Famous Sir Seamus and his Oul Orange Flute.


  In Belfast Town where they built the Titanic,

The folk are all merry but oftimes bit manic;

James Galway he lived there a fluter by trade,

And sure all of us thought him a stout Orange blade.

On the 12th of July as it yearly did come,

James played on the flute to the sound of the drum;

You may talk of piano or fiddle or lute,

But nothing can sound like the oul Orange Flute.


But this cunning wee fluter was just having us on,

He took off with flute to away far out beyon’;

He forsook his oul mates and forsook the oul cause,

That gave us our freedom religion and laws.

He played on his Orange flute far away from his home,

He played it in Paris, in Berlin and in Rome;

His tunes got folk happy, they marched up and down,

It was just like the Twelfth Day in Belfast Town.


But the powers-that-be in the world out beyon’,

Don’t like their folk marching when the notion comes on;

So they took away his Orange flute and smashed it to shreds,

And gave him a gold flute to play in it’s stead.

Now this new gold flute it turned out quite magic,

It played the new pop tunes the jazz and the classic;

But try as he would to get the oul noise,

No gold flute e’er plays the Protestant Boys.


No more Dolly’s Braes no more Boyne Water,

And soon Derry’s Walls no more did matter;

For James lost the bap when big money he made,

And soon forgot he was e’er a stout Orange blade.

When word of all this came back o’er the ocean,

The boys in Belfast they riz a commotion;

But James just laughs now for he’s rich and famous,

He curses King Billy and calls himself Seamus.

     Oh alas! Oh dearie me,

     He curses King Billy and calls himself Seamus.






, ,

  • smcgiff

    All reponses to this thread, every time
    It be necessary they wholly rhyme

  • anne

    @ smcgiff
    reaction to sir james galway’s comments may be without rhyme nor reason but your wish is my command –

    so here goes – the Auld Orange Flute – what happened when an orange flautist married an RC!!

    The flute would play only “The Protestant Boys“.
    When he tried it again, it played “Croppies Lie Down!”
    “Kick the Pope” and “Boyne Water” it freely would sound
    But one Papish squeak and it couldn’t be found.
    As the flames rose around it, you could hear a strange noise
    ‘Twas the Old Flute still a-whistlin’ “The Protestant Boys“.


  • T.E.Lawrence

    Any chance of playing that on the Alphorn Willie ?

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    So Jimmy turns out a lundy
    Makes him as bad as Ted Bundy,
    He should hand back his knighthood,
    As anyone right would,
    Head off to Dublin,
    An’ leave our sectarian pot bubblin’
    We’re happy that way,
    Fighting Sinn Fein/IRA,
    On our own terms’
    Invoking the Diet of Worms,
    Yer nat welkum in da North,
    The land of are borth,
    Go live in da south,
    With yer foul, traitor mouth,
    Oolstar is Orange,
    But nothing rhymes with that.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thank you Willie, I’d thought of putting James Galway’s name up for associate membership of my own chapter of The Royal Stuart Society when I read about this. Well it goes to show that even an early inoculation by fife is not proof against the Lundy virus that some of us have contracted. I suppose with his Christian name and all, someone should have noticed before this that that “Great Good Man”(quoting a contemporary Jacobite poem) James VII & II (not to mention his much abused son James VIII & III) might just have been (please forgive me!) “Flegged”.

  • Paul Devlin

    Mind ye the show called ‘a dander with Drennan’?/ It was so bloody awful it was ne’er shown again(an)

  • Catcher in the Rye
  • babyface finlayson

    Well young Willie Drennan
    Were not long in pennin’
    A satire on Galway
    Who is not at all gay
    (though macrocephalic)
    Tis not Asher’s cake that he shoves in his bake’
    but something more phallic, albeit metallic.
    Did ‘the flute’ give a hoot aboot
    the danderer’s candour
    No he says.don’t be silly
    I’m still fond of Willy.
    The End.
    Just to reiterate, James Galway is not gay.!

  • David Crookes

    Copy and paste into Google videos:

    Alphorn Treffen am Rigi , Schweiz.

  • willie drennan

    Thanks Seaan. That explains it all.

  • willie drennan

    Good idea , but James might not be impressed

  • willie drennan

    Now there’s a clever and mature response.

    Share ›




  • Catcher in the Rye

    Bit like your clever and mature response to James Galway.

  • willie drennan

    It might have been awful but that’s not why it was axed. It was because people like you, by your own admission, kept watching all the 8 shows and repeats. This meant the viewing figures broke all the local records. The politicians who control what we watch as culture on TV didn’t like this as I didn’t fit into their box. That’s why it was axed. So, all your fault. How do you find time to watch stuff like that on TV?

  • willie drennan

    That’s pretty good. Wise to copyright

  • willie drennan

    Glad you are approve.

  • willie drennan

    Lots to consider in these words o rhyme/

  • Paul Devlin

    Ach Wullie, dinnae be soo sair. T’was nae thon politicos that done ye wrang. T’was the fect that tha Mcgonnagal style doggerrel that ye claim as airt dusnae mak naither cultur nae airt. Ah hud tha misfairtoon for tae see wan o’ yoor shows an’ ye wur prancin roon the airse o’ Slemish wavin a bodhran roond like a pure daftie. Ah was pure mortified fur thinking ah wuz paying fur thon balls. Whit’s tha Ullans fae ‘contrived shite’?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Utterly unnecessary comment (coming from a keen enthusiast for unnecessary comments)

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    There are haemly wans who aren’t fundies,
    Some would even work on Sundays,
    Their politics change,
    Then the tribe deems them strange,
    “Sure they must be a lock a oul’ Lundies!”

