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Old Dungarvan Oak Empty
Anyone stopping in ?

Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:11 pm by fiddler1963

Just a leave a quick "here". Wondering how many folks are stopping by.

Comments: 5

Hello, hello...

Sun Oct 10, 2010 1:23 pm by Steve Bliven

Hello, hello, is anybody out there?


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A tune said to come from the Little People -- The Gold Ring..

Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:28 am by fiddle4u

Me Playing a Jig,, mixed with Fairy Stories, I think it was Séamus Ennis, who said he got it from one of the '' Little People '' if he gave over his Gold Ring -- '' And he did , and here's the tune '' -- lol....

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Old Dungarvan Oak

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Old Dungarvan Oak Empty Old Dungarvan Oak

Post by Madra Rua on Sun Aug 08, 2010 5:59 pm

I started learning this to sing at a session because I thought it was traditional, and cute. Then I did a bit of research, and found that it's actually a modern song, written about 1970, by Frank Hennessy.

The Old Dungarvan Oak
  • As I roved out one morning
    Going to Dungarvan Fair
    I spied a pretty, fair maid
    With the sunlight in her hair
    Her way, it was delightful
    Her voice rang like a bell
    And as I overtook her
    I asked if she was well


    Oh, Lay down your woolen shawl, me love
    I swear it is no joke
    And I'll tell to you the story of
    The Old Dungarvan Oak

    As we approached Dungarvan
    The girl at me did stare
    And she asked me why I raised my hat
    To a tree so old and bare
    I told her of the legend
    If the tree should e'er come down
    There'd be a great disaster
    And Dungarvan would be drowned CHORUS

    Then she started laughing
    My face grew very red
    And she said that only fools believed
    What those old legends said
    Her laughter was contagious
    For the truth to you I'll tell
    By the time I reached the market place
    I began to laugh as well CHORUS

    As I sit here by my fireside
    It's the autumn of my life
    And the darling girl I met that day
    Is now my darling wife
    I have a lovely daughter
    And a son to push my yoke
    And all because I raised my hat
    To the Old Dungarvan Oak CHORUS

Then I found a thread on Mudcat with a post by the song's author, Frank Hennessy:

Old Dungarvan Oak Frank_hennessy

Hi Folks,

Thought I'd better get involved as I've had so many calls about this.

The original version was written in, I think,1970.

The Hennessys had returned from a year in Ireland and had become quite heavily involved in the Welsh language folk scene back home.

The Welsh writer and TV Director Rhydderch Jones took us on a "cultural" tour of Wales, which involved a visit to the Priory Oak. At this time the old stump still stood in it's original spot in the middle of the road going into Carmarthen.

Rhydderch told me the story about Merlin planting the acorn and casting a spell over it.
The prophecy went " If the old oak tree shall 'ere come down - then will drown Carmarthen Town".
My chorus was half written for me and the rest of the song came fairly quickly.
Rhydderch wrote a Welsh version which was an immediate success and it was not long before the song became accepted in Wales as a bilingual standard.

I'd had a big hit in Ireland the previous year with another song, called "The Gypsy", and the Irish wanted a follow up.

Almost in jest I suggested that Dungarvan, which is where my paternal family came from, sounded very much like Carmarthen. Two months later I had my second Irish number one and the first Dual-nationality contemporary folk song was born.

In the early days I had trouble convincing people that the song was contemporary and not traditional, but over the years this little ditty, in all its forms has become central to my musical life, and I'm glad to say, is much loved by both the people of Wales and Ireland....

The legend says that Carmarthen is where the wizard Merlin was born, and that he planted an acorn as a boy with the following prophesy:

"When Merlin's tree shall tumble down,
Carmarthen then will surely drown.

(An alternate ending is sometimes: "Then shall fall Carmarthen Town."

This is a picture of the Priory Oak aka the Carmarthen Oak aka the Old Dungarvan Oak in 1936. It was taken away entirely in 1978, but a piece of it was put in the Carmarthen Museum.

Old Dungarvan Oak Oldoak1936

Apart from some rather wild stormy, weather the year the tree was finally removed, Carmarthen is still located where it's always been in Wales.
Madra Rua
Madra Rua

Posts : 135
Join date : 2010-08-07
Location : South Shore

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