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St Kevin and the Gander
(Roud 8001)
Micho Rusell
Doonagore, Doolin

Recorded at the Cecil Sharp House, London
Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Micho Russell

As St Kevin once was travelling through a place called Glendalough,
He met with King O’Toole and he asked him for a shough.*
Said the saint, ‘You are a stranger and your face I never have seen.
But if you have the taste of weed I’ll lend you my dúidín.’**

Chorus
With me fal the dol the di do, with me fol the dol the dee,
With me fal the dol the di do, with me fol the dol the dee,
With me fal the dol the di do, with me fol the dol the dee,
With me fol the dol the dol the dol the dol the dol the dee.

While the saint was kindlin’ up the pipe the monarch gave a sigh:
‘Is there anything the matter,’ sez the saint, ‘that makes you cry?’
Said the king: ‘I had a gander that was left me by my mother,
And this morning he has cocked his toes with some disease or other.’

‘Are you crying for your gander, you misfortunate old goose?
Dry up those tears and fretting and the dickens take the use!
If you think so much about the bird, I’ll cure him,’ said St Kevin,
‘If you give to me a piece of land that the gander will fly around.’

‘Troth, I will, and welcome’, said the king, ‘give what you ask.’
He bid him bring the gander and they would begin the task.
He hoist him up into the air, he flew thirty miles around,
Said the saint, ‘I thank your majesty for the little bit of ground.’

Chorus
With me fal the dol the di do, with me fol the dol the dee,
With me fal the dol the di do, with me fol the dol the dee,
With me fal the dol the di do, with me fol the dol the dee,
With me fol the dol the dol the dol the dol the dol the dee.

The king to raise a ruction, he called the saint a witch.
He’s sending for his six big sons to heave him in a ditch.
But the saint turned himself and his six big sons into seven churches,
And he left the gander there to guard about the ruins.

Chorus
With me fal the dol the di do, with me fol the dol the dee,
With me fal the dol the di do, with me fol the dol the dee,
With me fal the dol the di do, with me fol the dol the dee,
With me fol the dol the dol the dol the dol the dol the dee.

*A draw of a pipe
** A pipe

“This is said to explain the origins of the Seven Churches of Glendalough, Co. Wicklow. It is attributed to a James Kearney who also wrote ‘Courtin’ in the Kitchen’. Although Kearney says he based his song ‘on the Legend of Samuel Lover’, he in fact added on the motif in which the King’s sons are changed into churches. Lover’s rather patronizingly ‘oirish’ version is to be found in his ‘Legends and Stories of Ireland’ (10th ed.) London (N.D.).”
Jim Carroll

See also
St Kevin and the Gander sung by Martin Howley


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