  • willie drennan

    Brilliant. Obviously folk like you are enthralled by ‘contrived shite’. Why else would boys like you have spent vast amounts of their time writing long angry blogs denouncing ‘contrived shite’. Why else would boys like you you go out of their way to repeatedly leave me long offensive messages on my answering machine in the wee small hours of the morning- from withheld phone numbers? Why else would you come into this blog site to denounce a TV show you watched 8 years ago if you were not enthralled by ‘contrived shite’? Unless perhaps there is some other agenda ? By the way, this has nothing to do with the current relevant.topic. What’s your views on James Galway as a fluter or a political analyst?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    On that note, any time someone from doon south or of a nationalist background there’s always some sort of treacherous mud slinging (e.g. Bob Geldoff) about how they’ve ‘turned’.

    Is it really so hard to comprehend that once some one leaves planet NI (or Ireland) that their perspective changes?

    The much used line of “social climbing” (*IN CASE OF INDEPENDENT THOUGHT BREAK GLASS AND US THIS*) as a means of blackguarding someone is freely applied to anyone who has left NI and done well for themselves.

    How could the world take anyone from NI seriously if they were to retain their old ways?

    I mean imagine alex Higgins and Dennis Taylor mouthing off at each other in Old firm shirts (though to be fair Higgins did threaten to have him shot), or Jimmy Nesbitt marching outside Liam Nesson’s dressing room and doing ‘the Bouncey’ with some hangers on or indeed Darren Clarke taking a 5 iron to McIlroys shins every time they clap sight of each other.

    If the NI mindset doesn’t fit with the rest of planet Earth well, there’s a small chance that plant Earth MIGHT not be wrong.

    You’re not obliged to automatically love the UK or the Republic, those from the tribe that do go ‘the other way’ might just find their tribe’s arguments to be less than convincing, that’s the tribe’s problem, not the blackfoot in question.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I liked it.
    Bought one of yer books too…

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Is Oolstàr Skootch for their “they’re”?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Changed accordingly.

  • willie drennan

    Obviously there is a big issue for me here. I don’t normally have a go at fellow fluters even if they do play a wee bit better than me. I found James Galway’s comments disturbingly partisan and prejudiced. Quite right to point out the negatives of one side but it read like justification for 30 years of IRA terror.
    I lived in other countries for 21 years, immersed myself in the different cultures, only too glad to leave behind the bitterness of the conflict that had divided a harmonious cross-community that I had grown up with. When I met up with other Irish whether from north or south, Prods or Catholics , we had brilliant crack. We shared the same humour and mindsets. We all agreed it was great to be away from the madness of the conflict in Ulster.
    After a while though, especially when I became recognised for music and storytelling in Canada it became evident that the world view of Ulster Protestants or Unionists was quite hostile. It made me question who I was and where I was from. Did the Orangemen I knew really fit the world view of them as moronic hate filled bigots. When I celebrated the Twelfth as a child and as a teenager in a flute band was I actually engaging in festival fueled by hatred? I admit I was confused. I had always loved the Twelfth, particularly the music. I had close Catholic friends. The Twelfth didn’t seem to interfere with those friendships and the mutual respect in any way. I didn’t think that my enthusiasm for the cultural, historical and social fun aspects of the Twelfth celebrations constituted bigotry. But as you say I had pondered the possibility that the rest of Planet Earth might not be wrong. Maybe I was messed up as a result of where I was born and brought up? Maybe it was time to denounce my past, repent and blame the same brainwashing that James Galway experienced. It certainly would have made life easier for me to get along with the rest of Planet Earth as I was to find out. Several things happened in Canada. First of all I wrote a small book for Canadians in an attempt to explain to those who continually asked what the conflict in Northern Ireland was all about. It was part factual and part light-hearted cultural insight It was non partisan so no real problems there accept I probably managed to upset just about every body. I was then asked to sit on a panel in a political debate organised by an Irish cultural group. I was the only Prod in a room of 60-80 people. No real problems there. I was also asked to give a commentary on CBC Radio just after the Canary Wharf bombing. It went out out prime time across Canada. Contrary to the treatment given by every single Candian and American newspaper I put the blame on the IRA and stated that it was really all about the advancement of the polltical career of Sinn Fein and to the advantage of nobody else. The north American press and media blamed the British Government. Well that was when the light bulbs started to light for me. Regular gigs I was getting as an Irish storyteller and musician in Atlantic Canada and Montreal terminated overnight. This got me really thinking what it was all about. Why were the ‘Irish Freedom Fighters’ loved the world over? How could their bombings be applauded throughout Planet Earth? The answer I came up with was ‘brainwashing’, as experienced by James Galway only in reverse. The folk in Planet Earth were being fed a romanticized notion via the movies, the novels and the journalists who went to Northern Ireland to find the story they wanted to write. I was astounded by the number of people in Canada and the USA who had read ‘Trinity, by Leon Uris. He didn’t like us Prods. The Hunger Strikes were a massive success across Planet Earth for Sinn Fein, if not for the Cause of Ireland. The IRA became to the world what Robin Hood and the Lone Ranger had been to me as a child. They could do no wrong.
    The big problem with all this of course was that encouraged thousands of Planet Earth people to send mountains of money to their heroes in Ireland so that they could blow their fellow Irish to Blazes. There is also no telling how much the support from Planet Earth indirectly prolonged the suffering.
    in Northern Ireland.

    So this is why the comments of James Galway need challenged. Perhaps it will not encourage a new wave of violent freedom fighting but it will undoubtedly encourage and justify further division and derision of one aspect of our cultural traditions. You can be brainwashed more than once.

    Oops , got a bit carried away in my response.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I thought ye might mention Canada (I was aware you spent some time there, I have a copy of Big Lang Danner in the house.Actually I think I’ve tried to flog it on my blog page…)

    First of all, I wasn’t enthralled with what Galway said. I was actually quite surprised.

    What I object to is the hysteria and nasty methods (employed by both sides) when one of ‘their own’ has a change of heart.

    There’s always something malignant at the core of the person’s soul, never an understanding of how such a change may come about.

    Now, with regards to being seen as the ‘bad guys’ around the world, this is a topic quite dear to me actually and one I could rant about at great length.

