Category Archives: Munster

The Sleeping Monk of Innisfallen

Written by T. Crofton Croker.

Above all the islands in the lakes of Killarney give me Innisfallen, “sweet Innisfallen” as Tom Moore, the poet, described it. It is indeed a fairy island, although I have no fairy story to tell you about it; and if I had, these are such unbelieving times that people only smile at my fairy stories, and doubt them.

However, none will doubt that a monastery once stood upon Innisfallen Island, for its ruins may still be seen. Centuries ago the monks of Innisfallen were popular, pious, and learned, and if you saw them coming along the road you didn’t hop inside the fence to avoid them for they were the best of company at all times. In short they weren’t the kind of men to preach hellfire and damnation in your terrified car every time they saw you. And out of all the monks you could not pick a merrier soul than Father Cuddy who could sing a good song, tell a droll story, and play flute and fiddle as though he had been reared in a bandmaster’s house.

On one occasion the monastery ran out of wine, and Father Cuddy was ordered to go at once to Muckross Abbey for a supply, because a monastery without wine is like an ark without Noah or a pair of golden gates without Saint Peter, or the Mona Lisa without her smile. With the morning’s light he was seen rowing his little boat across the crimson waters of the lake towards the peninsula of Muckross, and that was the last sight the Innisfallen community got of Father Cuddy, for he never returned to them.

At Muckross Abbey Father Cuddy was welcomed like an archangel, which he probably is today, for his fame had travelled before him, and after giving the monks all the news from Innisfallen and singing a few songs for the students he set out for home with a promise that the wine would be sent the following morning. What with the beauty of the scenery, the heat of the sun, the humming ol the bees, and the warm handshakes of friends, he felt a, happy as a Mayboy and he opened his mouth wide and began to sing:
“Tirra-lirra, tirra-lirra, tirra-lirra lee.” Suddenly he stopped singing and listened as a beautiful bird-voice warbled among the trees to his left hand. Father Cuddy knew his songbirds, blackbird, thrush, lark, siskin, linnet, goldfinch, but this was far superior. Louder and sweeter grew the song until it possessed the wood, and the whole world glowed and throbbed with its music. Know-ing that the music was not of this world, Father Cuddy fell on his knees and began to pray. When the music stopped – he looked about him, and the more he looked the more he wondered dLt the alteration which appeared in the face of the country. The hills bore the same majestic outline, and the lake spread itself beneath his view in the same tranquil manner and studded with the same number of islands; but every smaller feature in the landscape was strangely altered. What had been naked rocks were now clothed with holly and arbutus. Whole woods had disappeared, and waste places had become cultivated fields; and to complete the enchantment the very season itself seemed changed. In the rosy dawn of a summer’s day he had left the monastery of Innisfallen, and now he felt in every sight and sound the dreariness of winter. The hard ground was covered with withered leaves; icicles hung from leafiess branches; and he felt his fingers numbed from the nipping frost. Father Cuddy wondered greatly at the sudden transformation, and when he got up he saw that his knees had worn deep grooves in the stone he had knelt on. He decided to return in haste to Innisfallen and report these mysterious events to his superiors who might be able to explain them to his satisfaction. When he reached the gate of the monastery a stranger dressed in queer unmonkish garments occupied the porter’s place.

