Daoirí Farell: The Wedding Above in Glencree

September 18, 2023

An Irish Feast
Listening Post 376. Daoirí Farrell’s fourth solo album is a banquet of songs highlighting humanity, history and folklore, served up by the artist’s peerless voice and the small but elite army of talented musicians around him. As Farrell has perfected his gifts his fans have reaped the benefits: He has a master’s degree in music performance from the University of Limerick and is a veteran of Dublin’s An Góilín Traditional Singers, a weekly gathering that has showcased Irish folk music for more than 40 years; he has also earned two BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and the 2013 prize as All Ireland Champion Singer. The 10 songs on The Wedding Above in Glencree—some epic, some penetratingly humble, all with a sharp sense of place—portray revelers, dreamers, exiles and a few four-legged friends, plus Irish rebels representing three centuries. Farrell takes inspiration where he finds it: One of the album’s most evocative tracks, Sonny’s Dream (video 1), was written by the late Newfoundland artist Ron Hynes and features a guest appearance by American dobro legend Jerry Douglas. Father Murphy (video 2), tells the story of a priest from County Wexford who in 1798 became a hero and martyr of a short-lived rebellion, inspired by the American and French Revolutions, against British rule. The drone of a shruti box introduces One Starry Night (video 3), an aching tale of lost love. The album also seasons passion with humor. Clasped to a Pig recalls a night of drinking, and waking the morning after with an unexpected partner. And the extravagant title track chronicles a chaotic wedding with some murky details: “T’would be a terrible job for to name all was there/As to name the pickpockets in Donnybrook Fair” (video 5). For all its musical nourishment, The Wedding Above in Glencree just may leave audiences hungry for more. (Daoirí Recordings)

Daoirí Farrell: The Wedding Above in Glencree
Daoirí Farrell: Vocals, bouzouki, guitar, bodhran, shruti box
Manus Lunny: Guitar, bouzouki
Pat Daly: Fiddle, harmonium
Trevor Hutchinson: Upright bass
Paddy Kiernan: 5-string banjo
Mark Redmond: Uilleann pipes, whistles
Robbie Walsh: Bodhran, hand pan
Alan Doherty: Whistles
Geoff Kinsella: Tenor banjo
Jerry Douglas: Dobro

Related posts. Daoirí Farrell: True Born Irishman, Listening Post 99, May 16, 2017. https://worldlisteningpost.com/2017/05/16/daoiri-farrell-true-born-irishman/
Daoirí Farrell: A Lifetime of Happiness, Listening Post 208, July 3, 2019. https://worldlisteningpost.com/2019/07/03/daoiri-farrell-a-lifetime-of-happiness/


Sonny’s Dream
Lyrics & music: Ron Hynes

Sonny lives on a farm in a wide open space/Take off your sneakers and stay out of the race
And lay down your head by that sweet river bed/Sonny always remembers the words mama said

Sonny don’t go away, I’m here all alone/Your daddy’s a sailor and he never comes home
And nights are so long and silence goes on/And I’m feeling so tired and not all that strong

Oh Sonny works the farm, though he’s barely a man/And there ain’t that much to do but he does what he can
And he watches the sea from his room on the stairs/And the waves keep on rolling, they’ve done that for years

Well it’s one hundred miles to town, Sonny’s never been there/So he goes to the highway and he stands and he stares
And the mail comes at four but the mailman is old/Oh but still he dreams his dreams full of silver and gold


Sonny‘s dreams can’t be real, they’re just stories he’s read/Stars in his eyes oh and dreams in his head
And he’s hungry inside for that wide world outside/I know I can’t hold him, I’ve tried and I’ve tried and I’ve tried.