    Like yourself, when abroad I can rub shoulders with all sorts but I understandably have difficulty with RA heads and indeed their opposite number on the unionist side.

    The Irish pub I used to frequent in Oz was occasionally staffed by an old school friend from my village (quite the fluter (sic) BTW…)

    We had NO qualms explaining to people why we were in the bands and how much of a good time we had in them and why they are so important to the community.

    But, likewise, it didn’t take long for either of us (all the numerous others that I know who were bandsmen before the buggered off abroad) to realise that the marching scene is its own worst enemy, how it could survive WITHOUT having to be sectarian and that those who say they ‘defend Ulster’ have probably put more votes, money and support in republicanism’s lap than would otherwise have been possible even if SF blew the budget on Saatchi & Sastchi’s help.

    What really annoys me is that it wouldn’t take THAT much change to start to repair the image but the “from my cold dead hands” brigade are obsessed with supporting the union flag rain jacket & wig aspect of the culture rather than even contemplating a bit of self examination and trying to arrest the evident nosedive of the culture that would have the added bonus of us not looking like demons every summer.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Willie, while I entirely agree with you that the violent activity of PIRA has been much romanticised over the pond, I’d not simply jump on the other end of the political see-saw myself, here. I did not catch the interview myself but from the press I get the impression that Sir James’s comments centred on the role of the late Lord Bannside in stoking up the tensions during and after the 1968/9 period. My own family knew Paisley’s associate Ronnie Bunting Senior well, although this friendship withered greatly after his “conversion” to supporting Paisley’s increasingly political stance in the late 1960s. Bunting Sr’s own recourse to intimidatory violence (surprisingly checked by the RUC) in the face of what remained continuously non-violent Civil Rights activity was certainly to my thinking the principal contributory factor in opening the descent into violence, to say the very least. And in my experience a great number of decent Unionists at the time and since would have been profoundly critical of the loud and aggressive caricature of Unionism that was developing out of Paisley’s stance and has since come to ensure that much of the world now views the entire Unionist case as something entirely negative, to my mind quite wrongly.

    After all, if we are ever to crawl out of the sewer the last fifty years have sunk us in we need to be utterly realistic about the culpabilities on both ends of the conflict. A member of my family who was a decorated officer in the Great War (yes, the 36th Div.) used to say, “if you wish to succeed in any action, you must be utterly realistic about the faults of your own side. These are the very weaknesses your opponent will exploit to the uttermost.”

  • Paul Devlin

    For a man who kicked off the whole thing with a rhyme about how Galway is a sell out and a lundy, rather than engaging in what he actually said (apparently at the behest of ‘the powers that be’, please explain? The Illuminati? Biderberg Group? FEMA?), you seem to take a terrible objection to playing the man not the ball. Just to be clear, I don’t write blogs, I just made a wee joke on Ulster-Scotch doggerel. You seem to be somewhat paranoid. Firstly I doubt any ‘powers that be’ twisted Galway’s arm. Maybe he just had a think about things. Secondly, politicians didn’t cancel your show, wise up. Thirdly, I don’t go around leaving offensive messages on people’s phones in the wee small hours, not since Simon Le Bon took out the injunction against me anyway.. My only views on Galway are a. lucky sod, I wished I lived in Switzerland as well and b. he has every right to think and say what he likes without being denounced as a traitor, a lundy, a sell-out, senile or anything else. Point B is one you singularly failed to engage with in any form, just reflexively reaching for your Lundy blunderbuss. So quit your gurning

  • willie drennan

    Respect your views, as usual. I agree that there is still much work to be done on the image of parades. But it is a two-way problem. The more they are derided and attacked the more resistant to change they become. They have made many positive attempts to change their image and explain what they are about . That needs to be recognised and encouraged. Many of them believe that the only way they would be fully tolerated and respected would be if they just stopped.
    Bigotry and intolerance is an issue that needs to addressed by all 3 groupings in this wee place. James Galway’s comments have clearly given encouragement to those who love to blast one particular genre of music-making.

  • willie drennan

    I totally agree and I think I’m not beyond recognising and challenging the faults of my own ‘side’. Galway was quite accurate to state that Paisley fired-up many young Prods to do deeds that ruined the lives of many , including their own.
    But, while the media highlighted this particular point that the illustrious musician made, that was insignificant in the wider context.

    As I pointed out in my response to Am Ghobsmact his comments in their entirety were blatantly biased and narrow.
    He has every right to his opinion but the problem for international celebrities is that their comments and opinions are shared across the globe.

    What irks me is that this is already unfolding as a triumph for lose who love to stir the pot and who love to lamblast Orange fluters
    The Good and the Great are lauding James Galway as a speaker of truth – as a wise sage who has confirmed what they had been saying about working-class unionists for years. He is their hero as well as the hero of the IRA who didn’t get a mention. He was quite articulate in that it was the British who were solely responsible for all of Ireland’s trouble for the past 800 years to the present.

    While he clearly built upon his fan-base of admiring followers I fail to understand what he has contributed to well being of the land that raired him. I rather think he has exasperated our problems.

  • willie drennan

    “Ah was pure mortified fur thinking ah wuz paying fur thon balls”
    I’m pleased to inform you that ‘thon balls’ didn’t cost you very much at all. It was at the bottom of the pile as far as budgets were concerned. Oh I know, you’ll love to point out that that was reflected in the quality of the show. Just saved you the bother.

    What you should be more concerned about is not so much what you spend on a TV license but what percentage of your taxes goes towards politically controlled culture programming in NI. Even if you’re not a tax payer you should be concerned about the amount of government money that is spent on both Irish and Ulster Scots in Northern Ireland – in these times of ‘austerity’.

    Curiously this relates to the James Galway story and his highlighting of ‘brainwashing’. Great to be back on track.

  • willie drennan

    I was not accusing you personally of writing blogs or of persistently leaving me long messages of sheer shite in the ‘contrived shite’ form that you referred to. It baffles me what drives you and others to get so het up about a 30 minute show you watched on the box at least 8 years ago.

