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Bold Fenian Men
(Roud 9266)
Nonie Lynch
Mount Scott, Mullagh
Recorded in singer’s home, July 2003

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Nonie Lynch

Down by the Glenside, I saw an old woman,
A-plucking young nettles, she ne’re saw me coming.
I listened awhile to the song she was humming:
Glory O, Glory O, to the bold Fenian men.

Tis fifty long years since I saw the moon beaming,
On strong manly form and eyes with hope gleaming.
I see them again, but it is my daydreaming:
Glory O, Glory O, to the bold Fenian men.

When I was a cailín they were marching and drilling,
A-roaming the Glenside, was awesome and thrilling.
For their own beloved Ireland, to die they were willing:
Glory O, Glory O, to the bold Fenian men.

Some died on the hillside, some died by the stranger.
And wise men have said their cause was a failure.
But they loved dear old Ireland, never feared danger:
Glory O, Glory O, to the bold Fenian men.

I went on my way, God be praised that I met her.
Be life long or short I shall never forget her.
We may have brave men, but we'll never have better:
Glory O, Glory O, to the bold Fenian men

Conversation after the song between Nonie Lynch, Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie:
Nonie: That’s all I have now.
Jim: Where did you have that from Nonie?
Nonie: Well, I suppose when I was a young lady – fifteen years – I learned it at home from hearing others coming in to sing – I learned it from them.
Jim: Were your parents singers?
Nonie: Well, we were, you know. I was a first cousin of Tom Lenihan’s you see. That side of the house was singers. Most of my brothers and sisters – there was twelve of us in the family – most of them were able to sing. There was a few that didn’t.
Jim: Was there music in the family as well?
Nonie: It was. I had a sister that could play the concertina, and she played the violin. I’d a brother as well. Then the rest of us didn’t bother.

"‘Down by the Glenside' ('The Bold Fenian Men') was written by Peader Kearney, an Irish Republican and composer of numerous political songs, including the Irish National Anthem, 'The Soldier's Song, ('Amhrán na bhFiann'), and the Irish remake of the English song ‘Tri-coloured Ribbon’. Kearney was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, popularly known as the Fenians, and he wrote the song in remembrance of the spirit of the 1867 Fenian rebellion and regret for its betrayal and ultimate failure, around the time of the 1916 Easter Rising. He was an uncle of the playwright, Brendan Behan and his brother, singer Dominic, who recorded a number of his songs."
Jim Carroll


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