs, which consistently depict the Irish as drunken, brawling if loveable rogues who were clearly unfit to govern themselves! Martin wrote about thirty songs for various burlesque productions, including “Murphy of the Irish Fusiliers”, although a copy of this has yet to surface!

    The lyrics of Killaloe relate the sorry story of a French teacher attempting to make himself understood to a difficult Killaloe class who, totally misunderstand his French, and as a consequence beat him up. The Killaloe song, with original melody in 2/4 time, was probably made well known in military circles by a younger brother, Lt. Charles Fox Martin, who served with the 88th Connaught Rangers (The Devil’s Own) from 1888 until his death in India in 1893. He is credited with composing a new set of lyrics, in 6/8 time, celebrating his Regiment’s fame, and although no mention is made of the tune in the Regimental history, there is an interesting explanation which may well account for the shout or yell in the military version of “Killaloe”.

    The march became popular among the other Irish Regiments and various other sets of lyrics were devised, some none too complimentary in tone.

    Again in 1944, the BBC recorded the 1st. Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Pipes & Drums playing “Killaloe”, by then adopted unofficially as the march of the famous 38th (Irish) Brigade, during the approach to Cassino.

    Killaloe was adopted by The Royal Irish Rangers on its formation on lst. July 1968 and again later by the Royal Irish Regiment on its formation in 1992.

    Killaloe was written c.1887 by a 41-year-old Irish composer, Robert Martin, for the London Musical “Miss Esmeralda” and sung by a Mr E J Lohnen. The lyrics tell of a French teacher attempting to make himself understood to a difficult Killaloe class who, totally misunderstand his French, and as a consequence beat him up (See below).

    The Killaloe song, with original melody in 2/4 time, was made well known in military circles by Robert Martin’s younger brothera Lt. Charles Fox Martin, who served with the 88th Connaught Rangers (The Devil’s Own) from 1888 until his death in 1893. He composed a new set of lyrics, in 6/8 time, celebrating his Regiment’s fame, and although no mention is made of the tune in the Regimental history, there is an interesting explanation which may well account for the shout or yell in the military version of Killaloe. In the 1st Battalion (Connaught Rangers), formerly the 88th, a favourite march tune was “Brian Boru” and this was played generally when the Battalion was marching through a town, or when after a hot and heavy march, the Battalion was feeling the strain and the Commanding Officer wished to revive the spirits of the men. On such occasions, at a time generally given by the Sergeant-Major, all ranks would give a regular “Connaught Yell”. During which the Band would make a pause, and then continue playing. The march became popular among the other Irish Regiments and various other sets of lyrics were devised, some none too complimentary in tone.

    The first known recording of Killaloe was made by Richard Dimbleby when serving as a BBC war correspondent somewhere in North France in 1939/1940, shortly before Dunkirk, during an outside broadcast of advancing troops. The “Famous Irish Regiment” Dimbleby reports playing as they march past Is not actually named. but would have been either the Royal Irish Fusiliers or the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Again in 1944, the BBC recorded The 1st. Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Pipes & Drums playing Killaloe, by then adopted unofficially as the march of the famous British 38th (Irish) Infantry Brigade, during the approach to Cassino. Killaloe was adopted by The Royal Irish Rangers on its formation on 1st July 1968 and again later by the The Royal Irish Regiment (27th (Inniskilling) 83rd and 87th and Ulster Defence Regiment) on its amalgamation in 1992.

    Lyrics

    Original Lyrics

    Well I Happened to be born
    At the time they cut the corn
    Quite contagious to the town of killaloe
    Where to tayche us they’d a scheme
    And a French Mossoo he came
    to instruct us in the game of parley vous.

    I’ve one father that I swear
    But he said I had a pere
    And he struck me when i said it wasn’t true
    And the Irish for ‘a jint’
    Or the french for ‘half a pint’
    Faith we learnt it in the school at Killaloe.

