A while back, I was travelling the roads around Kilmichael and Inchigeela. Taking a road new to me, I ended up in Johnstown.
There is not much more than the Cill Eanna Bar in Johnstown. I did not even spot a postbox – and I was looking.
The Cill Eanna Bar did cause me to stop and exit the car – the Murphy’s Stout advert to be more precise.
The words on the advertisement sign did read like an extract from a poem and went on the mental ‘To Find Out More’ list.
Earlier today, it was struck off that list when I learnt that it is from a folk song, ‘In Kerry Long Ago’. Listening to the song on YouTube, I suspected that I had heard it before but could not, with any certainty, remember where or when.
Why this particular song is on the wall of a pub in Co. Cork, I do not know. This query has now gone onto that ‘To Find Out More’ list. It may only be answered over a pint at the Cill Eanna – as if an excuse was needed.
God Be With You Kerry
O God be with you, Kerry,
When in childhood we were merry!
When we'd hear the fiddler tuning up
and resining the bow.
At the crossroads we'd be dancing,
And our colleens shyly glancing,
Just like their dads and mothers did
In Kerry long ago.
Now my heart is sad and weary,
Still in dreams I see my Mary,
With her golden tresses flying - on her
checks a rosy glow!
In her joy I hear her singing,
While Bill ? alpin's fiddle ringing
As he played The Stack at Barley,
Down in Kerry long ago.
We'd go down to Mary's dairy,
And our feet so light and airy.
At the churn we'd take our turn,
'till the butter would overflow.
Then to the kitchen we'd retire,
And pick out the biggest liar,
Just to tell us `fairy stories'
of Kerry long ago.
Then we'd stroll home in the moonlight,
And the colleens' waists we'd hug tight,
Just to save them from the fairies in the
Raheen' down below.
Then we'd say 'good-night' and kiss them;
We'd go home and pray; God bless them,
The sweethearts of our boyhood days
in Kerry long ago.
Irish Folk Songs.com
Why Cill Eanna, Church of Eanna/Enda, in Johnstown, Cill Sheanaigh? Another without an answer.
A bit of Kerry long ago – in Cork
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