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The Fair Of Sixmilebridge
John Lyons
Newmarket-on-Fergus
Recorded 1974

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

John Lyons

Mick Tobin, you’ll give over your reels and your jigs,
For tomorrow it will be the big fair at Sixmilebridge.
If you’ll bring the cattle then, sure I will bring the pigs,
We’ll go down by the River O’Garney.

We’ll get a fine old price now we’re sure for to sell,
For there’s dozens of fine dealers in every hotel.
Then you’ll be a gentleman and I will be a swell,
When we get a few drops of John Barley.

We will then take a trip to the beautiful auld mill,
It’s owned by that gentleman called Mister O’Flynn.
There are hundreds of hard working women and men
And they’re rolling and spinning their yarns.

Don’t talk about the mills that you'll meet elsewhere,
Sure Flynn’s are the mills for the people of Clare.
They turn out a tweed that a horse he couldn’t tear,
Down by the River O’Garney.

There’s Fennessy’s big motor shop there on The Parade,
Where Rohan the ould foreman will show you some fine trade,
Where they turn out fine motors in style and repair,
They are fit for the flower of the army.

You can drive to Kilkishen and up through Gallows Hill,
Round the vale of Belvoir and sweet Castlecrine.
Ballycullen Hotel you can take a fine step in,
Where you’ll get a few drops of John Barley.

Now the river it is teeming with salmon and with trout,
The pubs are overflowing with whiskey and stout.
And most of the colleens they are on the look-out,
And they coaxin’ the lads with their blarney.

Well labour and trade now they’re ruling the town,
They are far better off Mick, than if they were ploughing.
We’d think more of a penny than they would of a crown,
By the beautiful River O’Garney.

So before we’ll go home now we’ll take a few ould swigs,
For we got the fine price for the cattle and the pigs.
And we’ll string up a song about the fair at the Bridge,
Rolling home by the River O’Garney.

It’s a beautiful village and fine a big fair,
There’s none quite like it in all County Clare.
There are half a dozen roads, they leading into the square,
By the beautiful River O’Garney.

And it’s a beautiful village and a fine big fair,
There’s none quiet like it in all County Clare.
With Casey and Keane and they dancin’ their jigs,
Agus fágfaimid siúd mar atá sé.


Taken from 'Ballads and Songs of Co. Clare' edited by Seán P Ó Cillín. The authorship of this song is attributed to journeyman blacksmith Martin Kennedy, and set to the tune Father O’Flynn (not the tune used here by John). The editor of ‘Ballads’ gives the following information on Kennedy in his introduction to the collection:

‘The collection is divided into ballads written prior to 1930 and those written more recently. The bulk of the ballads written prior to 1930 are the compositions of Martin Kennedy who was a journeyman blacksmith. He travelled from forge to forge, gathering to gathering, working here and there composing and selling his broadsheets. A few of the broadsheets were discovered recently with the help of Edward Duggan of Ahaclare, and a copy of one is on the back cover. Another writer who put his ballads into booklet form in 1932 was Michael Maloney, a teacher of Glandaree National School, near Tulla. Many of these ballads were still remembered in the area, and refer to people, places, and events, between Tulla and Feakle. Ned Kelly who wrote a eulogy on the death of Kennedy was a schoolmaster in Belvoir where Kennedy spent much of his time after leaving his farm and forge in Violet Hill - for the sake of peace it is said. Belvoir forge and particularly the house of Paddy Maloney, the blacksmith, is where Kennedy worked for many years and where most of the ballads were composed. Tom Dillon of Ahaclare is still hale and hearty and obviously enjoyed the Broadford Fair Day.’”
Jim Carroll


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