Father Murphy
Traditional/Arr. Daoirí Farrell

Come all you warriors and loyal nobles/Give ear onto my warlike theme
And I’ll relate how brave Father Murphy/Has lately roused from his sleepy dream
Not Julius Caesar or Alexander/Or the great King Arthur ever equaled him
For armies formidable he did conquer/Though with two pikeman he did begin

Camolin cavalry he did unhorse them/Their first lieutenant he did cut him down
With broken ranks and with shattered columns/He soon returned to Camolin town
And at the hill of Oulart he displayed his valor/Where one hundred Cork men lay on the plain
At Enniscorthy his sword he wielded/And I hope to see him once more again

When Enniscorthy became subject to him/It was next to Wexford he did march his men
And there on the Three Rocks set up their quarters/Waiting for the daylight the town to win
But the loyal townsmen gave their assistance/Oh we’ll die or conquer was the words they said
And the yeomen cavalry gave no resistance/For on the pavement their bodies lay

With drums a-beating the town did echo/And acclamation came from door to door
On the Windmill Hill we set up our camp there/And we drank like heroes but paid no score
To Carraig Rua for some time we waited/Then next to Gorey we did repair
At Tubberneering we thought it no harm/But the bloody army was waiting there

And the issue of it was a close engagement/And on those soldiers we played warlike pranks
All through the sheep walks and the shady thickets/There were mangled bodies and broken ranks
And the shuddering cavalry I’ll ne’er forget it/How we raised the brushes on their helmets straight
They turned about and made for Dublin/As though they ran for a ten pound plate

Some left through Donnybrook/And some through Blackrock
And some up Shankhill without wound nor flaw
And if Barry Lawless hadn’t been a liar/There were more went scattering over Luggala
To the Windmill Hill of Enniscorthy/Those British fencibles they ran like deer
Their troops were scattered and sorely battered/By the loss of Kyan and his Shelmaliers

The streets of England they were left quite naked/Of all its armies both foot and horse
And the Highlands of Scotland they were left unguarded/Likewise the Hessians and the seas they crossed
But if the Frenchmen had reinforced us/And landed transports at Baginbun
Father John Murphy would have been our seconder/And sixteen thousand with him would have run
Success attend ye sweet County Wexford/Who threw off the yoke and to battle ran
Let no man think we gave up our arms/For every man still has his pike and gun.


One Starry Night
Traditional/Arr. Daoirí Farrell

One starry night as I lay dreaming/One starry night as I lay in my bed
I dreamed I heard carriage wheels creaking/And when I awoke love I’d found you’d fled

I searched the highways likewise the byways/I searched the boreens the camping places too
And I’ll enquire at every station/Have they tide or tidings my love of you

For its many’s the mile love with you I travelled/Oh many’s the hour love with you I spent
I dreamed you were my true love forever/Ah now I find love you were only lent

For I’m drunk today and I’m seldom sober/A constant rover from town to town
And when I’m dead and my story’s over/Oh Molly Bán a-stóirín come lay me down

Oh one starry night as I lay dreaming/One starry night as I lay in my bed
I dreamed I heard carriage wheels a-creaking/And when I awoke love I found you fled

I searched the highways likewise the byways/I searched the boreens the camping places too
And I’ll inquire at every station/Have they tide or tidings my love of you.


Clasped to a Pig
Traditional/Arr. Daoirí Farrell

Oh backwards and forwards I am reeling in tight/And it was some spree that I’d been at last night
I’ve been to McCarthy’s with Patsy O’Maher/And we drank the black bottle from under the bar
And we drank and we drank boys we banished all care/And we gave not a thought to foul weather nor fair
And now on the floor I am curled up in a heap/Biddy leave me to sleep Biddy leave me to sleep

For I’m clasped to a pig in a loving embrace/And the hairs of his curly tail are tickling my face
There’s no use in telling me sober to keep/Biddy leave me to sleep Biddy leave me to sleep

Oh well over my head in the days that are gone/Well gaily I flurried my knotty black thorn
And if I but only had it tonight/Well maybe I would not be offered a fight
Oh and if Pat Murphy I chances to meet/It’s an elegant ruckshee that we’ll have in the street
And he’ll soon be glad in his ott holt to creep/Biddy leave me to sleep Biddy leave me to sleep


