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The Bold Sinn Féiner
(Roud 10513)
Martin Howley
Fanore, north west Clare
Recorded in singer’s home, summer 1975

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Martin Howley

When the war is over, what will the Paddies do?
They’ll be shoving around with a leg and half
For the lend of a bob or two.
So right away, right away!
Right away me bold Sinn Féiner, right away!

I sent my love a letter that I was going to France;
And the answer that she sent me,
She was going to a Sinn Féin dance.
So right away, right away !
Right away me bold Sinn Féiner, right away!

I bought my love a bicycle and I taught her how to ride.
Sure, she rode away to Amerikay
And she left me to mind the child.
So right away, right away!
Right away me bold Sinn Féiner, right away!

They’re going to tax the sugar and they’re going to tax the tea.
And they’re going to tax young maidens
With their dresses above their knees!
So right away, right away!
Right away me bold Sinn Féiner, right away!

Never marry a peeler, a soldier or marine,
But - marry the bold Sinn Féiner with the yellow, white and green.


“Usually known as ‘Salonica’, this is a Cork city anti–recruiting song from the First World War which had its contemporary counterparts in Dublin with ‘The Recruiting Sergeant’ and ‘Sergeant William Bailey’. The tradition of making such pieces to discourage young men from enlisting in ‘foreign wars’ goes back a long way with songs like ‘Mrs McGrath’ and the powerfully satirical ‘Johnny I hardly knew You’. Tomás Ó Canainn writes of the Cork version:

‘A Cork city song of the First World War. The humour is direct and does not mince words in describing the situation at home while the soldiers were abroad fighting for king and country. The reference to the Sinn Fein boy in the last verse is, one feels, an additional verse put in to suit a new political situation. "Dicky Glue" … was a pawnbroker and moneylender who had considerable difficulty in recovering his loans. He is still vividly remembered by many Corkonians from the North side of the river.’


My husband’s in Salonica, I wonder if he’s dead,
I wonder if he knows he has a kid with a foxy head.
So right away, so right away
Right away Salonica, right away ne soldier boy

For they takes us out to Blarney, they lays us on the grass:
They puts us in the family way and leaves us on our ass.
Now there's lino in the parlour and in the kitchen too:
There's a glass-backed cheffoneur (sic) that we got from Dicky Glue.

Now never marry a soldier a sailor or a marine,
But keep your eye on the Sinn Fein boy with his yellow white and green
And when the war is over what will the slackers do?
They'll be all around the soldiers for the loan of a bob or two.

And when the war is over what will the soldiers do?
They'll be walking around with a leg and a half and the slackers will have two.
Now they taxed their pound of butter and they taxed their ha'penny bun,
But still with all their taxes they can't bate the bloody Hun.

They taxed the Coliseum, they taxed St. Mary's Hall:
Why don't they tax the bobbies wi' their backs agin the wall?
And when the war is over, what will the slackers do:
For every kid in America in Cork there will be two.”

Songs of Cork, Tomás Ó Canainn, Gilbert Dalton, 1978.
Jim Carroll


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