    ” Point B is one you singularly failed to engage with in any form, just reflexively reaching for your Lundy blunderbuss. So quit your gurning”

    I think you will find I have engaged considerably when given the opportunity of something sensible to engage with.
    Please do check out my detailed responses on here to Am Ghobsmacht and SeaanUiNeill

  • the keep

    Dander with Drennan was inspired film making much better than most of the crap on BBC NI

  • tmitch57

    So Willie are you now the Slugger poet in residence? Great poem. But if you want to be a real poet you’ll have to learn how not to rhyme.

  • willie drennan

    Don’t worry, I think this one was just a one-off. Just testing the waters. Don’t think I could ever get called a real poet. I didn’t attend Queens University.

    I actually have written a few non-rhyme pieces. Pleased enough with them but they don’t work as well as the rhymes for performance. And that’s my main thing.

    This poem/song of course was obviously written in the language style and the structure of the Oul Orange Flute – to highlight the parallel situations of Bob Williamson and James Galway.

  • willie drennan

    The director and production team knew what they were doing. That’s why it reached out to so many. Reaching too many from across all demographics was it’s downfall.

  • willie drennan

    “Secondly, politicians didn’t cancel your show, wise up.”

    I’m not surprised that someone so fixated on ‘contrived shite’, as you clearly are, would be a defender of Nelson McCausland

  • willie drennan

    Good man. And the fact that you haven’t asked for your money back is a good sign.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “The more they are derided and attacked the more resistant to change they become”


    I fall down on this front myself, I’m a bit too aggressive on the old blogging front and it forces a few to dig their heels in.

    At least though it gives me a bit more perspective when dealing with Orangemen in real life (i.e. DON’T be pushy)

  • babyface finlayson

    Give it a rest,I liked the show.
    It wasn’t meant to be ‘The South Bank Show’
    It had a quirky charm,and Willie seems a genial fellow.
    I’ve seen far worse on local tv many times.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    The more they are derided and attacked the more resistant to change they become.

    This comment implies that within Orangeism and the wider parading culture that there is already flexibility and acceptance of change. How I laughed.

    So let’s take it apart. There are two aspects to this. The first one is people who disagree with the idea of an institution which excludes Catholics and is designed to secure the ascendancy of Protestantism. Disagreeing with what the Orange Order is and what it stands for is a matter of free speech. You cannot stop someone from saying that the OO is a sectarian organization and a malignant presence.

    The other aspect of it is about the conduct of parades. If someone plays the Famine Song outside a Catholic Church, I am not going to hold my tongue in pursuit of the crumbs from your table in the form of your frankly fatuous claims that by speaking out it will make the Orange Order less flexible and less willing to embrace change. If people on parades get drunk, swear, shout sectarian abuse or disrespect property or, in particular, churches, you are going to get called out on it.

    It also amuses me the way you, and a lot of other people, talk as if you are in a position of strength to decide what concessions or flexibility you are going to give to people. Here’s how it works. You can seek agreement on parades. Most of the time you will get your way – I certainly hope you do.

    If you don’t, and there is no agreement, the properly constituted authorities of law and order will determine what actually takes place. That’s the best deal on the table and it is all you are ever going to get.

    Please take your demands that people stop deriding or criticising the Orange Order and stuff them somewhere that helps you appreciate the fact that maybe you, and those on parade, have a role to play in reducing criticism of the parading culture.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Catcher, I think Willie was just stating a fact of sorts and I think you were reading into his statement too much.

    He’s already stated that he is no fan of the darker elements of parading culture and his “The more they are derided and attacked the more resistant to change they become
    ” comment appeared to me to be more of an observation rather than a MOPE-filled plea.

    From what we know of the OO (and certainly my own experience) it is certainly has a large element of truth in it as unfortunate as it may be.

  • the keep

    Have to say I am biased I know a lot of people on the show and I felt the show was done in a really endearing way

  • Catcher in the Rye

    parading culture is a “dark element”.

    I am happy enough to tolerate parades and stay out of the way of them and allow them to go ahead, because I recognize that no matter what my opinions are there are rights of assembly, free speech and so on. I would never try to stop a parade passing through where I live unless there was some overriding reason to do so.

    But marching up and down a road, claiming, as Willie did in his twee-sounding poem that this is about those who secured our freedoms and rights, is not normal, and it has a long history and association with very dark elements indeed. This business of trying to redefine it as a “culture” is something new within the past 20 years or so. Nobody tried to claim it was a culture before. And no matter what they do to try to make it seem normal by having face painters and candy floss just serves to make it seem even more weird and out of place.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    And by a similar token I think they should have the wit, respect and courtesy to rethink marching down roads where they’re not welcome. But, unfortunately we’re a long way off that.

    As for the culture angle, well, it’s the more valid of the numerous angles put across but it is constantly undermined by the ‘bonfires, Buckfast and Billy-Boys’ trinity.

    The latest angle (much embraced by the likes of Bryson) is of cringe worthy MOPEry and victimhood, something I am bitterly opposed to.

    The candy floss as far as I can recall has been around for a long time as have toys stalls, burger vans and other things besides.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    To be fair though, your comments did conjure up memories of this video that I saw over on LAD:

  • Robin Keogh

    I dont think Galway was trying to Justify the IRA I think he was just speaking about his own persoanl experience. The problem with conflict no matter where it occurs is the tendency to sometime paint it as a sudden surge of hooliganism that has gone mad. Another problem we have is in the failure to understand how entrenched a conflict can become whatever its origins.

    Most countries at some point in their history were engulfed in conflict and depending on which side won the war; thats what shaped the historical understanding of it. But the biggest problem we face is when we try to make sense of historical events through the prism of contemporary eyes. We can look back and express dismay but that is much easier to do in the absence of any feeling of the physical effects of context.

