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Inniskillen Dragoons
(Roud 2185)
Martin Reidy
Tullaghaboy, Connolly
Recorded in a bar in Connolly, July 1976

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Martin Reidy

A beautiful damsel of fame and renown,
A gentleman's daughter near Monaghan’s town.
As she stood by the barracks this beautiful maid,
As she sat on her coach to see her Dragoon parade.

They all were dressed up like young gentlemen's sons,
With their bright shining sword and their carbine guns,
With their silver mounted pistol, she observed them full soon
Because that she loved her Inniskillen Dragoon.

Goodbye Inniskillen, fare thee well for a while.
And all round the borders of Erin's green isle.
And when the war is over and we all have our own,
And we'll all welcome back the Inniskillen Dragoons.

Now my dearest Flora, your pardon I crave,
It's now and forever I will be your slave.
Your parents insult you both morning, night and noon,
What ? you would wed your Inniskillen Dragoon.

? bye Inniskillen, fare thee well for a while,
And all around the border of Erin's green isle.
And when the war is over and we all have our own,
And we all welcome back the Inniskillen Dragoons.

Now my dearest Willie, be mind for what I say,
For children they’re obliged, their parents to obey.
And when you’re leaving Ireland ?
And the Good Lord be with you, Inniskillen Dragoon.

“According to W.P. Joyce, this song appeared in published form for the first time in A.P. Graves’ ‘Irish Song Book’ (1894) though this must be referring to Ireland only as it appeared in an American publication ‘A Book of a Thousand Songs’ in New York in 1843. It was distributed widely on broadsides and appeared in songsters and newspaper columns in Canada and America. Dr. Hugh Shields writes of the song:

‘Dragoons - mounted infantry that fought on foot - long enjoyed popularity in folk song. The Inniskillings were remembered for their part in the Williamite campaign, when a Huguenot diarist is reported as writing that he had seen them “run like masty dogs against bullets” - (1856). An eighteenth-century biographer of William's general, Schomberg described them, with “thin little nags and the wretched dress of their riders, half-naked with sabre and pistols hanging from their belts,” as looking “like a horde of Tartars” - J. G. Simms in ‘Jacobite Ireland, 1685-91’ (London 1969) paints a different picture but it refers to a ceremonial occasion and a later date. Irish and British broadside texts of the song are abundant. In a nineteenth-century 'response song' the hero returns from the war in the role of an initially unrecognized lover.'”

Shamrock, Rose and Thistle, Hugh Shields, Blackstaff Press, 1981.
Jim Carroll

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