Play recording: Bogs of Shanaheever, The
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- Teideal (Title): Bogs of Shanaheever, The.
- Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): none.
- Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
- Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): 5335.
- Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
- Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
- Cnuasach (Collection): Joe Heaney Collection, University of Washington, Seattle.
- Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): English.
- Catagóir (Category): song.
- Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Joe Heaney.
- Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): Ewan Mac Coll.
- Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 1963.
- Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): London, England.
- Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): private.
- Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): Peggy Seeger.
- Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.
Joe Heaney: Well, it’s two fellows, they lived in Shanaheever, which is outside Clifden – oh, it’s a long, long time ago – and they had two greyhounds. But they had no land of their own; and the only way they could course the greyhounds was to go to a landlord’s place at night, under the light of the moon, and course the two greyhounds. They got so fond of the greyhounds, that when one of the greyhounds died, the lad who owned it – Bruce was the name of one of them, and Toby was the name of the other – that he went away to America; and he composed the song there, telling about the bogs of Shanaheever.
EM: He really was so broken-hearted?
JH: So broken-hearted that he left and emigrated. Andy and Nora was the name of the landlords, you see, Andy was the name of the landlord… and in their absence they used to take out the two greyhounds and course them on this big demesne. But he was so broken-hearted when the greyhound died that he went to America.
My youth is long past and I am mighty dreary
An exile I am cast on the wilds of the prairie
I’m hunting the wild deer, the panther and the beaver
But I look back with pride on the bogs of Shanaheever
Andy and Nora in their absence do get ready
By the light of the moon go and tell Master Freddie
Oh tell him to prepare and to be mighty clever
For it’s the last night of hunting on the bogs of Shanaheever
Now coursed was Toby and Bruce was long-winded
Coursed every round, the two-year-old was splendid
This two-year-old hound he was knacky and clever
But the next I heard there was a death of the bogs of Shanaheever
From the shores of Lough Annagh to the plains of Kilbrickan
By the light of the moon, my poor heart was a-tickin’
We took Bruce to his grave and we laid him down forever
Then I sat down and cried like a broken-hearted lover
And I paid my passage to New York from the bogs of Shanaheever
Now Ireland my land, fare thee well now and forever
There is no land on earth that I love with such great fervour
If ever she’s free, I’ll go back again and see her
And I’ll settle down forever on the bogs of Shanaheever
This song is one of several that Joe recorded for Ewan Mac Coll and Peggy Seeger in 1963 that unfortunately does not appear to exist in the Joe Heaney Collection; for the audio, see The Road From Conamara (2000). In a footnote to the transcript of these recordings published in the online magazine Musical Traditions, Fred McCormick includes the following note:
Johnny Mháirtín Learaí Mac Donnchadha, who comes from Carna, and who sings the song, says that the story concerned two poachers who used their greyhounds to catch rabbits on a private estate at Shanaheever. This was done at night to evade the landowner. According to Johnny, the death was caused when one rabbit ran right to the edge of a precipice before swerving at the last moment. It being dark, the dog did not see the drop and plunged to its death. Johnny sings his version on Contae Mhuigheo (Cló Iar-Chonnachta CIC 013).
This recording was issued on The Road from Conamara (Cló Iar-Chonnachta CICD 143 / Topic TSCD 518D).