Dublin Murder Ballad, The

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  • Teideal (Title): Dublin Murder Ballad, The.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 860901.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): 15.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): P36A-B.
  • 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): 29/12/1963.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): London, England.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): private gathering at the home of Ewan Mac Coll and Peggy Seeger.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): Peggy Seeger.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

In Dublin’s fair city, in Dublin’s fair town
There dwelt a pretty maiden, her name was Mary Brown
She courted a sailor for seven long years
And at the beginning he called her his dear.


This fragment was recorded by Ewan Mac Coll and Peggy Seeger in December, 1963, at the same time that they recorded the items subsequently released in the two-disc album, The Road from Conamara.

In the transcript of those tapes, available on-line, this stanza is mislabelled as ‘The Maid of Sweet Goirtín.’ The air is the same one Joe used for Tá na páipéir dhá saighneáil, which appears on his 1971 Gael-Linn LP.

A comparison reveals that when singing in Irish Joe uses a great deal more of the ornamentation associated with the ‘sean-nós’ style than he does in the English-language song.