Oh drop down by the pig here and share his embrace/And let my red whiskers lie close to your face
This créatúir won’t hurt you he’ll do you no harm/Drop down here Biddy and keep my back warm
And squeeze up beside me as you’ve oft done before/I’ll sing you to sleep with the sounds of my snore
The rats and the mice all around us will creep/Biddy leave me to sleep Biddy leave me to sleep


The Wedding Above in Glencree / Damien Walsh’s
Traditional/Arr. Daoirí Farrell / Daoirí Farrell
From the album notes: The song “… recounts the tale of a chaotic wedding that may well have been held in the beautiful Glencree valley where the surrounding neighbors turned up uninvited to celebrate the wedding to excess. I wrote a tune to follow the song which I have dedicated to the memory of friend and fan Damien Walsh and his family.”

Oh back in the days of the great King O’Toole/On the high Wicklow Mountains while mitching from school
There is not on record a more glorious spree/Than was held on last Michaelmas, above in Glencree
T’was the wedding of Larry McGrain sir
He got buckled to Judy McShane sir
From Montpellier to Petticoat Lane sir
There were grub-hunters up in Glencree

The bridegroom came riding horseback on a mule/Brought Fagan the fiddler with him from Rathcoole
Dinny Murphy the piper was ne’er to be found/Tim Moloney’s jackass was released from the pound
There was a messenger one Humpy Backed Casey
Who was deaf dumb blind bothered and lazy
Then the night it drew dark wet and hazy
We all sniffed our way back to Glencree

T’would be a terrible job for to name all was there/As to name the pick-pockets in Donnybrook Fair
But seen as they’re strangers to both me and you/For fear you’d be jealous, I’ll name but a few
There was a miner one Mickey Malone sir
Kept a thundering great mind of his own sir
It was made up of lovely free stone sir
From the diggings above in Glencree.

There was the village schoolmaster one Snuffy Bob Mack/Four and twenty stone cutters from sweet Ballybrack
And Mickey McLoughlin came o’er from Lough Bray/He kept a neat shebeen for selling goats’ whey
There was a thundering great gang of the Rooneys
And the Kellys came in with the Cooneys
Then the Mulligans came in with the Mooneys
For the wedding above in Glencree

Oh you’d be anxious to know how we faired out for grub/We had lashings of beef that was reared on the bog
And the mutton was found before it was lost/By some of the go-boys o’er the Herring Brook crossed
Then his highness the public recorder
He gave some of the go-boys the order
Leave of absence to head o’er the border
For a seven year trip to Glencree

Well we killed an ould pig we found dead in a ditch/And each of the company took a whole flitch
We had thundering lumpers of mealy baked bread/And mock turtle soup that was made from pig’s head
We had dumplings and buttermilk buns sir
And the cabbage it came out there in tons sir
Oh we ate it and surely did hum sir
In the meadows surrounding Glencree

Well as soon as the boys had demolished the grub/As a matter of course the next thing was the grog
And the skelteen was mixed in Peg Donohughe’s churn/And each in rotation was passed round in turn
The first toast was to bridegroom and bride sir
And the terrible downfall of the tithes sir
And the flower of sweet Erin’s pride sir
And the Murphys that live in Glencree

Oh who chanced to walk in when the dancing began/Was rowdy Tim Ryan the tax collector’s man
And when the boys saw him the word it went round/It was him put Moloney’s jackass in the pound
As he was going through a three-handed reel sir
He took a south western clout from Sam Shiels sir
And it knocked him right head over heels sir
Put a stop to his dance in Glencree

Oh mile murder he cried you near killed me stone dead/And we laid him outside on a nice feather bed
And myself and Kate Kenny, a friend of the bride/Danced jigs there ‘fore next the poor buck ‘til he died
Well the dancing it lasted all day sir
And as we were going away sir
Well we swore we’d be back twice as gay sir
For the christening above in Glencree.


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