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When Molly was Young and
Hoops Were in Vogue

Jamesie McCarthy
Mount Scott, Mullagh
Recorded in Conway’s Bar, Mullagh, July 1976

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Jamesie McCarthy

‘Twas down at MacReddans, at Donal Doyle’s wedding,
The boys got a pair of us out for a reel.
Says I, “Boys excuse me”, says they, “Don’t refuse us,
I’ll play nice and easy”, says Larry O’Neill.

Off we went tripping it, up and down stepping it
Myself and herself at the back of the door,
Till Molly, God bless her, fell into the dresser
And I tumbled over a child in the floor.

Says herself to myself, “We’re as good as the best of 'em.”
Says herself to myself, “Sure we’re better than gold.”
Says herself to myself, “We’re as young as the rest of 'em.”
And I says to herself, “We’ll be time enough old.”

As down the lane going, I felt my heart going.
As auld as it was forty five years ago.
It was here in this boateen I first kissed by stóreen,
When Molly was young, and when hoops were in vogue.

When I looked at t'auld woman the song she was humming,
As old as the hills, sure I gave her a póg.
It was like this auld courting, as serious as sporting
When Molly was young and when hoops were in vogue.

Says herself to myself, “We’re as good as the best of them.”
I says to herself, “Sure we’re better than gold.”
And she says to myself, “We’re as young as the rest of them.”
And I says to herself, “We’ll be time enough old.”


“Also known as, 'The Old Man’s Song', authorship of this is attributed to P. J. McCall; it was published in his 'Songs of Erin' in 1899.

‘P J McCall (1861–1919) Merchant and poet; born in Dublin, one of the best ballad-poets of his generation, his Carlow-Wexford antecedents are reflected noticeably in his choice of historical themes. Published several volumes of poetry and a couple of entertaining and valuable little prose sketches of historical and legendary interest. Was a foundation member of the National Literary Society, a great book-lover and collector of literary curiosities and street ballads (particularly relating to Dublin) and a successful lecturer on topics of Irish literary interest. Known mostly as the author of lyrics for popular ballads: 'Follow Me Up to Carlow', 'The Boys of Wexford', 'Boolavogue', 'The Lowlands Low' and 'Kelly the Boy from Killanne'. He was assisted in putting the Wexford ballads, dealing with the 1798 Rising, to music by Arthur Warren Darley using traditional Irish airs.’”

The Minstrel of Erin, Terence O’Hanlon (ed.), The Fodhla Printing Co, Dublin 1930.

Jim Carroll

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