    Part of the reason why so many people internationally see Irish Republicanism as a struggle against Tyranny relates back to their own sense of identity and kinship. Ireland was a country ruled by tyranny for centuries and it is a narrative that has stuck, but not by design. If you see a car hit a pedestrian who think ‘holy fuk I hope they are ok’. You can call an ambulance and sit with them, you might even be able to save their lives, but the one thing you can never do is change the simple fact that they were hit by a car. Even after they recover and are back to full strength, the memory of the accident will still make your hair stand on end.

    So too when a group of people – especially those with a strong sense of national identity and kinship – are oppressed over a long period of time; later generations might be healthy and well and prosperous but the memory is embalzoned within the collective ethnic psyche even subconciously. I believe it is in this context that planet earth has sympathy with the ‘Irish’, while non – Irish close to home might dismiss our history as MOPERY, internationally there is a general acceptance that the Irsh for years were subjected to serious persecution. And it is this perception that allows them to see the recent conflict in the same context. Its not Brain Washing, its subconscious association.

  • willie drennan

    The first thing you need to understand when addressing me is that I’m not an Orangeman and never have been. I can tell you though that they are a diverse bunch. Some of them focus on the religious aspect of that organisation, others on the political: but for most of them it seems to be about the cultural, music, social and family traditions.

    As in every other group in this country there are some undesirables but I must say that many Orangemen that I have known over the years are simply decent people. Some of them I would go as far as calling the salt of the earth. And I can say exactly the same for many Catholics and Irish Nationalists that I met over the years. In my personal experience neither Orange or Green have a monopoly on sheer decency or sheer badness.

    I accept that it is fair enough to label some Orangemen sectarian, as you could for some in virtually every other group, but sectarianism is not what the OO is about. They are a Protestant organisation – you need to be a Prod to get in. It is like the Roman Catholic church – you need to be a Catholic to get in.

    I also accept that anyone parading should be respectful of others and there are times when it is well documented that they weren’t. To gain respect you have to earn it. But when people go out of their way at times to be offended, is one side worse than the other?

    I hope this goes some way to addressing the misconceptions you have about me and the points of view I have been trying to communicate on here. But then perhaps I have some misconceptions about you as well.

    I have this perception of you that you are angry, prejudiced and sectarian. I also have this perception that you either have a serious comprehension deficit or else you are out to deliberately twist what I’ve been communicating. I have not been “demanding” anything. You strike me as someone who has no desire to understand others that you disagree with and the concept of mutual respect is not something that you have learned about yet. Perhaps you are of an age where you had no first hand experience of the troubles and would like to maintain our old traditional divisions?

    If I’m reading you wrong and you would prefer to live in a tolerant society then I would suggest that the first thing you would need to do is avoid telling others, you dislike or disagree with, where to stuff things. You may come back and say that I was being disrespectful to Sir James Galway at the offset and that justifies you being offensive to me. But I’m afraid that won’t wash. In the first blog I posted on here I was having a rational debate on new alternative political ideas when you hit me with “I suggest you scamper back to the relative safety and security of the Orange hall”. I asked you to clarify what that meant but you didn’t offer any clarification.

    Perhaps you would like to do so now?

  • Robin Keogh

    Ha ! Brilliant.

  • Robin Keogh

    Cathcher, Willie put himself out there for respectful comment and debate, not to be unfairly derided, lets play fair.

  • Robin Keogh

    What show is this? can i see it on Youtube?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Here ye go Robin

  • Robin Keogh

    I am watching it and it reminds me of the cool cosey programmes RTE puts on similar to ‘Nationwide’, well done you 😉

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    Did ye ever consider doing an historical music series on the folk music of Orange halls, AOH halls and extinct Ulster folk music?

    Yer man Nigel Boullier produced an outstanding book on the history of fiddling and country dancing in central and East Down.

    Something along those lines would be a mighty series indeed.

  • LordSummerisle

    Speaking to the Stuarts, His Majesty the King across the water (Francis) sent greetings on this White Rose Day.

  • LordSummerisle

    The meeting with the Injun McCook was my favourite. What a character.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    If you speak again with His Majesty offer him my best hopes for his speedy and much longed for restoration if only to Dublin Castle (for starter).

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Willie, I try and use Slugger for discussion myself, and feel that the drop by some others into simple insult is simply a waste of our time. I really value your serious efforts to engage and answer across all the comments, even when I still strongly disagree, and while I’d not see Galway’s comments as “narrow” (I think he’s sincere, and knew a few other east Belfast/north down people in London who have ended up with similar views) I up voted you above on the strength and sincerity of the reply. I’m sorry your getting the “treatment”, but hang on, some of us appreciate your contribution.

    For me actually trying to see what we each think across the divide is to me far more valuable than simply putting someone else down, but perhaps that’s because I know both ends of the community well enough to find myself beginning to boil rather at any simple “dissing” of either.

  • willie drennan

    Very valid perspective indeed. It is very true that peoples throughout the world, throughout history, have been used and abused by those who were hungry for power – the Masters of War, and of course they are very much still with us and at their work as we speak.

    Common folk across the globe all have a consciousness of being part of a tribe that was persecuted. As you point out this gives some explanation to empathy for the Irish struggle for freedom – as they understood it. That’s why acts of terrorism -as many of us here would have called it -are romanticized across the world as acts of freedom fighting.

    The irony is that in the Unionist and/ or Ulster Protestant psyche there is the same consciousness of a history of conflict against oppression – of ongoing struggles for freedom. I believe the Orange Order see themselves as being out to defend their liberties as opposed to how others portray them as being out oppress another group.

    It would be good for us all to give more focus to the fact that our difficulties and divisions in this part of the world are not unique. In that realisation then it might be good for us all to re-examine our local history. Perhaps it’s time for a serious revisit to the late 18th Century United Irishmen. There might be something in that aspect of history for all of us.

  • willie drennan

    I have actually recently been given a copy of Nigel Boullier’s book as a gift from the Ards Comhaltas group. It is an exceptional piece of work. It will be a precious reference book for generations to come. ‘Handed Down’ is of course focused
    on County Down but parallels can be drawn to county Antrim and indeed to all other counties across Ulster.