“Has the wine arrived safely, my good man?” Father Cuddy asked him. “Wine!” the fellow said. “What wine are you talking about?”
“Why, wine for the monks of Innisfallen, of course. 1 left this island yesterday morning for Muckross to order it. why is the place so quiet anyway. Is there a retreat in progress?”
“The day of monks and retreats in Innisfallen is over,” the stranger said. “The fathershave been suppressed, and the Abbey lands were granted in August last to Robert Collan by Lady Elizabeth, Queen of England. And if you were here yesterday I’d have seen you for you are by no means a small man. And if you stay here any longer you are likely to loose your head for monks are not popular with our new masters.”
“I tell you Iwas here yesterday, man,” the astonished monk persisted. “I am Father Cuddy of Innisfallen. Now, sir, do you know me?”
“I do not know you, but there is a story told of Father Cuddy who disappeared from Innisfallen one morning, and was drowned in the lake very likely. But all that happened two hundred years ago.”
Suddenly Father Cuddy recalled the wonderful unearthly music of the singing bird in the forest, and he realised he had taken part in a miracle. His heart was heavy within him as he walked away from the strange quietness of the monastery. The world he know had been swept away, and all his friends and brethren were dead. Avoiding the towns he managed to arrive safely in the port of Dingle where he was put on board a ship sailing for the friendly land of Spain. And in a monastery in Malaga the good man quietly wore out the remainder of his days.

The stone impressed with the mark of Father Cuddy’s knees may be seen to this day. Should any persons doubt my story let them go to Killarney where Clough na Cuddy – Cuddy’s Stone -as it is called remains in Lord Kenmare’s park, an indisputable evidence of the fact. Spillane, the bugle-man, will be able to point it out to them, as he did so to me.

Lanigan’s Ball

In the town of Athy one Jeremy Lanigan
Battered away ’till he hadn’t a pound.
His father died and made him a man again,
Left him a farm and ten acres of ground!
He gave a grand party to friends and relations
Who hadn’t forgot him when sent to the wall;
And if you just listen, I’ll make your eyes glisten
With the rows and the ructions of Lanigan’s Ball

Six long months I spent in Dublin,
Six long months doin’ nothin’ at all,
Six long months I spent in Dublin,
Learnin’ to dance for Lanigans’ Ball.
I stepped out and I stepped in again,
I stepped out and I stepped and I stepped in again,
Learin’ to dance for Lanigan’s Ball.

Myself, of course, got free invitations
For all the nice boys and girls I’d ask,
And in less than a minute the friends and relations
Were dancing away like bees round a cask.
Miss O’Hara, the nice little milliner,
Tipped me the wink to give her a call,
And soon I arrived with Timothy Glenniher
Just in time for Lanigan’s Ball.

Six long months I spent in Dublin,
Six long months doin’ nothin’ at all,
Six long months I spent in Dublin,
Learnin’ to dance for Lanigans’ Ball.
I stepped out and I stepped in again,
I stepped out and I stepped and I stepped in again,
Learin’ to dance for Lanigan’s Ball.

There was lashins of punch, and wine for the ladies,
Potatoes and cakes and bacon and tay,
The Nolans and Doolans and all the O’Gradys,
Were courtin’ the girls and dancin’ away.
Songs there were as plenty as water
From “The Harp that once thro’ Tara’s Ould Hall”
To “Sweet Nelly Gray” and “The Ratcatcher’s Daughter”
All singing together at Lanigan’s Ball.

Six long months I spent in Dublin,
Six long months doin’ nothin’ at all,
Six long months I spent in Dublin,
Learnin’ to dance for Lanigans’ Ball.
I stepped out and I stepped in again,
I stepped out and I stepped and I stepped in again,
Learin’ to dance for Lanigan’s Ball.

They were startin’ all sorts of nonsensical dances
Turning around in a nate whirligig:
But Julia and I soon scatthered their fancies,
And tipped them the twist of a rale Irish jig.
Och mavrone! ‘Twas she that as glad o’ me,
We danced ’till we thought the ceilin’ would fall.

Six long months I spent in Dublin,
Six long months doin’ nothin’ at all,
Six long months I spent in Dublin,
Learnin’ to dance for Lanigans’ Ball.
I stepped out and I stepped in again,
I stepped out and I stepped and I stepped in again,
Learin’ to dance for Lanigan’s Ball.

