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The Quilty Burning
(Roud 18471)
Mikey Kelleher
Quilty and Depford, London
Recorded in London, autumn 1977

Carroll Mackenzie Collection 

Mikey Kelleher

Oh the burning of Quilty, you all know it well;
When the barrack took fire where the peeler did dwell.
The flames bursted out, sure it was a great sight;
There were women and children out there all night.

Michael Dwyer, sure, he got a great fright.
He called on his wife for to rescue his life.
His daughter ran out and she roaring, “Ovoe,
Blessed light, blessed light, keep away from our door.”

Then Micho Kenny, looked out through the glass,
And he saw Patsy Scully outside at the Cross.
“Oh Patsy, oh Patsy, take out the poor ass,
For the whole blessed place it is all in a mess.”

Michael Dwyer, he came down on the scene;
He ran down to the cross and called up Jack Cuneen.
“My house will be burned before ‘twill be seen,
And my fool of a son is above in Rineen.”

Then Paddy Shannon thrown out his old rags;
He stuck his poor missus into the bag.
“The burning, the burning, it started too soon;
‘Twill be burning all night until next afternoon.”

Then Paddy Healy came out in the flames;
He could see nobody there but the peelers he’ll blame.
He went into Tom Clancy and told him the same.
“By damned”, said Tom Clancy, “‘tis now we want rain.”

Father McGannon came down to the gate;
He says to the boys, “there’s an awful disgrace;
For this old barracks is in an awful state;
It’s no harm to be banished and gone out the place.”

Now to conclude and to finish my song;
I hope you’ll all tell me my verses is wrong,
For this old barracks is no harm to be gone,
For many the poor fellow was shoved in there wrong.


"The incident, that gave rise to this song, now apparently forgotten, took place around 1920, when the Royal Irish Constabulary Barracks at Quilty, a fishing village a few miles south of Miltown Malbay, was set alight by Republicans. Mikey appears to be the only person to remember the song and told us that he recalls it being made by a group of local men shortly after the event. We have been able to get only very little information about either the song or the incident, apart from the fact that the ‘Father McGannon’ in the 7th verse was not a priest, but was the nickname of a local man. We once played this to a friend, the late John Joe Healy, a fiddle player from Quilty, who said of the Paddy Healy in verse 6: ‘that’s my father he’s singing about’."

The above commentary, lyrics and recording are 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.

Mikey Kelleher talks to Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie about 'The Quilty Burning':

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