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Austin (b. 1924) and Michael (b. 1920) Flanagan, Luogh, Doolin


The Manchester Martyrs

We visited Austin and Michael Flanagan only twice, so the information we have about them is somewhat skimpy. Two bachelor brothers, they lived on their small farm with their sister Katie, a few miles from The Cliffs of Moher. Their townland, Luogh, features importantly in Clare folklore as it was where folklorist Seamus Delargy based much of his collecting from 1929 onwards. The Flanagan's home was in close proximity to where much of Delargy's work was done and they recalled seeing him on his visits.

Austin and Michael were extremely enthusiastic gatherers of songs and they told us how, when Travellers visited the area, all work on the farm would cease and they would go off to learn songs from them. They described how they used to write the songs down in a notebook which was kept in a drawer but, on enquiring whether it still existed, we were told that, whenever a neighbour was looking for the words of a song, the relevant page would be torn out and handed over and in this way the book gradually disappeared. Like many of the singers we met, they were insistent that the stories of the songs were more important than the tunes, so much so that over half of the songs we recorded from them were sung to the same tune, the one usually associated with The Rocks of Bawn and used here for O'Reilly to America.

Taken from ‘Around the Hills of Clare: Songs and Recitations from the Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie Collection’ (2004) Musical Traditions Records MTCD331-2/Góilín Records 005-6.

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