The boys were all merry, the girls were all hearty
Dancin’ away in couples and groups
When an accident happened – young Terence McCarty
He put his right foot through Miss Halloran’s hoops.
The creature she fainted and cried “Millia Murther!”
She called all her friends and gathered them all.
Ned Carmody swore he’s not stir a step further
But have satisfaction at Lanigan’s Ball.

Six long months I spent in Dublin,
Six long months doin’ nothin’ at all,
Six long months I spent in Dublin,
Learnin’ to dance for Lanigans’ Ball.
I stepped out and I stepped in again,
I stepped out and I stepped and I stepped in again,
Learin’ to dance for Lanigan’s Ball.

In the midst of the row, Miss Kerrigan fainted –
Her cheeks all the while – were as red as the rose –
Some of the ladies declareed she was painted
She took a small drop of potheen I suppose.
Her lover, Ned Morgan, so pow’rful and able,
When he saw his dear colleen stretched out by the wall,
He tore the left leg from under the table
And smashed all the china at Lanigan’s Ball.

Six long months I spent in Dublin,
Six long months doin’ nothin’ at all,
Six long months I spent in Dublin,
Learnin’ to dance for Lanigans’ Ball.
I stepped out and I stepped in again,
I stepped out and I stepped and I stepped in again,
Learin’ to dance for Lanigan’s Ball.

Oh boys, there was ructions –
Myself got a lick from big Phelim McHugh,
But I soon replied to his kind introductions,
And kicked up a terrible hullabaloo.
Old Shamus, the piper, had like to be strangled.
They squeezed up his pipes, chanters, bellows and all;
The girls in their ribbons, they got all entangled,
And that put an end to Lanigan’s Ball.

My Good Looking Man

Come, all you pretty maids, of courage brave and true,
I will teach you how to happy live, and avoid all troubles, too;
And if you live a wedded life, now plainly understand,
And don’t you ever fall in love with all good-looking men.

When I was sixteen years of age, a damsel in my prime,
I daily thought on wedded life, and how I’d be at the time;
I daily thought on wedded life, its pleasures I did scan,
And I sighed and sobbed both night and day, to get a nice young man.

My wish, it seems, too soon I got, for one Sunday afternoon,
At home from church I gaily tripped, I met a fair gossoon;
He looked so fine about the face, to win him I made a plan,
And that very day I set my cap for that good-looking young man.

Again, by chance, as out I stepped to take a pleasant roam,
I met this handsome gentleman, who wished to see me home;
I’d fain say no, but it was no use, to go with me was his plan,
So to my home I walked along with my good-looking man.

He said to me, as on we walked: My dear and only love,
If with me you’ll consent to wed, I will ever constant prove;
I’ll ever be a husband kind and do the best I can,
So my heart and hand I then did give to my good-looking young man.

The night was fixed for us to wed – he bid me have all cheer –
He pressed me to his breast saying: Oh my Mary dear!
He gently pressed me to his breast, saying : “Oh, my Mary dear!”
And there I tied that dreadful knot with that good-looking young man.

It was scarce a week, when married I was, one Sunday afternoon,
The day went by, the night came on, off went the honeymoon;
My gent walked out – so did I – for to watch him was my plan,
When soon a flashy girl I saw with my good-looking man.

At once a thought came in my head to entrap my faithless swain,
So quickly I did gain on him, and followed in his train;
It was then and there I heard him swear his love for her outran,
The closest ties for any maid – “Oh, what a nice young man!”

They kissed and toyed, and tales of love to her he then did tell,
Thinks I to myself, now is the time to serve your outright well;
He did not me at all espy, so to my home I ran,
And sat down there to anxiously wait for my good looking young man.

The clock was just striking ten, when my gentleman he walked in,
I gently said: My William, dear, where hast thou so long been?
I have been to church, my love, said he – Oh! this I could not stand,
So the rolling pin I did let fly at my good-looking young man.

I blacked his eyes, I tore his hair, in ribbons I tore his clothes,
I then took up the poker and laid it across his nose;
He just looked like a chimney sweep, as out the door he ran,
And never a lady loved again with my good-looking man.

