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The Broken Wheelbarrow
Vincie Boyle
Mount Scott, Mullagh
Recorded November 2003

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Vincie Boyle

‘Twas down in a cellar up nine flight of stairs,
Next door to a blacksmith who sold apples and pears.
He sold them by the bushel at three ha’pence a pound,
In a broken wheel barrow and the wheel going around.

This charming young lady had a dada they say,
He used to drink every week seven-tenths of his pay.
Stay in bed all day long, wearing holes in the clothes,
And he scratching his belly with the nails of his toes.

The first time I met her ‘twas in a saloon,
She was eating ice cream without knife, fork or spoon.
She put her leg in her pocket and lit a cigar,
Saying, 'Let us go home and stay where we are.'

The next time I met her she was very ill,
In a leaf of tobacco I drew out her will.
She roared in a whisper, 'Don’t forget me in death.'
And it was with a corkscrew I drew her last breath.

The day of her funeral ‘twas a sad sight,
We carried out her coffin in the middle of the night.
We buried her in a bottle fifty feet over ground,
In a broken wheel barrow and a wheel going around.


Conversation about the song between Vincie Boyle, Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie:
Jim: Where did you have that from?
Vincy: An uncle of mine use to sing it, Seán Moroney from Dunsallagh and then a sister of mine, Tessie, she use always be singing it, because she was always over with her grandmother, Moroney’s in Dunsallagh and Seánie use always be singing it, every place he ever went into, every soiree or dance he’d sing it. ‘Twas the only song I think, he knew.
Jim: I never heard that at all.

“There seem to be no equivalent documented examples of this song but it is typical of the ‘nonsense’ genre of songs which have been found worldwide for many centuries. Vincie said it was sung around the home when he was young – ‘very old’, he insists; certainly the genre is ancient.”
Jim Carroll


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