Bantry Girl, The

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  • Teideal (Title): Bantry Girl, The.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 781516.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): 364.
  • 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): Cynthia Thiessen.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 07/03/1978.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): University of Washington, United States of America.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): day class.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): Fredric Lieberman.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

There’s another little story… here’s another little yarn, song about a girl that was going to the market, and she met a fellow on the way. Or somebody could say, the fellow met the girl. Whatever it was, they met one another. And what happened on the way to the market you’ll soon hear. ‘The Bantry Girl,’ they call it. (Where the hell’s my handkerchief?)

As I was going to Bantry on a market day
I met a Bantry girl treading along the way
Her business was to market with butter, milk and cheese
And we jogged along quite merry, me lads, sing fal-the-diddle-ee-dee.

We sang1 along quite merry, me lads, together side by side,
Til this Bantry lass, her garter came untied.
For fear that she should lose it, she unto me did say
‘Oh my garter is untied, me lad’ sing fal-the-diddle-ee-day2.

I took her to the undergrowth, the grass grew very high;
I put this lassie on her back her garter for to tie –
With the tying of her garter such sights I never did see!
And we jogged along quite merry, me lads, sing fal-the-diddle-ee-dee.

‘Oh, since you had your will of me, pray tell me what’s your name
What’s your occupation, and whence and where you came?’
‘My name is Jack the Rover, I live in the town of Ardee
And I live at the signs3 of the ups-and-downs, sing fal-the-diddle-ee-dee.

But this lassie missed her market, her butter was unsold
But for the losing of her maidenhead, it grieved her heart more sore:
‘He’s gone, he’s gone, he’s gone,’ she said, ‘he’s not the lad for me.’
And he lives at the signs of the ups-and-downs, sing fal-the-diddle-ee-dee.

What a quare place to live, wasn’t it?


1. Should probably be ‘jogged’, but ‘sang’ is the word Joe chose on this occasion.

2. Note the clever change in the refrain at the end of this line, to rhyme with ‘say’ in the previous line.

3. Joe first chooses the word ‘town’ and then quickly changes it to ‘signs’ – the correctness of which is reflected in its reappearance in the final verse. Never mind that ‘town’ would make an good internal rhyme with ‘downs,’ which may be why Joe thought of it. (For a song where such internal rhymes are used to great effect, see ‘The Banks of Sweet Dundee.’)

This was recorded while Joe Heaney was Artist-In-Residence at the University of Washington.