Clare County Library
Songs of Clare
Home | Library Catalogue | Music of Clare | Photographic Collection | Maps | Folklore | Genealogy | History | Copyright | What's New

The Half Crown
((Roud 16988)
Vincie Boyle
Mount Scott, Mullagh
Recorded November 2003

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Vincie Boyle

‘Twas lately DeValera set out in the Dail,
Said the population of Ireland was beginning to fall;
And then to prevent it and not let it down,
To every child born he’d give a half crown.

I’m a young single man and I’m fed up of life,
I lately set out in search of a wife,
I married a widow and we both settled down,
And I’m doing my best for the blooming half crown.

The job, it proved harder than people may think.
The night we got married, sure, I ne’er slept a wink.
The wife, she keeps at me, she calls me a clown,
And said I’m doing nothing for the blooming half crown.

I’m a young married man and I’m tired of life;
Half killed and half crazy from this strap of a wife;
If we haven’t a family ‘tis me she will drown.
I’m in a hell of a fix for the blooming half crown.

Since the blooming thing started I’m nearly half dead;
Last night we broke down all the springs in the bed;
Said, she, “it’s no us, for I’m now sixty three.”
“Oh bedad then”, says I, “there’s no half crown for me.”

So now I resemble a half hungry goose;
Every bone in my body disjointed and loose;
The people when pass me, they say with a frown;
“The cause of your death will be the half crown.”

So all ye young fellows who are about to be wed;
Check your wife’s age before going to bed;
Don’t have her to tell you, as mine told me;
There’s no half a crown from a three score and three.


"In 1944, despite considerable opposition, the DeValera government introduced a family allowance of two-and-sixpence for every child after the second. This gave rise to several songs, including this one. Vincie heard this sung by members of his family when he was young but had forgotten it. He put it together from memory with the help of a neighbour, Pat MacNamara (Paddy Mac).
Other recordings: Andy Cash, Wexford traveller, ‘From Puck to Appleby’, Musical Traditions MTCD325-6"

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.

<< Songs of Clare