Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society, Volume 2, Issue 12, Page 7

Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society, Volume 2, Issue 12, Page 7
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Irish Folk Song Society
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Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society
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1218Rodneys Glory and The Sean Bhean Bhoct. John Quinn was self-taught, and Iheard that his brother, a blacksmith living at Dungarvan, was also a renownedmusician. These neighbours of the bard Weldon must often cheer the old man withtheir lively tunes and dances.So the day passed till the evening shadows fell, and as we said good-bye to thebard he lifted his soft felt hat, and wished us God-speed, but looking with wonder atthe motor-car as it was about to start, he added, laughing, Surely that is an inventionof the Devil.Portlaw and its neighbourhood was my next centre of investigation. This littlevillage lies outside the gates of Curraghmore, the seat of the Waterford family, and theRev. Father Power, who knows every soul in the village, helped me immensely in mywork. Lady Waterford, a Vice-President of ou Society, entertajn y me most hospit-ably at Cunaghmore, and introduced me to Mrs. Vilhiers Stuart, who found for us oldHenry Jackson, the country fiddler, whose photograph I reproduce. The village ofPortlaw was formerly a busy little manufacturing centre, and its people are more orless non-Gaelic, but Father Power assured me that after Mass on Sunday, he wouldget me some Gaelic singers from the surrounding country.He was as good as his word, and I collected through him, Song to Our Lady,The Roving Journeyman The Thresher, Between Ardmore and Clare, andseveral others. The old singers were mostly toothless, and therefore the records didnot come out very well. I noticed that there was an amusing rivalry between the oldman who sang the The Roving Journeyman and another who sang the Thresher.I took down all these records at the Convent school, the Mother Superior beingparticularly delighted with Mrs. Lines Seven Rejoices of Mary, which he said sheremembered hearing in her childhood. I have arranged this song and sent it as asouvenir of my visit to the Revd. Mother.After all Portlaw came out well, although both Lady Waterford and Father Powerhad feared there would not be much to glean there. As I said, Lady Waterfordarranged with Mrs. Villiers Stuart for me to hear old Jackson play, and as he wassaid to have a very poor fiddle, she kindly sent one of her own for his use; but, whenI produced the violin and bow, he tried it doubtfully, then shook his head solemnly andsaid, Id as soon have my own ould fiddle. As in the notes to airs, publishedjnthis number, I refer further to Jackson, I will leave him now and turn to Dungarvanand the Ring neighbo 00Making Lawlors Hotel my headquarters I sallied forth in quest of Mr. DanielFraher, to whom I had an introduction from the Abbot of Mount Mellory. I foundhim one of the most painstaking and obliging of men, with a wide acquaintance amongthe Gaelic speaking people, and a critical knowledge of the Gaelic poetry. He arrangedfor Gaelic singers to come to his house at Dungarvan each evening. The phonographwas established there and I took down many fine songs. Beresford, a good fiddler, alsoplayed several of his best jigs and hornpipes to me, and on the fair day I was intro-duced to some old men, whose records, alas, did not prove satisfactory. Mr. Fraherhas many interesting reminiscences of the old times, when the head schoolmasterswere supplanted and English teachers substituted. He himself was severely punishedas a child for daring to speak in Gaelic.He recollects several old women who used to raise the caoine at funerals in thatneighbourhood. When a well-known old man died, said he, one of these old womenwas hired to caoin for him; but when she got to the funeral, she wrung her hands andcried, Och, och, I caiit caoin any for this corpse, for he was just an ordinary properman, and has done nothing great or remarkable. It seems that the caoine was reservedin this part of the country for persons of distinction. Banshees are still believed inby the old people, and said to be plentiful around Dungarvan. Mr. Fraher wrote downa number of Gaelic poems for me, which he says have not yet been published, and whichI have carefully preserved for future use. I paid a most interesting visit to Ring IrishCollege, where Mr. OKiely, the Principal, welcomed me heartily; and from one of hispupils I took down the air of a beautiful song relating the fate of a family called theConneries, who were banished to Australia in the bad times.At Mount Mellary, the Lord Abbot got some of the pupils to sing for me thatlively Gaelic song, An Spailpin Fanach; and one little boy played remarkably wellon the Union Pipes.Here I finish my narrative of this pleasant journey among the music-lovingcountry people of Co. Waterford.a
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Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society, Volume 2, Issue 12

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