Now, you married folks, take my advice, high and low degree,
When a rakish husband you do get, pitch into him like me;
When I found out I was deceived, it was my only plan
To disfigure the handsome countenance of my good-looking young man.

The Tipperary Christening

It was down in that place Tipperary,
Where they’re so airy, and so contrary,
Where they kick up the devil’s figarie,
When they christened the beautiful boy.
In comes the piper, sot thinking,
And a-winking, and a-blinking,
And a noggin of punch he was drinking,
And wishing the parents great joy.

When home from the church they came,
Father Tom and old Mikey Branigan,
And scores of as pretty boys and girls
As ever you’d wish to see;
When in through the door,
Hogan, the tinker, Lather and Lanagan,
Kicked up a row, and wanted to know,
Why they wasn’t asked to the spree.

Then the boy set up such a bawling,
And such a squalling and caterwauling,
For he got such a mauling,
Oh, that was the day of great joy.
Then the piper set up such a moaning,
And such a-droning, and such a-croning,
In the corner his comether was turning,
When they christened Dennis, the boy.

The aristocracy came to the part,
There was McCarty, light and hearty,
With Florence Bedelia Fogarty,
Who said that was French for a name;
Dionysius Alphonso Mulrononey,
Oh, so spooney and so looney,
With the charming Evangeline Mooney,
Of society she was the cream.

Cora Teresa Maud McCann,
Angelina Rocke, and Julia McCafferty,
Rignold Mormon Duke, Morris McGan,
And Clarence Ignatius McGurk;
Cornelius Horatio Flaherty’s wife,
Adolphus Grace and Dr. O’Rafferty,
Eve McLaughlin, and Cora Muldoon,
And Brigadier-General Burke.

They were dancing the polke-mazurka,
‘Twas a worker, not a shirker,
And a voice of Vienna, la Turker,
And the polke-redowa divine;
After dancing, they went to lunching,
Oh, some munching, and such crunching,
They were busy as bees at a lunching
With their coffee, tea, whiskey and wine.

They had all kinds of tea, they had Sho-song,
They had Ningnong and Drinkdong,
With Oolong, and Boolong, and Toolong,
And teas that were made in Japan;
They had sweetmeats, imported from Java,
And from Youver and from Havre,
In the four-masted steamer “Manarver”
That sails from beyond Hindoostan”
Romeo punch, snoball and sparrowgrass,
Patty D. Foy, whatever that means,
Made out of goose-liver and grease;
Red-headed duck, salmon and peas,
Bandy-legged frogs, Peruvian ostriches,
Bottled noix, woodcock and snipe,
And everything that would please.

After dinner, of course, there was speaking,
And hand-shaking, and leave-taking,
In the corners old mothers match-makin’,
And other such innocent sins;
Then they bid a good-by to each other,
To each mother, and each brother;
When the last rose, I thought I would smother,
When they wished the next would be twins!

The Men of Tipperary

Let Britain boast her British hosts, about them all right little care we;
Not British seas nor British coasts can match the man of Tipperary.
Tall is his form, his heart is warm, his spirit light as any fairy.
His wrath is fearful as the storm that sweeps the hills of Tipperary.
Lead him to fight for native land, his is no courage cold and wary,
The troops live not on earth would stand the headlong charge of Tipperary.
Yet meet him in his cabin rude, or dancing with his dark-haired Mary,
You’d swear they knew no other mood but mirth and love in Tipperary.
You’re free to share his scanty meal, his plighted word he’ll never vary;
In vain they tried with gold and steel to shake the faith of Tipperary.
Soft is his cailin’s sunny eye, her mien is mild, her step is airy,
Her heart is fond, her soul is high – oh! she’s the pride of Tipperary!
Let Britain, too, her banner brag, we’ll lift the green more proud and airy,
Be mine the lot to bear that flag and head the men of Tipperary.
Though Britain boasts her British hosts, about them all right little care we;
Give us, to guard our native coasts, the matchless men of Tipperary!

