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Three Brave Blacksmiths
(Roud 9768)
Vincie Boyle
Mount Scott, Mullagh
Recorded December 2003

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Vincie Boyle

Three brave blacksmiths, down in County Clare.
They wouldn't shoe a grabber's horse, and wouldn’t shoe his mare.
They would not take his money, for his threats they didn't care,
They'd rather go unshod themself than shame the County Clare.

Three brave blacksmiths were marched away to jail;
Off they went, quite content, their spirits didn't fail;
They would not make apologies, they would not offer bail,
And so they got their punishment - a day for every nail.

Three brave blacksmiths, coming home once more,
Met a crowd of loving friends at the prison door;
The people cheered behind them and the music played before,
Until each blacksmith stood again, on his cabin floor.

Three brave blacksmiths heard with grateful pride,
From their wives and little ones how they were well supplied,
Kept in every comfort by the neighbours far and wide,
And in the fullness of their health with joy they nearly cried.

Blacksmiths, whitesmiths, tradesmen everywhere,
Farmers, labourers, see your model there;
Be you all as ready for the cause to do and dare
As the three brave blacksmiths down in County Clare.


"In 1888 in Miltown Malbay, three local blacksmiths, Maguire, Moloney and Heaney, were jailed for supporting the boycotting of a local landlord, Mrs Burdett Moroney, by refusing to shoe the horse of one of her employees. They were sentenced to a day for every nail they would have used, a total of 28 days.
The term 'grabber' in the first verse is an 18th - 19th century expression, an abbreviation of 'land-grabber', referring to a person who took possession of lands of evicted tenants. The song was written by T D Sullivan, Land Leaguer and editor of ‘The Nation’, and was first published in 1888 in ‘Prison Poems or Lays of Tullamore’. He also wrote ‘God Save Ireland’. "

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.

See also
Three Brave Blacksmiths sung by an Unnamed Clare Singer

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