Fair of Tullamore, The

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  • Teideal (Title): Fair of Tullamore, The.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 853916.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): 34587.
  • 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): Lucy Simpson.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 02/09/1980.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York, United States of America.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): private.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): unavailable.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

This man was going to the fair in Tullamore. Tullamore is a little town in Offaly, one of the counties in Ireland, Offaly they call it. Other times they call it Queen’s County one time. But anyway, he went into a house to light his pipe, he met a lassie and he fell in love. And after that he always rambled down the little boreen1 where he met the girl. Right? And this is the song:

‘Twas on a summer’s morning in the merry month of May
I was coming from the fair of Tullamore
I was driving home a pretty pair of heifers by the way
When by chance I stood outside a cabin door.
I went in to light my pipe, just as any man would do,
Coming or a-going to a fair,
There I spied a lovely colleen with blue eyes and golden hair
Oh, begorra, I says, I’ll have you for me wife.

Oh, I love to ramble down the old boreen
Where the hawthorn blossoms are in bloom
And I’ll sit on a seat by the old rustic gate
And I’ll whisper love to Kate Muldoon.

I was threshing in my barn when her father came to me
Saying, ‘Micky McGilligan, what is this I hear?
I’ve been speaking to me daughter and she told me every word,’
And then, begorra, me heart felt fairly queer.
The next time I met her, I told her of my love,
She blushed and nearly let her basket fall;
‘Oh,’ said she, ‘Go on, you schemer!’ with a gentle little push;
But she added, ‘Ask my father!’ – That was all.



1. From the Irish bóithrín (‘little road’). This anglicisation still has currency throughout Ireland.

A sentimental song, probably early 20th century, likely composed in America for the Irish-American music-hall. Joe gives no indication where he learned it, but indicates that he saw it — possibly with a different air — in a ‘dulcimer book’ that Lucy had shown him at one stage.