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The Tanyard Side
(Laws M28; Roud 1021)
Pat MacNamara
Kilshanny, near Ennistymon
Recorded in Considine’s Bar, Kilshanny, August 1975

Carroll Mackenzie Collection


Pat McNamara

And I am a rambling hero, by my love I am ensnared,
For it’s near the town of Baltinglass there dwells a comely maid,
She is fairer than all Diana’s kind; oh she’s free from all earthly pride,
She’s a comely maid; her dwelling place lies near the tanyard side.

I stood in meditation and viewed her o’er and o’er.
Sure I thought she be the goddess above who ascended down so low,
Oh no, kind sir, I’m a country girl, no, she modestly replied,
While I daily labour for my bread down by the tanyard side.

Her golden hair in ringlets lay there on her snow-white neck.
The killing glances of her eyes would save a ship from wreck.
Her two sparkling brown eyes and her teeth like ivory white,
Would make a man become her slave down by the tanyard side.

Now for twelve long months we courted, sure at length we did agree,
All to consult our parents and married we should be.
For at length her cruel father oh, to me he proved unkind,
Well it’s now I have to cross the sea and leave my love behind.

So fare thee well each parents, sure I’m bidding thee adieu,
For I’m crossing that wild ocean sure all for the sake of you,
But if ever I chance to return again I shall make of you my bride,
While I roll you in my arms down by the tanyard side.

“Also known as 'Down by the Slaney Side'; Herbert Hughes published this song under this title though he designates it as coming from Kerry (‘Irish Country Songs’, vol.2, Herbert Hughes, 1915). It was equally popular in England, Ireland and America; we recorded it from a retired Norfolk fisherman in the early 1970s. It seemed to be extremely popular among country singers in East Anglia although Kenneth Peacock noted that the texts of all the various versions seldom differed much; he put this down to its widely being published in songbooks. A tanyard has always seems to us to be a not particularly romantic meeting place for trysting lovers, with all the odours associated with a trade which once gave rise to the old saying, ‘All wind and piss like a tanyard cat’."
Jim Carroll

See also
The Tanyard Side sung by Nora Cleary

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