Gather Round Me: The Best of Irish Popular Poetry

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Christopher Cahill
Beacon Press, 2004 - Poetry - 160 pages
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The Irish have long been associated with great writing generally, and poetry specifically. The love of language spreads all over this strong culture, and the Irish people have long shared poetry with each other, whether in the street, in the home, or in the pub. These more common poems may be bawdy or tragic, but there is always something quintessentially Irish about them.

Now, Christopher Cahill has put together a collection of the best of these Irish popular poems, found in newspapers, heard in pubs, or scribbled down in diaries. Drawing on work published and shared from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries, the poems range from the satirical to the sincere, but oftentimes they simply provide a hysterical tale that begs to be read aloud.

Cahill includes anonymous balladeers as well as famous Irish poets like W. B. Yeats and Brendan Behan, who wrote poems very consciously and proudly in the popular tradition. The Irish live in all parts of the world, so the collection includes poems from the United States, Canada, Australia, and other locations that have a strong Irish presence.

With explanatory notes by Cahill that make the verse more accessible than ever, these poems act as the voice of the Irish people, full of humor, mischief, and wit.

"Gather Round Me is itself a wonderful gathering of popular Irish lyrics ranging from traditional songs to the rhymes of Brendan Behan and beyond. Like a long night in the flaring glow of a pub, the collection mixes the playful and the tragic, the melancholy and the ironic, and it reminds us finally of a dispossessed people's need for songs and poems that could always be carried in their hearts and minds."—Billy Collins

“A lovely rattlebag, a saddlebag, a grab bag of poems. Christopher Cahill has put together a collection that gathers us around four hundred years of love, life and lament. There's a marvellous eclectic arc in operation here. Cahill invents a hearth where we are invited to sit from early morning until nightfall, so open a bottle and set aside the parting glass.”—Colum McCann, author of Dancer: A Novel

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Contents

Introduction
13
AS ROVED OUT ON A SUMMERS MORNING 19 The Dawning of the Day Edward Walsh
19
The Colleen Rue Traditional
20
A Vision Aodhagan ORathaille translated
21
James Clarence Mangan
22
The Old Triangle Brendan Behan
23
The Mantle So Green Traditional
26
Going to Mass Last Sunday Donagh MacDonagh
27
The Croppy Boy Traditional
80
The New Irish Girl Traditional
83
Kilcash Traditional translated by Frank OConnor
84
The Outlaw of Loch Lene Traditional translated by Jeremiah Joseph Callanan
86
Moorloch Mary Ethna Carbery
87
AGlassofBeer James Stephens
88
The Blind Traveller Traditional translated by Alf MacLochlainn
89
Me anMe Da The Reverend William Marshall
90

The Fiddler of Dooney W B Yeats
28
The Little Door Traditional translated by Benedict Kiely
29
The Forsaken Soldier Hudie Devaney translated by Paddy Tunney
30
The Emigrants Letter Percy French
31
The Small Towns of Ireland John Betjeman
33
Brian OLinn Traditional
36
My Grief on the Sea Traditional translated by Douglas Hyde
37
The Brewers Man L A G Strong
38
The Homeward Bound Thomas DArcy McGee
39
The Drynan Dhun Robert Dwyer Joyce
41
On Raglan Road Patrick Kavanagh
45
To Inishkea Katherine TynanHinkson
46
The Mountain Streams Where the Moorcocks Crow Traditional
48
From Galway to Graceland Richard Thompson
49
The Fairies William Allingham
50
The Hill of Killenarden Charles G Halpine
52
Master McGrath Traditional
54
OMahonys Lament Douglas Hyde
55
An Irishmans Dream John J OBrien
57
The Mountains of Mourne Percy French
58
The Broad Majestic Shannon Shane MacGowan
59
The County of Mayo Thomas Lavelle translated by George
60
The Wee Lassies First Luve Traditional
63
The Street BalladSingers Song Jeremiah ODonovan Rossa
65
Street Ballad Traditional
66
RodyMcCorley Traditional
67
The Wild Colonial Boy Traditional
69
The Silence of Unlaboured Fields Joseph Campbell
70
The Workmans Friend Flann OBrien
71
To My Son in Americay Alf MacLochlainn
72
The Man of the North Countrie Thomas DArcy McGee
74
The LowBackd Car Samuel Lover
75
She Is Far from the Land Thomas Moore
77
If I Was a Blackbird Traditional
78
The Galbally Farmer Diarmuid ORiain
93
An Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog Oliver Goldsmith 97 The Ould Orange Flute Traditional
95
The Winding Banks of Erne William Allingham
101
Love Is Pleasing Traditional
102
Thomas MacDonagh Francis Ledwidge
103
The Convict of Clonmel Traditional translated
104
Jeremiah Joseph Callanan
105
THEN FURTHER GOING MY WILD OATS SOWING TO NEW YORK CITY I CROSSED THE SEA 109 The Lambs on the Green Hills Traditional
109
A White Rose John Boyle OReilly
110
My Love Is Like the Sun Traditional
111
The Spanish Man F R Higgins
113
Oh Breathe Not His Name Thomas Moore
114
Les Silhouettes Oscar Wilde
115
Heres to the Maiden Richard Brinsley Sheridan
116
The Spanish Lady Joseph Campbell
118
Whiskey in Me Tay Traditional
120
Epigrams Traditional translated by Maire MacEntee
121
Sweet Omagh Town Traditional
123
The Old Bog Road Teresa Brayton
125
SO FILL TO ME THE PARTING GLASS 129 She Moved through the Fair Padraic Colum
129
The Three Jolly Pigeons Oliver Goldsmith
130
A Pair of Brown Eyes Shane MacGowan
132
Ringsend Oliver St John Gogarty
133
The Night Before Larry Was Stretched Traditional
134
Song of the Ghost Alfred Percival Graves
137
The Ballad of William Bloat Raymond Calvert
139
Ballad to a Traditional Refrain Maurice Craig
141
Let Us Be Merry Before We Go John Philpot Curran
142
The Parting Glass Traditional
143
Endpiece Brendan Behan
144
Notes Credits
145
Acknowledgments
160
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Christopher Cahill is editor in chief ofThe Recorder,the journal of the American Irish Historical Society, and executive director of the Institute for Irish American Studies at City University of New York. Co-host of NBC's annual broadcast of New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade, he lives in New York City.

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