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Vale of Fermoyle
Martin Howley
Fanore, north west Clare
Recorded 1976

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Martin Howley

There’s a deep rugged valley way down in North Clare.
The easiest access is by far from the air.
Where the fox and the badger do amble in style,
On the high towering crags near the Vale of Fermoyle.

The residents is happy now it’s plain to be seen.
They loves their own homestead, they’d die for the green.
They neither play golf or go to exile,
But they live quiet content on the Vale of Fermoyle.

For its charms and beauty, they’re seen there galore.
From Coillte Mhaoleoin to the sea-beating shore.
The Atlantic rolls in from the fame Aran Isles,
For to meet the bright waters which still flows through Fermoyle.

There stands there the ruins of three churches renown,
Where our ancestors worshipped when faith being cut down.
When Cromwell’s fierce roundheads had plundered our isle,
And the good priest said Mass near the Vale of Fermoyle.

I was there once myself and a home I could make,
But fate being decreed to the road I should take.
I’ve lived my life long and I’d die with a smile,
All I’d ask for was a grave on the Vale of Fermoyle.

But now as I’m gone and forgotten and forsaked,
I roam through this country an existence to eke.
So hard is my lot and rough being the tide,
Shall I ever forget the sweet Vale of Fermoyle


Conversation after song between Martin Howley, Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie:-
Martin: ‘Tis a man by the name of Jack Carley that composed that.
Jim: And that would be how long ago would you think?
Martin: About nine or ten years ago I think, it could be, more, you know?

“Composed by local man, Jack Carley, sometime in the early 1960s; an indication that the songwriting tradition was still alive in Clare up to that time.”
Jim Carroll

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