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The Fair at Doonbeg
Vincie Boyle
Mount Scott, Mullagh
Recorded December 2003

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Vincie Boyle

In October’s evening, nineteen twenty-one,
To the fair of Doonbeg sure auld Gunner was gone,
To buy a fat cow sure it was his intent,
And the moment he landed, to purchase he went.

There was all sorts of cows sure the reds and the blues.
‘Be-dad then,’ said he, ‘sure they wouldn’t do.’
So he bought this auld grey one for one pound sixteen,
From a man named Johnny Kelly behind in Crusheen.

He paid poor auld Johnny quite honest and straight,
‘Come on down to Igoes til we have a trade.’
And down I went, sure ‘twas porter they took,
And Johnny gave the Gunner two shillings for luck.

So it's home he went to ‘thout any delay,
‘Be-dad and,’ said he, ‘sure I’ll make money some way.
I’ll kill her and sell her to the neighbours around,
And sell at the lowest at four pence a pound.’

‘Go on out that now you foolish old elf,
For that poor auld cow is as auld as myself.
If you kill her and sell her to the neighbours around,
You’d never sell her at four pence a pound.’


Conversation about the song between Vincie Boyle, Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie:
Jim: Who had that?
Vincy: I heard that going to school from a little mate of mine Michael Joe McMahon he had it ‘twas he gave it to me that time.
Jim: And that’s what he had?
Vincy: Yes that was it
Jim: Who’s Gunner?
Vincy: Oh I’m not sure who the Gunner was.
Jim: Was he a local man?
Vincy: I could’t tell you.

"This locally-made song is one of many on the subject of the livestock fairs and markets that were held throughout rural Ireland; some of them still persist and have become popular with casual visitors as well as genuine dealers, such as Ballinasloe in Galway and Cahermee in County Cork horse fairs. Irish Travellers were still making songs on the subject up to the 1970s, one of the most popular among them being 'The Galty Mare', which tells of a farmer who brings in an old horse for sale at Enniscorthy Fair, sells it to an unscrupulous dealer who immediately takes it to a local stable, trims it and cleans it up to look younger, then sells it back to its previous owner at twice the price without his recognising that it was his own mare he was buying."
Jim Carroll

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