Spancil Hill balladeer honoured by civic reception

THE story of the immigrant ballad Spancil Hill is as pertinent today as it was when Robbie McMahon first sang the song over 60 years ago.That is according to the mayor of Clare, Cllr Christy Curtin, who led the tributes to the famous balladeer at a civic reception in Ennis.

At the reception in the council’s chamber, the audience jumped to their feet after the 84-year-old singer treated them to a rendition of Spancil Hill, a song he helped popularise over the past half century and more.

Describing Mr McMahon as a “true icon of Ireland’s ballad tradition,” Cllr Curtin said: “There is a very real connection between the ballads sung by Robbie to what is happening in Ireland today. Spancil Hill documents an immigrant’s dream of returning home from America to his native Clare. (Examiner) >>>

Spancil Hill

Last night as I lay dreaming of pleasant days gone by
My mind being bent on rambling to Ireland I did fly
I stepped on board a vision and I followed with the wind
And I shortly came to anchor at the cross of Spancil Hill

It being the 23rd June the day before the fair
When lreland’s sons and daughters in crowds assembled there
The young and the old, the brave and the bold their journey to fulfill
There were jovial conversations at the fair of Spancil Hill

I went to see my neighbors to hear what they might say
The old ones were all dead and gone and the young one’s turning grey
I met with the tailor Quigley, he’s a bould as ever still
Sure he used to make my britches when I lived in Spancil Hill

I paid a flying visit to my first and only love
She’s as white as any lily and as gentle as a dove
She threw her arms around me saying “Johnny I love you still
” Oh she’s Mack the Ranger’s Daughter and the flower of Spancil HiII

I dreamt I held and kissed her as in the days of yore
She said, “Johnny you’re only joking like many’s the time before”
The cock he crew in the morning he crew both loud and shrill
And I awoke in California, many miles from Spancil Hill.

Last night as I lay dreaming of pleasant days gone by
My mind being bent on rambling to Ireland I did fly
I stepped on board a vision and I followed with the wind
And I shortly came to anchor at the cross of Spancil Hill

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