    “Did ye ever consider doing an historical music series on the folk music of Orange halls, AOH halls and extinct Ulster folk music?”

    There is a project in the works that will address this from a similar approach. As it is not confirmed yet I can’t say more – but will let you know if it comes off.

  • willie drennan

    Characters like the Injun McCooke make life easy for TV producers. Hollywood couldn’t make him up.

  • willie drennan

    Cheers Robin

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Zigactly, a bargain as well, it’s the size of a coffee table!

    Looking forward to the aforementioned project. I’ll be mooching around here in the meantime…

  • Catcher in the Rye

    I’m not an Orangeman and never have been

    You’re here to defend them.

    many Orangemen that I have known over the years are simply decent people

    Out of the handful sample of Orangemen I know, they’re all decent people. Privately most of them are appalled at some of what goes on and want nothing to do with it. They understand that winding up nationalists and insulting churches is not a good idea. And I know that this is fairly common within the OO. It’s why there is a model 12th in (London) Derry.

    Yet I have to square this reality with the video footage of people singing the Famine Song outside St Patrick’s. The song being sung did not annoy me as leading unionist politicians, and others, trying to claim that it wasn’t the Famine Song, and trying to suggest that singing it outside a church shouldn’t be a problem.

    I also have to square it with other events in the past such as Drumcree, and before then, where people with Orange sashes on rose up and challenged the rule of law and the authority of the state. I saw the then Grand Master of the Orange Order say, on television, that laws had to be broken when parading rights were under attack.

    So please don’t say this is a few bad apples ruining it all for everyone else. It isn’t. And please don’t say that there are people who want to solve this problem. During the Haass talks the concept of a code of conduct for parades was put forward. The unionists all rejected it. They don’t want a code of conduct because it would mean taking enforcement action against bad behaviour at parades.

    In my personal experience neither Orange or Green have a monopoly on sheer decency or sheer badness.

    At no point did I suggest that they did. We are conversing on a discussion started by you defending the Orange Order from criticism, so let’s stick to the subject.

    but sectarianism is not what the OO is about.

    I hope someone took the time to explain this to those OO members who attempted to discipline a number of Unionist politicians a few years ago for attending the funeral of a Catholic police officer. Yes, I know the disciplinary action did not go ahead. But some people clearly thought it should have, and some people obviously read the OO’s rulebook in this way.

    You strike me as someone who has no desire to understand others that you disagree with and the concept of mutual respect is not something that you have learned about yet

    Why should I have mutual respect for an organisation whose members sing the famine song and then deny it ? No amount of mutual understanding or talking to Orange Order members is going to get me past the fundamental aspects of some of what the organisation’s members, and bands, do from time to time.

    So let’s talk about mutual respect and understanding. Firstly, it doesn’t exist. If it did, then republicans would be able to march republican marches along contentious routes. We both know that this could never happen, because unionists don’t have respect or mutual understanding for people like Bobby Sands or the hunger strikers. Why on earth would or should they ?

    At the risk of repeating myself you cannot have people, figuratively speaking, yelling “F*** the Pope” and then turn around and ask for mutual respect from the people they are yelling at. It’s a two way street. And the idea that anyone should automatically respect the hunger strikers as some kind of cultural or historical phenomenon is so ridiculous we don’t even need to address it.

    I am not required or obligated to respect any organisation that seeks to promote the ascendancy of one religion over another any more than I am required to respect the BNP. And in the case of the Royal Black Preceptory, not only do they promote ascendancy but they deny membership to people who were born in the wrong religion. These are values which are abhorrent in the modern era and which most people want nothing to do with. There are good reasons why the Orange Order are seldom found outside of Northern Ireland. It’s because the rest of the world has moved on.

    I already made clear that I am happy to tolerate the OO when it acts within the law and respect it insofar as I understand that parades and the rest of it are important to some people. I said that I would never try to stop a parade if there was one in my neighbourhood (and there are certainly parades nearby). I’m sorry that this isn’t good enough for you. But it’s the best you are going to get.

  • willie drennan

    What ever happened to the Old Pretender Cause? Where were the Jacobites during the Scottish Referendum debate? I used to enjoy having a go at it. I miss it. It was something we could takes sides on without anyone getting really upset. Bring it back please

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Still very much a living issue for some of us, Willie! I’m a long term member of this particular commemoration and educational society (membership runs in the family…):


    Jacobite enthusiasts were a rather big group in the 1890s but like so much else, we’re an endangered breed today. But a few friends were active for the Yes vote over the water and I posted in support here on Slugger.

    James II and his toleration policies are one of my big “King Charles’s heads” on Slugger. I post links to Scott Sowerby’s book “Making Toleration” occasionally when it’s (vaguely) significant to a posting and point out that James offered Presbyterians a much better civil and religious liberties deal than ever the Dutchman did. It took a hundred years for northern Presbyterians to get the same rights James offered them in 1688 and the United Irishmen were created simply to get pretty much the same “social equality” James was committed to a hundred years before! I predictably tend to get a lot of stick for this from some quarters especially from extended family who are active in the Orange Institution. But as one of the last Irish legitimists it behoves me to keep the true king’s rights in the public eye. That’s Francis II I mean, although no harm to Charles the (actual) pretenders son, he and I have a lot in common, especially in the arts.

  • LordSummerisle

    It is good to see real folk on the TV for a change. It may not be my cultural background but I respect the effort none the less. Willie you are more than welcome to dander round Summerisle, perhaps during our summer festival.

  • the keep

    Great character some great characters from Ballymena as well on the show!

  • tmitch57

    You’ll have to lose a lot of talent to be good at the non-rhyming poetry. But losing that talent will help to prepare you for a career in academia.

  • Alan N/Ards

    I was describing this sketch to a family member just the other week. Great stuff!

  • willie drennan

    Well Catcher, this is much better. No personal attacks and implied threats. Back to rational debate.