Tim Finigan’s Wake

Tim Finigan lived in Walker street,
A gentle Irish man, mighty odd,
He’d a beautiful brogue, so rich and sweet,
And to rise in the world he carried a hod;
But you see he’d a sort of tripling way,
With a love for poor liquor poor Tim was born,
And to help him through his work each day,
He’d a drop of the creatur’ each morn.

Whack, hurrah! Blood and ‘ounds! Ye sowl, ye!
Welt the flure, ye’re trotters shake!
Isn’t it the truth I’ve told ye?
Lots of fun at Finigan’s wake.

One morning Tim was rather full,
His head felt very heavy, which made him shake,
He fell from the ladder and broke his skull,
So they carried him home his corpse to wake;
They rolled him up in a nice clean sheet,
And laid him out upon the bed,
With fourteen candles around his feet,
And a couple of dozen around his head

Whack, hurrah! Blood and ‘ounds! Ye sowl, ye!
Welt the flure, ye’re trotters shake!
Isn’t it the truth I’ve told ye?
Lots of fun at Finigan’s wake.

His friends assembled at his wake,
Missus Finigan called out for the lunch;
First they laid in tay and cake,
Then pipes and tobacky, and whiskey punch.
Miss Biddy O’Brien began to cry,
Such a purty corpse did ever you see?
Arrah! Tim avourneen, an’ why did ye die?
Och, none of your gab, sez Judy Magee.

Whack, hurrah! Blood and ‘ounds! Ye sowl, ye!
Welt the flure, ye’re trotters shake!
Isn’t it the truth I’ve told ye?
Lots of fun at Finigan’s wake.

Then Peggy O’Connor took up the job,
Arrah! Biddy, says she, ye’re wrong, I’m shure!
But Judy then gave her a belt on the gob,
And left her sprawling on the flure.
Each side in the war did soon engage,
‘Twas woman to woman, and man to man,
Shillelagh law was all the rage,
An’ a bloody ruction soon began.

Whack, hurrah! Blood and ‘ounds! Ye sowl, ye!
Welt the flure, ye’re trotters shake!
Isn’t it the truth I’ve told ye?
Lots of fun at Finigan’s wake.

Mickey Mulvaney raised his head,
When a gallon of whiskey flew at him;
It missed him, hopping on the bed,
The liquor scattered over Tim.
Bedad! He revives! See how he raises!
An’ Timothy, jumping from the bed,
Cries, while he lathers round like blazes,
Bad luck to yer souls! D’ye think I’m dead.

Whack, hurrah! Blood and ‘ounds! Ye sowl, ye!
Welt the flure, ye’re trotters shake!
Isn’t it the truth I’ve told ye?
Lots of fun at Finigan’s wake.

The Widow McCarthy by Samuel Lover

Oh, have you not heard of McCarty,
Who lived in Tralee, good and hearty?
He had scarce lived two score, when death
came to his door
And made a widdy of Mrs. McCarty.

Near by lived one Paddy McManus,
Why by the way was a bit of a genius;
At his trade he was good, cuttin’ figures of
wood,
Says he: I’ll go see the widdy McCarty.

Now Paddy, you know, was no ninny,
He agreed for a couple of guineas,
To cut out a stick the dead image of Micky,
And take it home to widdy McCarty.

As the widdy she’d sit by the fire
Every night before she’d retire,
She’d take the stick that was dead, put it
into bed,
And lay down by the wooden McCarty.

Now Pat wasn’t long to discover
That the widdy was wanting a lover;
He made love to her strong, and you’ll say
he wasn’t wrong,
For in three days he wed the widdy McCarty.

