Week 195 – As I roved out from the County Cavan

I learned this beautiful song from the singing of Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill, on her 1975 solo album Triona. I picked up a secondhand copy of that LP as a student, in Garon Records, in the Covered Market in Oxford, and I’m eternally grateful that I did – it’s a fantastic record. Chiefly because of the singing, of course, but I’m also very partial to a well-struck harpsichord.

About the song itself, I have little to say. The album sleevenotes don’t give much away, but a bit of rooting about on the net suggests that it’s a version of Roud 4720.

You can hear a related song, ‘As I Went in by Inverness-shire’, sung by the Scottish traveller Sheila Stewart, on the Tobar an Dualchais site. And the phrase “Phoenix Island” crops up in the song of that name on Sam Lee’s most recent album, a song which he learned “from the Delaney Family who live in the less than bucolic Traveller site under the Shepherds Bush A40 flyover”.

O'Reilly From The Co. Cavan; Or, The Phoenix Of Erin's Green Isle - ballad sheet from the Cecil Sharp Manuscript Collection , via the Full English.

O’Reilly From The Co. Cavan; Or, The Phoenix Of Erin’s Green Isle – ballad sheet from the Cecil Sharp Manuscript Collection , via the Full English.

As I roved out from the County Cavan

2 Comments to “Week 195 – As I roved out from the County Cavan”

  1. Wouldn’t this rather be Roud 267, which is sung by Kevin Mitchell as “O’Reilly from the County Cavan”, see the lyrics at http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/mitchell.htm ? Incidentally, Mary Delaney’s and Sam Lee’s “Phoenix Island” is catalogued as Roud 267, too.

  2. Thanks Reinhard. I wonder if this is a case of a redundant Roud number? I think the examples in the Full English of 4720 are definitely the same song family as my O’Reilly. Some of the Roud 267 versions collected by Sharp seem to be quite different – e.g. http://www.vwml.org.uk/record/CJS2/9/3038. But then others, like http://www.vwml.org.uk/record/CJS2/9/3256 clearly have verses in common (even if Phoenix Island has become Pennsylvania). It’s not unknown for Steve to get his classifications mixed up occasionally, But on the other hand he may well have decided that, although they share some verses, they are different songs and derive from different originals: one where the couple do not get together, and one (267) where it emerges at the end of the song that the young man is her long-lost Riley / Reilly.

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