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Willie Clancy
Martin Junior Crehan
Bonavilla, Mullagh
Recorded in singer's home, August 1987

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Martin Junior Crehan

Lament ye musicians, the king of our music is dead.
The light of our star, at the fleadh ceóil and dance house is shed.
He was king of the music, now please do not argue with me.
But he’s gone, he has left us, his face we will never more see.

How pleasant on an evening to visit the house of Tom Friel.
To hear his sweet music, a caoineadh, a jig or a reel.
And then a good yarn, or a song with the pipes on his knee.
But he’s gone, he has left us, poor Willie a stór mo chroí.

In a dream when he died I was taken to heavens gold gate,
Before Peter arrived I sat myself under a seat,
This tall man then came with a long wooden box in his hand,
And slowly he strolled before Peter and there took his stand.

He addressed the good Saint in a voice that was trembling and low:
“Would you look in your book and please show me where I have to go?”
The saint looked in his book and he stopped when he came to page four,
Saying, “Boul, Willie Clancy you’re welcome from Erin’s green shore.”

“You made people happy, when you were in Miltown below.
You played your sweet music to gladden the young and the old.
You were generous and kind and that’s the big secret you know
And that’s why your page in my book is as white as the snow.”

Now when they had gone in, I slipped out from under the seat.
And I took a peep right in through the bars of the gate.
There were Rowsomes, and Dorans, Patsy Tuohy, Blind Garrett likewise.
Céad fáilte,” deir Garrett, “I now have the sight in my eyes.”

I awoke in the morning to find that my eyes they were red,
And my wife said to me and these were the words that she said:
“You were crying all the night in your sleep with the lonesome ochón.”
Ní nach iontach,” deir mise, “Sure you know that poor Willie is gone.”

Had I all the gold or the wealth that this world doth own,
All the land or the riches from here to the County Tyrone.
I gladly would change them for one other session with thee,
In sweet Miltown Malbay again in the house of Tom Friel.


“A lament written by Junior shortly after his death in 1973 to mourn the passing of Miltown Malbay’s piper; as well as being fellow musicians Willie and Junior were great friends. Willie died in January 1973; Junior first sang the song for us in the September of that year. Willie was a world-respected musician and the school set up in his memory in 1973 has played a major part in the change of fortune of traditional music in Ireland.”
Jim Carroll

See also
Lament for Willie Clancy sung by Marty Malley

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