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The Pride of Kilkee
(Roud 5217)
Tom Lenihan
Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay
Recorded in singer's home, July 1976

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Tom Lenihan

One day as I chanced to go a-rove,
With my heart full of courage and glee,
I met a fair maid all alone,
And she making her way to Kilkee.
Her cheeks were as red as the rose
And her skin like the snow on the field.
I asked her to where was she going;
And she said she was bound for Kilkee.

I being on for that very same road,
With my heart full of courage and glee,
She said she was tired from the road
And I told her I’d give her a seat.
I asked her to come with me home,
That I lived to the west of the street.
“In Moveen you will find my abode,
Or by the sweet town of Kilkee.”

“You are very presumptuous and bold,
Saucy and impudent,” says she,
“Alluding a maid of my sort that my age,
Sure ‘tis scarcely eighteen.
Besides sir my fortune is low,
You will leave me in sorrow to weep,
With a babe in my arms to moan
And to seek your abode in Moveen.”

“Indeed I am none of that sort
That I’d cause a fair maiden to weep.
Unto you I’ll take many an oath,
That I won't you insult or deceive.
I’d swear by the great Hill of Howth,
By the box of Pandora in Greece.
By the bellows of his [Vulcan's] own forge,
That I won't you insult or deceive.”

“Your oaths are enormous I know,
Therefore I must you believe.
But in order to finish the joke
I hope both of our friends will agree.
The clergy will make one of us both,
Then sure ‘tis married we’ll be,
And ‘tis then we’ll have money in store
Forever to live in Kilkee.”

My heart gave a jump as she spoke,
my soul was ravished by thee.
Who would blame me to make her my own?
She’s the fairest that ever I seen.
She’s proper, brave, handsome and tall,
Well featured in every degree.
Oh, her name I’ll not mention at all,
But I’ll style her the Pride of Kilkee.


“These ‘amorous encounter’ songs once proliferated in the song traditions of these islands, often, as in this case, sited in a specific location; the beautiful ‘Road to Dundee’ (Roud 2300) is a particularly good example of a Scottish one. Often the encounter leads to the couple parting, as in ‘Road to Dundee’; in ‘Pride of Kilkee’ case a happy conclusion is arrived at. Whenever this song was made, reference to ‘Vulcan’s great forge’ and ‘Pandora’ shows the ‘classical literature’ influences of the hedge schoolmaster (see notes to ‘Cahermurphy’ and ‘Kilrush’, both sung by Josie Baker of Cahermurphy). Tom’s is the only version of this particular song to have been documented, though Tom Munnelly notes its similarity to ‘The Kilkee Maid’ which he recorded from Joe Mikey McMahon of Creevah, Mullagh in 1972.”
Jim Carroll

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