Their friends for to see them long tarried;
To bet Pat and the widdy they carried;
She took up the stick that was cut for Micky,
And under the bed shoved wooden McCarty.

In the mornin’ when Paddy was risin’
He wanted somethin’ to set the fire blazin’;
Says she: “If you’re in want of a stick, just
cut a slice off Micky,
For I’m done with my wooden McCarty.

Written by Samuel Lover.

A Cup O’ Tay (A Cup of Tea)

Och! Prate about your wine,
Or poteen, mighty foine,
There’s no such draught as mine,
From Ireland to Bombay!
And whether black or green,
Or divil a shade between,
There’s nothing I have seen
Wid a gintale cup o’ tay!

Whist! Hear the kettle sing,
Like birds in early spring;
A sup for any king
Is the darlint in the thray.
Ould cronies dhroppin’ in,
The fat ones and the thin,
Shure all their hearts I win
Wid a gintale cup o’ tay.

Wid whiskey punch galore
How many heads grow sore?
Shalalahs, too a score
Most beautifully play.
Wid all the hathin ways
Good luck to thim Chinaise,
Who sind us o’er the says
Such a gintale cup o’ tay!

The Rose of Tralee by William Mulchinock

The pale moon was rising above the green mountain,
The sun was declining beneath the blue sea;
When I strayed with my love to the pure crystal fountain,
That stands in the beautiful Vale of Tralee.
She was lovely and fair as the rose of the summer,
Yet ’twas not her beauty alone that won me;
Oh no, ’twas the truth in her eyes ever dawning,
That made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee.

The cool shades of evening their mantle were spreading
And Mary all smiling sat listening to me;
The moon through the valley her pale rays were shining
When I won the heart of the Rose of Tralee.
She was lovely and fair as the rose of the summer,
Yet ’twas not her beauty alone that won me;
Oh no, ’twas the truth in her eyes ever dawning,
That made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee.

On the far fields of India, mid war’s bloody thunder,
Her voice was a solace and comfort to me,
But the cold hand of death has now torn us asunder
I’m lonely tonight for my Rose of Tralee.
She was lovely and fair as the rose of the summer,
Yet ’twas not her beauty alone that won me;
Oh no, ’twas the truth in her eyes ever dawning,
That made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee.

Mary of Tralee

Och hone! And is it true then that my love is coming back again?
And will his face like sunshine come to glad my cottage door?
‘Tis then the clouds will wear away and never will look black again,
For he’s written me a letter and we soon shall meet once more
He tells me he has gold in tore, but oh! he tells me something more,
He says tho’ we’ve been parted he has still been true to me;
And I’ve to him been faithful too, and will my dream at last come true?
Perhaps it’s in a coach and four he’s coming back from sea he’s coming back to me,
And he’s welcome as the sunshine to Mary of Tralee.

Och, hone! When Terry went away, it’s little we’d between us then,
We pledged our hearst, ’twas nothing else that we had got to pledge;
A heart of stone I’m sure it would have melted to have seen us then,
But the only stones that saw us were the cold ones ‘neath the hedge;
But now a lady he’ll make me, and Terry Lord Lieutenant be,
And won’t we keep a pig or two, if that should be the case!
But in spite of all his gold in store, if we but meet to part no more,
I’d give up every penny jist to see his darlin’ face,
For, he’s comin’ back to me,
And he’s welcome as the sunshine to Mary of Tralee.

Och, Terry, and I knew it, will become a great and mighty man,
There never was his equal, as I told him long ago;
He only had one failing, that he often was a flighty man,
But sure that was the whiskey, and not Terry’s self, you know.
But now that he has wiser grown, the whiskey p’r’haps he’ll let alone.
And if the boy for spirit lacks, he’ll find enough in me;
For when I ride in all my state, and he a Duke or Magistrate,
Sure not a pair more illigant in Dublin town you’ll see.
For he’s coming back to me,
And he’s welcome as the sunshine to Mary of Tralee.