    CHORUS
    You may talk of Boneyparty
    You may talk about Ecarté
    Or any other party and “Commong de portey voo”
    We learnt to sing it aisey
    That song the Marshalaysy
    Boo Long too long the continong
    We larnt at killaloe

    “Mais Oui” Mosso would cry,
    “Well of course you can” sez I
    “Non-no”-“I know” says I with some surprise
    When a boy straight up from Clare, heard his mother called a “mare”
    He gave Mosso his fisht between the eyes
    Says Mosso with much alarm “Go and call for Johnny Darm”
    “There’s no such name” says I ” about the place”
    “Common’?” he made reply “Come on yerself!” says I
    And I scattered all the features of his face

    CHORUS

    Oh boys, where was the fun, you should see him when ’twas done
    His eyeballs one by one did disappear
    And a doctor from the South took one look at his mouth
    Which had some how got concayled behind his ear
    Then he swore an awful oath, he’d have the law agin’ us both
    And then he’d have both Lim-e-rick and Clare
    For he found it wouldn’t do, to teach French in Killaloe
    Unless he has a face or two to spare

    CHORUS

    To the magistrate he went, and a lot of time he shpent
    Says the magistrate “Begorra I’m perplexed”
    For a fellow who you see, spells whiskey O-D-V, (Eau de vie)
    You never know what he’ll be up to next
    Then nothin’ more was said, Mosso went home to bed
    And mixed no more in Killaloe affairs
    face
    But was closed for alterations and repairs

    CHORUS

    If disgraces you would try, or would prove an alibi
    Or alter your appearance just for fun
    You’ve just one thing to do, go teach French at Killaloe
    And you mother will not know you for her son
    French may be very fine, its no enemy of mine
    But as I think you’ll eas-i-ly suppose
    Whatever tongue you take, it is mighty hard to shpake
    While your ear keeps changing places with your toes

    CHORUS

    Now I’m glad to find ’tis true, you are pleased with Killaloe
    And our conduct to the teacher they did send
    But I’ve told you all that passed, so this verse must be the last
    Thats the rason I have left it to the end
    We’re all Irish tenants there, and we’re all prepared to swear
    That to the Irish language we’ll be true.
    But we all with one consent, when they ask us for the rent
    Sure we answer then in French in Killaloe.

    CHORUS

  • sdelaneys

    DT123

    Enjoyed your post on Killaloe;
    In ‘Ireland’s Other Poetry- Anonymous to Zozimus,’ by John Wyse Jackson and Hector McDonnell a few verses of Killaloe is given and is attributed to a Bob Martin so thanks for the extra detail.
    Incidently, that is an excellent book of poetry ranging from the ‘sublime to the ridiculous’ and passes many’s an hour pleasantly raising smiles continuosly..

  • Coll Ciotach

    Carl – must have passed you on the mountain – it was a great day out for me and the family on our annual pilgrimage. I agree with the parading which is not to my taste. Howver on the religion side I do not. The whole point of the climb is religion. It is a commemoration and celebration of religion.

  • carl marks

    Coll Ciotach
    If you went from the car park up the west side of the hill I was about 3/4s of the way up the hill, the first steward you meet after the climb starts in earnest.
    Sorry we disagree about religion being the reason for the climb. I think it means different things for different people, certainly no one i know who goes up is doing it for their faith, and during the day on the hill I get to chat with people of all faiths and none. This year for example i passed time with a group of American students, some French girls, two kiwis and a Hindu family (with 2 very beautiful daughters) and more than a few acquaintances’ of the reformed faiths.
    However as i say wither your climbing on a pilgrimage, tradition, or just a day out with the kids it still beats parading.

  • Barnshee

    In the 70′s and 80′s in Derry, people had to hide their shamrocks and badges; parades, in the likes of Creggan and Shantallow, usually ended up in a volley of plastic bullets from the RUC, followed by a baton beating for anyone caught by the army snatch squads.

    I would say that’s why we didn’t see much celebration?

    A crock of shit— by the 70s /80s there was barely a prod left on then city side They were a scarce as hens teeth in Shantallow and Creggan The great exodus from Derry was well under way