    “Why should I have mutual respect for an organisation whose members sing the famine song and then deny it ?

    You have referenced this a few times and it is definitely worth examining. First of all from what I recall of the lyrics of The Famine Song this wasn’t much of an effort at song writing.
    Maybe I’m just a bit of a musical snob but I think it perhaps makes my own effort at the art form seem almost acceptable.

    In fairness to who ever penned it, he or she, probably like me woke up one morning with Muse upon them and instantly pressed the button to send it off into cyber space. The last thing on this songwriters mind probably wasn’t that this creation would cause people to end up in court and appear on TV.

    There can be no doubt that it was designed to cause offence – but was this out of sheer hatred or was it just getting into the crack of rival banter between Rangers and Celtic fans. We will probably never know the truth. One thing for sure the lyrics as I understand them – suggesting that Irish Catholics living in Scotland should head back home because the Famine is over – doesn’t have much bearing on reality. The potato blight in Ireland was indiscriminate – it attacked Catholic spuds and Protestant spuds with equal ferocity.

    When sung in Northern Ireland the song then becomes totally daft and irrelevant. Before the incident outside St Patrick’s Church the only lyrics that I had known to this tune were ‘Sloop John B’. I had first heard a marching band playing ‘Sloop John B’ in a band parade just after I moved
    back from Canada in 1997. I was impressed just how many modern airs were played that night.. Until I watched the video clip, that probably went viral, I was thinking that the band was only playing ‘Sloop John B’. But then at one point in the video clip you can just about make out a couple of lines of the now internationally famous ‘Famine Song’. All of a sudden after this many bands were including the Sloop John B in their repertoire.

    If it wasn’t for the video clip most folk I know would never had known about the new Scottish lyrics set to this popular air. Apparently the cinematographer on the day just happened to be a well known enthusiastic Sinn Fein activist who had clearly gone considerably out of his way in search of the ultimate footage that would make him a hero.

    He must have been over the moon. He had hit the jackpot. His prayers had been answered. The bandsmen engaged by the OO had handed him his dream come true on a plate. It was the classic own goal.

    I suppose there are different ways of looking at this. The first inevitable conclusion is that incident shouldn’t have happened, even if it is common practice for bandsmen to parade in a circle when the parade temporarily comes to a halt. It shouldn’t have happened outside the church as a mark of respect – even if the church was empty – even if the only person around to be offended was a travelling Sinn Fein activist with his video camera. Well okay, especially if the only offendable person in sight is a Sinn Fein activist with his camera.

    The other way of looking at this is why do people in Northern Ireland take personal offence at the totally illogical wording of this song? Is it is not a Scottish song referring to Scottish people? Okay it was meant to offend but in the bigger picture who are the losers?

    One thing for sure the OO, if they have any sense will make sure this sort of offence doesn’t happen again outside a church. If there is a positive to be taken out of this perhaps this is what we should be focusing on. This approach just might be the way forward for us all.

    Don’t get me wrong , I am not trying to defend in anyway those who deliberately look for bother and deliberately try to offend others. But perhaps we all take our pride in our tribal identities too seriously? Perhaps we are all just too quick to take personal offence when the image of our tribe is insulted by members of the other tribe?

    Perhaps we should all adapt more of a stereotypical Irish image and stop taking ourselves so seriously?

    I am genuinely pleased that you willing to “TOLERATE the OO” – as long as they long as they show respect of course.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “Willie you are more than welcome to dander round Summerisle, perhaps during our summer festival”

    Just don’t be dandering in fancy dress and stay away from anywhere known as ‘the anointed place’…

  • willie drennan

    Fascinating stuff. I had read of James being adamant that Protestants would not be adversely effected just because he had converted to Catholism. Hadn’t registered the offer to Presbyterians though.

    It seems like the whole romanticism of the Jacobite cause has dampened considerably in Scotland in recent years. I assume it has something to with many Scottish Nationalists preferring to be Republicans as opposed to being Jacobites? You certainly can’t be both.

    Should the Stuarts be replaced on the throne I assume you would, by right of birth, become a member of the Royal Family? I trust you won’t forget us?

  • willie drennan

    Do tell me more. Always looking new places to dander

  • LordSummerisle
  • willie drennan

    I’m on my way. Pretty sure I’ve been in this place before. Or something like it.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Willie, I have a link, and if you go into the site and read through the documents it has some very interesting material:


    I’ve been researching Jacobitism in the three kingdoms for about twenty years, and discovered at conference some while back that an American called Scott Sowerby was researching the very issue of toleration. I’ll post a link to his book later.

    If king Francis returns to Dublin Castle the very least I’d hope for is the return of my ancestral lands in South Armagh, Louth and Monaghan, but I’m not holding out any great hopes for a speedy resolution. And just for the interest, if you check back through some of the old 1800s Orange manuscript fife books, the number of tunes with Jacobite associations that show up is most interesting. Just to shoe nothing gets in the way of a catchy tune!

  • SeaanUiNeill
  • willie drennan

    Yes Seaan. Life would be boring if we all agreed with each other all the time. It is brilliant to be able to agree to disagree. Slugger can be an ideal place for this and I appreciate that you obviously work at keeping it that way.

    Perhaps though I can clarify, without repeating the detail, that my difficulties were not with any single aspect of what James Galway said – it was the overall partisan message that only one side was to blame for all the conflicts throughout Irish history. Only one side was brainwashed. He was quite clear and thorough in this. It would be really difficult for him to say he was misunderstood or misinterpreted. In my assessment this actually encourages the denouncing of only one identity and therefore encourages further division.

  • willie drennan

    Hard not to laugh at this

  • willie drennan

    I’ve had a quick look at this. There can be no doubt that the family feud of royals has had crucial impact on our history and therefore on our psyches to this very day.

    It is therefore, not only fun, but potentially beneficial for the broadening of mindsets to analyse and speculate on how things might have been different.

    I think there is also opportunity for Jacobite thinking to have a relevant role in any new monarchy versus republic debates that may emerge.

