Carrickfergus, Co Antrim.

Katherine Jenkins has a new CD out. I purchased it a while ago. It has a lot of Irish songs on it. One can hear snippet of Carrickfergus  – a most beautiful haunting song,

Sadly though, the song depicts the demon drink, which has always been an affliction in Irish society and on those emigrants who pine for Erin’s shores. I witnessed many Irish ex-patriots drowning their (homesickness) sorrows in pubs all over Britain.

Sure – the last scene in ‘Juno and the Paycock’ by Sean O’ Casey sees Mr. Boyle and Jockser falling all over themselves. as they try to enter the tenement flat, that has been stripped of furniture, due to the cursed drink, and debts that accrued because of the latter, as well as other lack of foresightedness.

I could listen to the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Mackem’s rendition of Carrickfergus over and over again.They put so much soul into every word and the music, almost as if they were actually in Carrickfergus, as opposed to on stage. I was amused at the guitar strapped to the back of his báinín jumper. The concertina movements is so in unison with the emotion, for one moment it reminded me of the the natives from the Gaeltacht, who make rhythmic hand movements.

I wish I was in Carrickfergus

Only for nights in Ballygrand
I would swim over the deepest ocean
Only for nights in Ballygrand
But the sea is wide and I cannot swim over
And neither have I the wings to fly
If I could find me a handy boatman
To ferry me over my love and I
My childhood days bring back sad reflections
Of happy time there spent so long ago
My boyhood friends and my own relations
Have all passed on now like the melting snow
So I’ll spend my days in this endless roving
Soft is the grass and shore my bed is free
But to be home now in carrickfergus
On the long road down to the salty sea

And in Kilkenny it is reported
On marble stone there as black as ink
With gold and silver I would support her
But I’ll sing no more now till I get a drink
For I’m drunk today and I’m seldom sober
The handsome rover from town to town
Ah but I am sick now my days are numbered
Come all me young men and lay me down
Come all me young men and lay me down

The War of Two Kings:

William of Orange himself landed at Carrickfergus on June 14, 1690, bringing with him an army made up largely of foreign mercenaries. His force included the Dutch Blue Guards, two regiments of French Huguenots, some English and Scots, and contingents of Danish, Prussian, Finnish, and Swiss mercenaries totaling about 35,000 men. There is no record that William’s general in Ulster, Schomberg, recruited many Irish volunteers. But the Catholic force available to oppose the English king was inferior in every way. James had wasted his best Irish regiments in England and France. He did manage to assemble 7,000 French infantry, Antrim’s regiment, led by Alasdair MacDonnell, 3rd Earl of Antrim and “Neas” MacDonell, 9th Lord of Glengarry, some regular Irish cavalry, some untrained Irish infantry and dragoons, altogether about 21,000 men, including a significant number of both Scottish and Irish MacDonald Jacobites.

The visuals and harp playing and singing by Orla Fallon are brilliant. Great synchronisation of voice and harp.


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