    And yes the crossover of music between Orange and Jacobite tunes is also worth highlighting.

    Just one wee cheeky question though, if you don’t mind.. Considering the bloodline connections between the House of Stuart and the House of Orange would you also embrace a personal bloodline connection with the House of Orange?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I suppose if princess Charlotte’s son ( incidentally the first of the legitimate line to be born in London since James III & VIII) married into the Dutch Royal house, yes, but as a most strict legitimist, I could not countenance any interloper being substituted yet again in the line of succession. What with the Dutch Usurper and the kale yard gang from Hanover I think that our long suffering lands have already had enough of that. Anecdotally, Queen Victoria thought so too, but not to the point of inviting Francis I or Mary IV to assume her throne.

    I’m almost unique here from what I see on other postings on Slugger in actually really liking Charles and the boys (I’ve met them, by the way). But unlike some so-called jacobites I know, I cannot see how Mountbatten’s little sop in stage managing the marriage of Charles to a direct ( although “Wrong side of the blanket”) descendant of King James II & VII (Diana!) could ever get around the issue of a strict succession:


  • SeaanUiNeill

    Not having heard the interview, Willie, I am only coming from what the papers tell me, and all my comments must suffer from using second hand sources. I will attempt to check out any possible “listen again” I can find before laying down any law of my own on this.

    And I entirely agree that far more balance is required if we are ever to find the broad community engaged in serious debate. AGs comments are water on parched earth to me for a start, as one sane balanced voice. Mick (Et alla)s effort to encourage serious Unionist debate is an important part of building this balance. Please keep posting, and try and ignore the more personal stuff, I for one strongly value your contribution.

  • willie drennan

    Thank you very much Seaan. Don’t worry I won’t be put off by personal attacks. Some of that I suppose is inevitable once an opinion is voiced – regardless of what that opinion might be.

    While there are those on Slugger that I would fundamentally disagree with on certain issues – most of those same people, in the bigger picture, I would consider to be like-minded to myself.

  • willie drennan

    Of course I shouldn’t have left out the House of Hanover in the mix with House of Stuart and House of Orange. Interesting to discover that Diana was directly descended from Charles II.

    I’ve also met Charles recently, and Camilla. I was engaged as a storyteller/ musician for the recent house party at Hillsborough Castle. As a consequence I feel a blog coming on. I will be using my experience as a hook to discuss wider issues. I will probably post it on here. You might even get a mention.

  • willie drennan
  • willie drennan

    Link to what James Galway said on Nolan Show. http://brianjohnspencer.tumblr

    Highlights for me were – [ not necessarily all exact wording, some paraphrasing ]

    ” Whoever wins the day – if it happens to be a bunch of thugs do you really want to live in a society that they rule ?”

    “800 years ago it was immoral what the British did. They kept doing it and are still doing it”

    ” No [not Northern Irish], I’m Irish”

    ” I am a ‘Sir’ because I am from the British Occupied part of Ireland”

    ” Growing up in Belfast as a Protestant I was brainwashed”

    “I was brainwashed by the Presbyterians who made the school systems separate.”

    ” I never admired Paisley” [ when asked if he admired Paisley and McGuinness for what they did together for the peace process]

    It is always wise to allow for aspects of what people say to be perhaps taken out of context. Is this case it does seem beyond doubt that Sir James Galway’s overall statement is blatantly prejudiced and partisan. The most we could hope for is that he will re-exam historical fact and come back with an apology for the inaccurate bits.

  • willie drennan
  • Sprite

    it’s a brilliant piece – very clever

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thank you Willie, I will check it out and see if I have anything new to say.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Willie, I’m delighted you’ve met Charles. You’ll have found him quite different to the impressions one gets from the news, I imagine. I am particularly interested in his work at PSTA:


    On descent, the Duke of Cambridge has both of the Royal brothers of the restoration in his family background, but its pretty hard to meet with anyone in the English gentry who does not have one of Charles’s natural children somewhere back there. James’s line is less represented, and interestingly Henrietta Fitzjames, from whom this descent comes is the daughter of James and Arabella Churchill, sister of the great Marlborough of whom Winston was biographer. If you look at the family tree of Diana the rumour that Mountbatten was re-grafting the Stuarts becomes almost believable.

    I’ve not been able to find any direct blood links in Sir James Galway’s ancestry as yet, however.

  • willie drennan

    “You’ll have found him quite different to the impressions one gets from the news, I imagine”

    I discovered that Prince Charles was actually real – that he was as human as the rest of us and most importantly seriously enjoyed a bit of crack. I was also was very impressed by Camilla.

    “If you look at the family tree of Diana the rumour that Mountbatten was re-grafting the Stuarts becomes almost believable.”

    Intriguing indeed.

    “I’ve not been able to find any direct blood links in Sir James Galway’s ancestry as yet, however.”

    Sir James will be most disappointed to learn that he is not directly descended from the James who tried to put Billy back in his place.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Willie, if Charles is “putting on” that patent sincerity with those he meets, then he’s a world class actor. His patent honesty and the edge of vulnerability seems to me to be what gets his enemies so riled up. I think, from my researches, much the same personality traint distinguished both Charles I and James II & VII, going by the kind of personal abuse and aggression they received when alive. Any sort of honesty in someone in the public eye seems to worry people. As the old American adage has it “It would suit most people much better in their lives if God was a rogue.”

    I can’t speak for Camilla, never having met her myself, but I’ve found the sort of gratuitous personal abuse heaped on her most offensive.

  • willie drennan

    Spot on Seaan. That’s exactly what gets some folk riled – the honesty, sensitivity and the ‘edge of vulnerability’. That and being envious of their lofty social status. I don’t envy them not being able to go out among the throngs and have a bit of fun at times, like the rest of us, without the world gloating on and craving scraps for stories of sensation.

    There are genuine issues for monarchy of course that are worthy of genuine debate, but I better stop or I’ll end up writing my next blog before I actually write it.